3 tips for riding through the winter

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During winter, you might be tempted to wheel your bike into the garage, cover it up in tarpaulin, and leave it to hibernate until the spring. 
  

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With a bit of forward planning and the right gear, you can enjoy the open road on two wheels no matter what the weather. Simply follow these three tips for making the most of your motorbike all year round. 

Protect yourself from the elements

Riding your motorbike over winter without the right clothing is not only uncomfortable — it's downright dangerous. The NHS lists "inadequate clothing in cold weather" as one of the causes of hypothermia. With symptoms including impaired concentration and co-ordination, you definitely don't want to come down with a case on your bike, so never make the mistake of riding in winter without the proper gear.

With the right equipment, you'll be able to ride in almost any conditions. Invest in some winter clothing from a trusted brand like Keis, which has an excellent range of heated motorcycle clothing, and you'll be able to enjoy the road on two wheels no matter how low temperatures drop. Get a jacket and trousers that zip together to prevent a serious draught, and don't forget to protect your neck as well — pick up an Alpinestars Tech Neck Warmer, which will trap bodyheat in without restricting your movement and is available with price match from the sportsbikeshop.co.uk. 

Rust-proof your ride

It's crucial that you protect your bike from corrosion if you want to ride in the winter. Wet weather and salt from road grit will quickly rust your pride and joy if you're not proactive. Luckily, there's plenty of powerful rust preventatives out there — the XCP Rust Blocker is used by the professionals, and it's available with free delivery from Autosessive if you spend over £30. Spray this on your exposed metalwork and it will dry to form a hard-wearing finish that will protect your bike.  

Adjust your riding habits

While motorcyclists make up just 1% of the UK's road traffic, we account for 19% of all road user deaths, according to the government's THINK! campaign. This shocking statistic just goes to show how careful you need to be on your bike, and this is never truer than during winter. 

First things first: never ride your bike in the snow. Leave it at home if it's forecast, and get off the roads as soon as you can if it starts to fall while you're already out. You won't be able to get any grip if there's a snow covering the roads, and you'd be well advised not to test this out for yourself. 

Even when it's dry out, remember that cold weather means cold tyres. During spring and summer, your tyres will heat up after a while on the road and stay warm, giving you extra traction to work with. During winter, any heat your tyres have accumulated will quickly vanish when you come to a stop, meaning your bike won't have as much grip as you're used to. 

Make sure you're not caught out by cold tyres by slowing down and driving a lot more conservatively than usual. Avoid sudden bouts of acceleration — no matter how tempting they might be — and double the distance you leave between yourself and the vehicle in front of you to account for your tyres' lack of grip. 

If you want to enjoy the open road all year round, stick to these top tips for riding during winter. As long as you invest in the right gear, prepare your bike, and adjust your riding habits, you'll be able to keep riding until spring has sprung. 

winter riding tips

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