Winter Motorcycling

George_Tranos_Outside_EdgeMotorcycling in the depths of winter
By George Tranos

It’s below freezing and snowing outside but all you can think about is motorcycling! Wow, you too have been bit by the riding bug. While not a virus or flu per se, motorcycle mania can manifest itself in many forms. Some sufferers have resorted to bringing their bikes inside into their living room so they can be close to it! Others make little snow motorcycles in the snow (instead of snowmen or snow angels). How far will you go to keep motorcycling alive in the depths of winter?

With heated grips, seat and gear, some riders eschew winterizing their mounts and continue to ride. While modern technology has made it a lot easier to keep yourself warm, there still are freezing roadways to contend with. Below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, black ice can form which can prove deadly to motorcyclists. Care must be taken when riding on cold days to search and identify hazards quickly.

If you’re up to riding, perhaps a dirt bike or All-Terrain-Vehicle (ATV) is more to your liking in the cold. These vehicles are meant for surfaces with less than ideal traction. You can still enjoy riding and improve your slick road survival skills from practice and experience. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to get sideways on a quad or dirt bike in the snow!

IceRacingSome intrepid motorcyclists even stud their dirt bike tires and ride on frozen lakes. The most extreme example of this is ice racing where bikes race round an oval track. This is a high risk but fun sport where participants challenge themselves and the elements.

When it really comes down hard, you might consider trying a snowmobile. These sleds can be driven off-road, on trails and in designated areas like state forest land. Meant to track over and through deep snow, you can go almost anywhere on a snowmobile when the flakes begin to fly. If you live in warmer climes, you might have to invest in a trailer and tow vehicle to haul your snowmobile to snow country. Once you’ve made this investment, you might find yourself looking forward to winter and your outdoor adventures.SnowmobileTouring

If you really don’t want to face the cold, consider a trip to a warm weather destination where you can rent a motorcycle. Even a single day rental can provide the riding fix that you might need to make it through the winter until riding season arrives in the spring.

If you can’t get away, consider pursuing other activities to keep active and fit so that when spring arrives, you’ll be strong and flexible enough for riding. Some fun things you might consider are skiing, ice skating, gym workouts or simply walking. Winter walks through the snow can be invigorating and enjoyable. When the weather really closes in, try walking in an indoor mall for a change of pace.