The cold weather is coming, but you can keep going in comfort
Riding in wniter doesn't have to be a chore but if you're freezing your b***ocks off, it makes the whole thing unbearable. I rode for five years before getting a car licence and in that time I picked up a few tips that helped me deal with the snow, rain and the worst a British winter can throw at you.
Keeping warm is fairly simple, you've got to stop the cold coming in, generate some heat and stop that heat escaping. Here are my 5 tips to help you stay warmer on your motorcycle this winter.
Get a decent neck tube. You need to cut out the wind that can rush up into your helmet into the top of your jacket. Gone are the days where my Adam's Apple was so cold it felt like it was about to shatter.
I wear a Polar Buff, which is a standard neck tube with a fleece base. The fleece base is chunky and stuffs in behind my collar, keeping the wind out. When I put my helmet on, I have the upper part of the neck tube up and over my head. As I slide the helmet on, it brings this down past my ears. Once the helmet's strapped on, the neck tube blocks the wind from rushing up into my helmet.
Make sure your clothing zips together. You can spend £2000 on winter kit but if you can't zip it together, then you're going to be wasting valuable bodyheat. Not only will zipping your suit together stop the wind rushing up inside your jacket but it'll make the whole job more secure, too.
Invest in a decent set of thermal layers. There are loads of good brands out there but it's important to get that extra layer in there to maintain bodyheat. Let's be honest, most sets of winter jackets and trousers will do a decent enough job when the weather's not too harsh, but when it gets really cold, even the expensive kit often isn't good enough on its own. A set of thermals should cost you no more than £50 and will be a worthwhile investment. They don't have to be pink.
Get a heated vest. I know they're not cheap, but if you ride all through winter, then you'll be glad you've got one. I've tried heated everything, from grips to jackets, seats to vests. I prefer the vests because they sit under your proper winter jacket, require less power and heat the blood as it comes back into your body, without needing to fight wind blast.
Heated grips are better than nothing, but you'll end up with a warm hand where it grips the bars and seriously cold fingers. Plus, I think heated grips make you cling onto the bars, which isn't a good way to ensure you stay relaxed.
You don't have to wire a vest into your bike either, you can get battery powered vests that kick out some proper heat and you'll find that while your fingers may get cold, they don't go on a downward spiral towards frostbite.
Fit muffs! Yes, I know, the fashion police might have a word, but sod 'em. You can get a cheap set for under £20 and while they look bulky, they hardly add any width to your bars (good for commuting) and they slash the wind-blast to your fingers. Personally I hate the feeling of freezing cold fingers almost as much as the tingles you get when you come in from the cold. With a pair of muffs, you'll suffer no more.
Posted: 08/11/2011 at 22:11
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