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Winter Motorcycling tips

It’s understandable that some motorcyclists would consider winter to be the “off season” and put their bikes away. For others, however, it’s a different twist on something they love no matter what the season.

During the winter there can be a lot of new and different hazards that are unique to the season. But, if you’re able to brave the temperatures and prepare for some of the hazards, winter can still be a fun time to ride.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind if you want to get your motorcycle out this winter.

Dress for the job

Having the appropriate gear for riding your motorcycle is important no matter what the season. In the summer, leather chaps and jackets can save your life if you were to be involved in a crash.

In the winter, you may want to trade the leather for Gore-Tex for increased waterproofing and breathability. It will also still stand up to skids on the road in the event of a crash.

Even more important is what you put under your winter coat and pants. Wearing multiple layers, including a base layer that will wick away sweat will be vital to staying warm no matter how bad the winter wind gets.

Watch for hazardous conditions

When you’re driving a car, it’s important to watch out for ice and cracks in the road. When you’re on a motorcycle, it becomes even more important. Driving on two wheels limits the traction and stability you would have in a car, so a small patch of ice can send you into a ditch.

Also, watch out for salt. When riding your bike in the winter, salt on the road is a potential hazard. While it can help de-ice the road, it can cause a potential loss of traction for your bike. Keep in mind that if you are riding in salty conditions, you will need to take extra care to rinse the salt off your motorcycle. Just like cars, bikes can get rusty.

Stay visible

As a motorcyclist, you are already aware that it can be more difficult for cars to see you when you are on your bike. As much as possible, leave more space between you and other vehicles, especially when conditions are slippery.

Winter is also not a time to go out in all your darkest gear. With shorter days and longer nights, it is even more critical to wear reflective clothing so that other cars can see where you are.

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