Cold weather riding


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garwil
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:08 pm
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Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:51 am



This is the time of year when I am asked at least once a day "Did you ride today?" Generally I understand that they are really just trying to determine exactly how crazy I am. (Well he rode the morning it was 17f, we know he is that crazy, but would he ride this morning when it was 8f?) Sometimes when I answer in the affirmative, the person is genuinely concerned for my health and well being and exclaim in great dismay how much I must be suffering in these temperatures.

I find the the majority of people accept one of two arguments. First, I was raised in Saskatchewan Canada. This in itself supports the concept in most peoples minds that I have antifreeze flowing in my veins, and/or I froze off all sensitivity to cold long ago. They respond with "Oh yea, your a Canadian. You don't feel cold". I tell them that, yes it is cold outside and I do feel the cold, but, due to my upbringing in the frozen north, I know how to dress for it. Secondly, I ask them if they really think that I would ride if I was in excruciating pain. Most of them think about this a while and admit that that is implausible, even if they cannot conceive of how it is possible.

I have explored this question from my side as well. As spring turns to summer, and the temperatures begin creeping above 80f, I will see a sudden explosion of riders. At that time of the year, I have long since switched from my winter gear to my summer gear. In fact, at temperatures approach 90 and above, I am then in the time of year when I really am suffering. There are things you can do to alleviate the heat, but short of wearing a personal chilled water vest (yes they can be purchased) deep summer riding is the real "grit my teeth and endure it" time of year. Yet many southerners think they are suffering in the cold if they are not sweating at least slightly.

In the end, I am the one laughing almost every mile of the way as I ride the wind on my wing. :lol:



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themainviking
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby themainviking » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:37 am

Well, I also was raised in Saskatchewan, and I cannot even think of riding when the temps drop below the freezing point. I did, however, when I was a lot younger, and in fact, rode year round when I lived in New Mexico, at any time of the day or night, and without a windshield or fairing. I learned then that it is correct that bridges freeze before roads. Especially bridges over the Rio Grande River. I had several heart stopping moments of sliding/rolling over the bridges, early in the morning, headed for work. Now that I have a few (okay, a lot) more years under my belt, I find that I am much more susceptible to extremes of temperature - both ends of the extreme. I fully understand the "grit my teeth" riding in +90 F temps, and have ridden in Tennessee in July. Early morning and night rides are much more comfortable there for me. I also now understand the below 40 F pains that those southern riders avoid, and for the most part, unless the new riding season is just beginning, I avoid it also. I would probably be perfectly happy if I could live where it is between 60 and 80 all the time, but I cannot afford that many homes, :lol:

I do have to give you all the cudos in the world for riding at the temperatures that you do though. You are a tougher man than I.
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garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:48 am

You absolutely have to pay attention to the road conditions. Gold-wings don't skate very well.

garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:55 am

I am blessed because I live in northern Mississippi now. I ride to work every day and rain affects my riding more than temperature. Not because I am afraid to get wet, but I don't like spending the day in the office in wet clothing. My general rule of thumb is, I will ride home in the rain, but if there is significant rain during the morning commute, I take the cage.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:43 pm

I too will ride in what most consider bone-chilling temperatures, and I too am from Canada. I dress in layers, I have a heated jacket liner, gloves and insoles, and I don't ride on ice or snow (or if there is salt on the roads). By dressing properly, the riding season can be extended by months, while remaining comfortable.

I also suffer most in the heat, and I plan on buying a cooling vest this year to try to help alleviate that.

garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:22 pm

So far, I have not used any heated equipment (including heated grips or seat). I am sure they work fine, I am just to cheap.

I must admit that I find the ongoing search for the right gear part of the fun of riding. I am always looking for what will work better than the current weak point in my cold weather gear. Most recently I purchased new riding boots (Vega) because my previous boots had started to develop cracks and were no longer water proof. This also made them less warm. The new Vega boots are not as tight a fit which also makes them warmer.

This is an interesting point for me. Wearing loose fitting clothing contributes to the warmth. I have a pair of leather gauntlets I picked up a few years back that are very warm. They are a size big for my hands, but this contributes to the warmth. Even though the gloves are big enough to wear a thin pair of thermal gloves inside them, doing so makes the gauntlets less warm. Likewise, if I put on an extra pair of thermal socks, my feet get cold. The inner layer I wear under my riding jacket must be thin enough that it does not make my jacket with the liner in to tight. Thus, I find a thin sweater is warmer than a thick sweater if the thick sweater is to bulky and makes my outer jacket fit tight. I am sure if I had a larger outer jacket, the thicker sweater would work fine.

Also, adjustments to my riding gear changes about every 10 degrees colder. Whether I wear long johns or not, whether I need an inner jacket or not, whether I put on the Balaclava, etc. I just have to adjust based on my relative comfort and experience.

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silverado6x6
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby silverado6x6 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:48 am

I have been living in Alaska since 1992, started riding in 2009, currently I have 12 bikes, 6 I can ride at almost any time, two I have ridden in pouring rain, fog and below zero temps. The Yamaha Venture has seen its share of cold, rain and fog. But my problem is the secondary roads to the highway from my hose are gravel and during the winter are paved snow roads, even my driveway will not totally melt until around april or may. The main roads can be ridden right now, I actually saw three bikers last week during our 55 degree heat wave.
But personally without a certain degree of preparation on bike and for myself I call it at 40F, no riding below that unless necessary. If I were I would go double darkside with winter tires that are softer and have a high silica compound with siping, I have an excellent set of Bridgestone Blizzaks on my Chevy Equinox, at times are better than some studded tires I have used.
And then there is clothing, pretty expensive to get enough heated liners, gloves and even pants.
And frankly again I would rather stay warm, but if by chance say I had a CanAm I would try it, safer having at least three wheels on ice.

