If you’re one of those hardy souls who must ride even when it’s bitter cold out and there’s a foot of snow on the ground, here are a few tips to keep you going.
If you ride on the street, watch for black ice. This is hard-to-see ice on the road.
Be extra careful on bridges and in areas that are shaded from the sun, even if they are just small patches. If you get caught on ice just pull in the clutch and coast until you are off it.
Pay attention to possible hypothermia. If you start shivering, get warm.
Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature drops significantly, and it can be deadly. Temperatures don’t need to be below freezing to induce hypothermia. Wind chill gets worse as wind speeds increase, and the longer you’re out, the worse it gets.
Dress for success. You need layers of clothing to keep warm while riding in the cold. Synthetics work better for your inner layer than cotton, which holds moisture against your skin. On top of that, wear fleece, wool or other layers that provide insulation. The idea is to let your body create a warm pocket of air between you and the environment. Your outer layer needs to block the wind. Good gloves are a must. Seal around your neck with a bandanna or other neck warmer.
Drink of lot of liquids. Dehydration may be foremost in your mind in the hot months, but you still lose moisture in winter. Cold, dry winter air can suck moisture out of you and you may not notice that you’re perspiring.
If you’re off-road riding, don’t ride alone. That way if something happens to you you’re not stuck out in the middle of nowhere in the bitter cold alone.