Whenever I get my motorcycle gear out in November-through-March, especially at work (Cincinnati, Ohio at the time), I generally face a common question/statement — “Oh Gosh! It must be terrible riding in the cold! Do you feel cold?”
Its not easy to answer that question with a one-line reply, and I shall explain why it is so; What does the question ‘do you feel cold’ mean? If I consider the overall state of my body, the answer is a straightforward NO :) However, I will admit with an honest grin, that my neck and occasionally my nose do get cold.
Despite the ‘localized’ cold sensation, the riding experience is pretty much a wonderfully pleasurable one even in Winter. I spent a whole season in the great mid-west winter of 2014/2015 trying to figure out the best way to make motorcycling work during the cold times. When it snows hard (> 4 inches makes it dangerous enough for a 2-wheeler) and the streets are not cleared, there’s very little a puny one-wheel drive machine can do! :( sigh. Submit to the powers of nature! (and rant at the City municipality for not pre-salting the streets enough…) But if there is no snow on the roads, then motorcycling is very very doable and enjoyable! (pardon my runny nose, dear friends)
These are some of the more important and useful tips I’ve come across through trial & error :-
Heated Gloves are the simplest & easiest upgrade, one that makes a great difference. You need to get a ‘Heat Controller’ that wires into the battery, and you get to control the heat setting using the heat-troller.
I’ve personally been hugely impressed with Gerbing gear; However, all the big name companies make excellent heated gear. Pick your favorite ones!
One absolutely needs proper Winter Jackets & Pants if one is riding in a cold area (cold = Temps below 50 F /10 C) — The wind cuts through summer mesh jackets real easy.
You generally need Cordura based outer gear (my favorites are from Olympia ) but good winter gear made from leather also exists. Either way, make sure your gear is meant for the cold!
Optional : Layering up with additional base layers & sweaters can extend the duration of that winter ride
These are amazing ways to save those cold hands from getting too cold; even with the heated gloves, there is a chance that you are perhaps a little more cold-sensitive or that perhaps the wind chill is too great a factor that gloves themselves are not enough.
A proper pair of Winter Boots are again key to stay warm. You know the old addage — keep your ears, hands and feet warm!
A face & neck warmer is again super useful especially under a pin-lock inserted full face helmet. The extra warmth helps a ton on long rides, when the cold can creep in through the thickest of helmets…. :(
Optional : A Good old woolen scarf around the neck
Thanks for reading the article! What other techniques do you use? please share your wisdom in the comments below! :)