It would be fair to say that we’ve been quite blessed this winter, with the weather staying at a reasonable temperature. However, if one was to believe the media, we keep being told that we’re set for one of the coldest winters in years. For the motorbike enthusiast out there, this obviously spells bad news.
Nowadays, there’s nothing better than hitting the best vlogs and taking in the videos that fellow riders have taken on the increasingly popular helmet cams. Suffice to say, when the weather turns a little colder and the roads turn even more treacherous, some of these videos are spectacular to say the least. However, in a bid to stay on the right side of safety, here are some of our top tips when you take to the road in winter on your bike.
First and foremost, make sure you are adequately prepared in relation to clothing. This isn’t necessarily from a safety point of view either – although naturally, this should be your first priority. However, you should also make sure that you have enough garments to keep you warm. Neck warmers, heated gloves and fleeces are the main ones although really, it’s up to you on the temperatures that your body can withstand.
In terms of safety, we don’t need to say anything else other than you need the most resolute and padded clothing out there. Still, this is the same as if you were traveling through the summer – so just keep those principles in mind and you’ll be fine in this regard.
Test the grip
It goes without saying that the main issue whilst traveling in these conditions is the lack of grip on the road. Fortunately, the UK usually adapts quite well and it doesn’t take long before the gritters are out in full force across all major roads. However, if the temperatures do start to drop ridiculously low (such as -4 degrees or worse), it’s time to head home. The grit will tend to freeze at this point, and once again leave you with a road which is almost impossible to negotiate.
If you’re unsure about the state of the road, try revving the wheels and seeing how the wheels spin. If there’s any resistance, you should be fine. Of course, exercise a degree of caution in this regard and be aware that your bike could fly straight over in extremely treacherous conditions!
Avoid the side roads
We’ve just talked about how well the authorities deal with the major roads in the country, but make sure you stay well away of any side roads. A lot of these are rarely treated and while you might be looking to showcase another impressive session on your vlogging site of choice, it could turn out to be a rather embarrassing spectacle if you take to one of these ice rinks!
Stay on the grit when filtering
Most cars naturally take their time in icy conditions and there’s no doubt that motorbikes should do the same. However, there will be occasions where you’ll filter in and out of traffic, which is perfectly safe if you’re doing it around the grit. Unfortunately, not all of the road will be gritted and if you go near the kerb or the centre of the road you might be asking for trouble. These are the areas which other vehicles tend to avoid for the same reason, leaving you very little space to overtake.
Stay in control of your visor
Anti-mist devices were meant to transform driving in snow, but few motorbike users actually find one that functions properly all of the time. Despite what the manufacturers tell you, they are never perfect and you will have to prepare yourself for constant swiping of the visor. The same occurs with snow accumulating around the area although never be tempted to leave it open – it’s much easier to wipe it with your hand rather than pluck a load of ice out of your eye in the middle of a freezing journey!