Years past the Alaska State Troopers would issue a citation if a motorcycle was operating on ice and snow covered roads and it would have to be towed away. Officers discretion as per road conditions. And in Alaska an inch and a half of snow is absolutely nothing, not even 6 inches will slow down traffic up here, people will still be going 70mph commuting to work, totally different than the lower 48, mostly because we get acclimated to it, we use special tires or studs, newcomers with All Season tires or ones attempting to drive even with tire chains get run right off the highway. When it snows I have an SUV and a dually.
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garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:21 am

Yes, I understand compressed snow pavement. We get the ice buildup all winter in the towns and cities in Saskatchewan. One of my first driving accidents as a teenager was because I could not climb out of the driving ruts and miss the guy stalled at the stop sign. On the major highways the road surface is generally clear because they plow, but in the cities, they tend to just let the cars drive it down. Can't get away with that in places that get more snow at one time.

I did have an acquaintance in Saskatoon that rode a Honda Trail 80 to commute in the city. He rode most of the winter (down to -30) as long as he had enough pavement showing through to have traction. But the ice ruts eventually shut him down. Of course, he was wearing full Skidoo gear and was traveling at 45 MPH or less, and the bike was small enough that he could actually catch it with a dab.

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minimac
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby minimac » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:44 pm

I will ride all winter as long as the roads are dry. The temperature isn't a factor, although after an hour @ 8*F, I was starting to feel a bit chilly. If the roads are wet, it has to be over 35* or so for me to feel comfortable riding. Cold is OK, Ice isn't, eh?

garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:16 pm

I agree. I took a couple of semesters in Oswego. That is one place where plowing is not optional.

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seabeechief
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby seabeechief » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:45 pm

You guys up north are tougher than I ever thought about being. The only time I even consider riding when it is under 45-50 is when there is a Patriot Guard mission. Otherwise I prefer over 50. I still would rather it be 100 than 50. As I get older, the heat is starting to bother me more, but I would still rather be very hot than just a little chilled. When I do get out in the cold, I have my thermal underwear under jeans, long sleeved t-shirt and thick khaki shirt, plus Carhartt bib coveralls and lined, waterproof jacket and lined, waterproof gauntlet type gloves. Turn on the grip heaters and seat heater and I'm good to go. I can turn the heaters off and take a layer of clothes off if I start to warm up. Oh yeah, and the Wing is most definitely better in the cold than my old Harley Road King. I still miss her sometimes too. If I could own two, I have still have the Road King with my Goldwing, but I can only afford one and the Wing is the only way to go. YMMV.

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garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:08 pm

I found an article in webbikeworld on a All Season Motorcycle Riding.
I found it very interesting.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/r5/motorcyc ... ng-outfit/

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redial
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby redial » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:49 pm

I also suffer most in the heat, and I plan on buying a cooling vest this year to try to help alleviate that.


Recently, in our hot spell of 40+C for 13 days, I rode over to a nearby town. On my return, I felt a bit woozy, and put it down to lack of water. I drank several litres of water (1 litre = approx 2.2 imp pints), and felt better. Which brings me to the point, that it is not always the heat that hurts, it can be the lack of hydration.

With hot wind blowing past you, even though ATGATT, you will become very dry, very quickly. I am thinking of getting a "CamelBack" for these times. It is like a water bottle in a back pack harness, with a plastic tube that hangs down to the front, and when thirsty you just have a suck or two to rehydrate. It would even fit under my jacket, as it lays reasonably flat against the back, and this would keep the sun off it. Our troops have them, for when they are operating in hot climates, but I dont think that I need a DRP (disruptive pattern aka camoflage).

Just something more to think about if ever the cold weather turns into spring and summer.
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garwil
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby garwil » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:25 pm

Hydration is a big issue in hot weather riding. Down here in the mid-south, with the humidity combined with the heat, it can become very dangerous very fast.

I know that you can get a cooling vest that hooks up to a cooler full of ice and water. It has a pump that you turn on to circulate the cold water. However, I read a post by someone somewhere (I really don't remember which forum) where he rigged up a cooler with a squeeze bulb (like you use to prime the gas on an outboard) and the tubes ran to the top of his shoulders under his riding jacket. It simply worked on the wet t-shirt and evaporation principle. Whenever his shirt started to dry out, he would give the bulb a few squeezes to wet it down again. It did not require cold water, and in fact is more comfortable if the water is luke warm. When I was growing up in the north, this would have sounded horrible, but down here in the humidity and heat, I have been known to simply tip a cup of water down the neck of my riding jacket. I wasn't going to be any more wet and it went a long way to cooling my body.

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seabeechief
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Re: Cold weather riding

Postby seabeechief » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:52 pm

redial wrote:
I also suffer most in the heat, and I plan on buying a cooling vest this year to try to help alleviate that.


Recently, in our hot spell of 40+C for 13 days, I rode over to a nearby town. On my return, I felt a bit woozy, and put it down to lack of water. I drank several litres of water (1 litre = approx 2.2 imp pints), and felt better. Which brings me to the point, that it is not always the heat that hurts, it can be the lack of hydration.

With hot wind blowing past you, even though ATGATT, you will become very dry, very quickly. I am thinking of getting a "CamelBack" for these times. It is like a water bottle in a back pack harness, with a plastic tube that hangs down to the front, and when thirsty you just have a suck or two to rehydrate. It would even fit under my jacket, as it lays reasonably flat against the back, and this would keep the sun off it. Our troops have them, for when they are operating in hot climates, but I dont think that I need a DRP (disruptive pattern aka camoflage).

Just something more to think about if ever the cold weather turns into spring and summer.


Maybe your "refreshment" stations are too far apart!

Chief


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Patriot Guard Riders - San Antonio & Austin
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