Winters are coming, and coming fast. Hence it is important to ensure you and your bike both are winter ready for the riding season. As the temperature starts to dip, the excitement to ride starts spurting. But one needs to understand the perils of riding in the cold without prior preparation. Hence we have got for you a small guide to ensure readiness for your winter riding. We want you to enjoy your rides to the fullest and be safe along with. So follow the few simple tips to take care of when riding in the winter season.
- Get the thermals:
This is of utmost importance. Putting on winter wear will lead to puffed up body and hence you might find it difficult to put on your gear over the winter wear. This will lead to either an uncomfortable ride or else an unsafe one. The solution is to opt for thermals. They are thinner and comfortable, as well as keep your body warm. They also make it easier to ride with better cold protection along with your riding gear. If you feel cold, you will not be able to enjoy your ride to the fullest, and also might get sick.
2. Wear proper gear:
If you thought your winter jacket is enough protection for you, you are really wrong. Wearing proper gear will not only keep you safe but also provide extra protection from the cold; especially the gloves, jacket and the helmet. Hoodies are the worst to wear because they do not provide enough protection from the cold as well as in case of an accident. Also, putting the hood on makes it difficult to put on the helmet. Always opt for a full face helmet for proper protect ion from the cold. A better decision would be to opt for riding gear which provides winter proofing.
- Ensure bike is serviced:
If there are niggles in your bike, it will probably trouble you at some point in the ride. So ensure the bike is in proper shape so as to not get affected from the cold start troubles. Also ensure the chain is properly lubricated using a good lubricant and not grease. Owing to the cold ambient temperature, the grease will harden and hence fail in providing proper lubrication to the chain during the initial part of the ride.
- Opt for low viscosity engine oil:
Many bikes are recommended high viscosity engine oils owing to the high stress conditions of operations on a regular basis. But this oil can also harden due to the cold conditions and hence create starting issues for the bike. Switching to engine oil with lower grade index of the lowest temperature can help as the oil will retain its working viscosity. This will ensure your bike will perform at its optimum best even if the temperature drops.
- Ride at comfortable speeds:
Riding has its share of challenges, which includes considerable wind blast. Winters can make riding a peril owing to the cold wind. This causes shivering, and higher the speed, the more cold you are going to feel. The best option here is to ride at a comfortable speed so as to keep the wind blast and your riding comfort in check.
- Be wary of the tyres:
Many people tend to overlook their tyres altogether before a ride. Winters tend to have a contracting effect on the air inside the tyres. This might result in the feeling that the tyres do not have the proper air pressure in them. But during the ride, the tyres will heat up and so will the air in it. This will get the tyre pressure back to normal. In case you happen to check the tyre pressure and find out the pressure to be less on cold tyres and hence fill more air, on expansion, the air will generate a greater force on the tyre and this could even result in tyre bursts. So it is better to fill in air during the peak temperature time to ensure proper tyre safety.
- Leave early, but at the onset of sunlight:
Summers give you the advantage of leaving for the ride early owing to the earlier presence of sunlight, which winter lacks. It is not exactly advisable to ride in the dark, as well as in heavy cold. To avoid the issues, the best solution here is to ride at the onset of sunlight. This ensures you do not ride in total darkness, and also making sure the sunlight starts the process of warming the atmosphere which is suitable for riding for you and your bike.
- Provide proper warm up time for engine:
Engines need to be at optimum temperature to function properly. Cold engines can be detrimental to the engine health, and so are extreme hot engines. Cold climates provide the advantage by ensuring your engines are never overheated. But the dangers of running the engine cold always persist. Hence it is important to let the engine warm up enough to run in a smooth manner when started after a substantial gap. This will allow the engine to heat well and the oil to also reach optimum temperature and circulate in the engine as well.
- Drink hot fluids/beverages to stay warm:
The bike is taken care of till now, but it is necessary to take care of yourself too, i.e. the rider. The cold will suck out a lot of energy and heat out of your body, which is why you need to keep consuming hot beverages and food in quick intervals. Do not overfill yourself on food or drinks as that would again mean frequent breaks to relieve yourself. Quick bites and small sips do the trick.
- Enjoy the ride:
Winters are the time to enjoy riding to the fullest. So have at it and enjoy the time of your life. Travel distances and see the world, because there is nothing better than scenic beauty to enjoy in the cold climate.
Riding is fun, and especially riding in the winters is a double whammy! So do not worry much about the world and explore your own on your set of two wheels. Just ensure that everything else is working properly and we are all set to zoom off.