10 Tips to Riding Safe and Warm in Winter
Hi, I’m Bob!
There is no doubt that a warm rider is far safer than one who is frozen solid to the winter chill. Being too cold can lead to shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness, low energy, slow reaction times, and stiff and sore joints. None of these is advisable for. Rider to stay safe. There is nothing macho about braving cold conditions that bring on hypothermia. Riders who don’t prepare for the cold are in danger to themselves and others. Warm comfortable riders are more alert, more supple, better able to deal with emergency situations and therefore safer road users.
There’s cold and there is bitterly cold with black ice and other dangers. A little bit of cold can be invigorating, but prolonged bitter cold is dangerous and could even lead to permanent frost bite damage. So here is a list of 10 hot tips for staying warm and comfortable in the winter months.
10 Hot Tips For Winter Riding
Motorcycle and outdoor outfitter stores sell a wide range of thermal underwear which is thin but effective. It will keep you warm without having to put on several layers of bulky clothing and limit your free movement. Consider investing in long underwear, balaclavas (masks), glove liners, knee warmers, socks and neck tubes.
Today’s riding gear features materials that keep you warm without having to be extra bulky.You usually pay for what you get, but good quality textile gear is usually warmer than leather.A nice leather jacket may cut the wind, but the leather can get cold and stiff.Make sure the sleeve, neck and ankles can be tightly closed as the wind and cold can get in.A neck warmer is a good addition to stop that sneaky breeze down your back.Nothing beats heated gear.But it can get pricey.
You can wear the warmest jacket and pants, but if your extremities are still cold, you will not be able to work the levers properly.Get good quality winter gloves to keep your fingers from going numb and wear warm, woolen socks to keep your toes from freezing.Just because gloves are thick doesn’t mean they are warmer.Usually the price you pay relates more to effectiveness than thickness.Get the good stuff.
Estimating wind chill is a complex calculation involving ambient temperature and wind speed, but at 30 degrees ambient temperature, traveling at 60 miles per hour on the highway, you will be in 10 degrees air temperature.Do your best to get out of the wind.Difficult on a naked bike (no fairing), but you can at least tuck your legs into the tank, crouch down a bit and maybe slow down.Some bike modifications you can make are a quickly detachable windscreen and/or hand guards.While many people recommend newspapers down the front of your shirt to cut wind chill, plastic bubble wrap is even better!Keep some in your saddle bags just in case.
If you want to spend a little bit more money, you can also add heated grips and even foot warmers to your bike, although these will draw power from the battery. A trickle charger will keep your battery charged with long breaks between rides.
We can all have a quick ride home in near-freezing temperatures, but a long ride in the cold will numb your fingers and toes which is dangerous to you and other road users. Stop frequently, have a warm drink and thaw out the extremities. Find public restrooms with hand blow dryers which will quickly thaw out your fingers. If you are constantly shivering, pulling over for just a couple of minutes and move around briskly to get your blood pumping.
Even fine mist can soak your clothing and amplify the effects of wind chill, so consider wearing a waterproof layer or at least spraying your gear with water repellent.
When we’re cold we don’t feel as thirsty as when we are hot, so there is a tendency to not drink enough. That can lead to fatigue, so stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol, but spicy foods are good.
ALCOHOL AND COFFEE
They may go down nice and warm, and make you feel like they are heating up your insides, but they can be a danger in the cold. Alcohol and caffeine increase the blood flow to the skin which may make you feel warmer, but it is actually causing you to loose body heat. Alcohol also affects your judgement which may already be impaired by the cold.
Out metabolism slows down when we are cold so we start to shiver to create internal heat. Good nutrition helps keep you warm as your body heats up to burn calories. Eat food loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers to fight of the cold. Carbohydrates, fruit, soup, ginger and spicy foods are particularly good. Hot foods tend to make you feel warmer, but a piece of fruit can be just as effective.
Well, I’ve got to get back to work. When I stop rowing, the slave ship just goes in circles.