Motorcycle riding in winters: What all to keep in mind

A riding gear is as important as the fuel inside your motorcycle tank. Here is what all to keep in mind while riding in the chilly season.

By:Updated: Dec 19, 2020 10:20 AM

 

It might appear easy, but riding a motorcycle—for leisure—in the winter especially in northern India can be quite a task. And if your destination is the Himalayas (where it has snowed in December), it’s no less than an ordeal. But using common sense, and of course equipment, can make the experience fruitful.

Choose the right gear: It’s as important as the fuel inside the motorcycle tank or the air inside the tyre—you just cannot ride without one. From Royal Enfield to Triumph India, most companies offer riding gear for sale. There are a lot of aftermarket options as well. Some are expensive, others are affordable, but riding without a gear is a definite no-no. For winters, choose a gear that covers all parts of the body—even a square inch exposed to the wind chill can freeze the bones, especially if the temperature is under 10-degree Celsius.

Don’t ride in snow/rain: During this time in northern India it usually doesn’t rain for hours and hours, so if you ride into rainfall, stop, take shelter (the same for snow)—visibility gets reduced, there can be black ice, anything. Also, don’t have overconfidence in your machine or those special tyres; physics works the same everywhere on Earth.
Keep others in the loop: Tell anyone you can where you are heading to—family, friends, hotel manager, tow-and-repair company … anyone.

Go easy: When leisure riding is all about absorbing the surroundings, visually and mentally, what’s the need to speed? Remember that cold weather means cold tyres and lesser traction. In fact, in temperatures under 10-degree Celsius, even a five-minute stop can make the tyre lose all the heat—and thus a lot of traction—it would have gained due to friction while riding.

Use common sense: Riding practices such as signalling earlier, anticipating traffic movement around you, taking a break whenever you feel tired or uncomfortable, avoiding wearing dark clothing, being wary of winds especially in the mountains and on twisty roads, keeping an eyes on things such as wet leaves on the roads, and so on, will make you riding experience memorable and safer.
And, if possible, ride in a group.

(In case you are wondering why I haven’t written about choosing the ‘right’ motorcycle, clearly all motorcycles are okay—of course, when ridden according to their capability levels.)

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