(Sponsored post for our northern winter riders)
A motorcycle ride may be one of the best ways to overcome winter blues, and it’s a way to keep reminding you that spring is on its way. Riding out in the crisp and cold air is revitalizing. Riding motorcycles during sub-freezing winter temperatures can be scary to some riders. But for others who enjoy the thrill of it, winter is nothing but a new riding season, with some challenges and fun all on its own.
Motorcycle Fall Hazards
It’s a fact that not all winter days are snowy and icy; however, if you want to be a seasoned rider no matter what the season, watch out for hazardous surfaces that surface during winter. Being alert during your winter ride can sharpen and hone your skills in perfect time for spring.
Here are some of the motorcycle fall hazards during winter:
1. Black Ice
Winter presents a lot of challenges like black ice. This kind of ice got its name because it’s thin enough to show through the black color of asphalt, which technically makes it hard to notice or see. Black ice typically forms on the surfaces of the road, much similar to frost forms found on your lawn.
The Black ice can take place when the temperature of the air is above freezing and when the surface temperature of the road is below freezing. You have to watch out for that formation in areas near bridges and places where the road surface is under a shade. Drive slowly in the sites where there are rampant rain run-offs or melted snow.
The height for black ice is late in the evening and early dawn so you have to be extra careful when you ride during those times in winter.
2. Salt and Sand
Salt is capable of lowering the temperature that water freezes at and starts to melt ice on the road. Sand can make your wheel skid. This combination can make roads a lot safer during the winter storms. But when the roads are dry, the sand and salt will accumulate in places and will be become slippery like ice.
You should be vigilant for sand and salt accumulations at the edge of all lanes because car tires often sweep them off. Be more cautious when you turn across the area with intersections. Slow down in turns and choose your lines wisely, as it can be difficult to predict when you spot a lot of salt and sand accumulations in blind spots.
Smooth roads will begin to degrade during the fall season and within the first winter weeks. Potholes will upset your steering and can damage your wheels and tires. A pothole that’s filled with thin ice is an accident waiting to happen.
Winter potholes happen when water infiltrates fine cracks at road surfaces and can seep in between layers of pavement. When this water starts to freeze, this will expand and create a gap between these layers of pavement. Right after the ice melts, this sizeable new gap will collect more water. This repeated cycle of thawing and freezing again undermines the surface’s pavement until it begins to break and will start to create a pothole.
4. Frost Heaves
Frost heaves develop from the repeated cycle of freeze and thaw that creates potholes. They tend to cross the travel lane linearly. They usually appear as long, inverted cracks, but sometimes the road pavement is heaved with no signs of cracks. Passing these sudden bumps can upset your suspension and steering.
5. Slippery Roads
Even without black ice, some roads become more slippery during the winter months. There can be several reasons like water, stones, or ice fragments. While some icy roads are manageable for four-wheel vehicles, these kinds are more dangerous for motorcycles. If you’re not careful, you could skid off the road or fall off a sharp turn.
6. Motorcycle Damage
Perhaps the most critical fall hazard is the effect of cold temperature on your motorcycle. As you know, cold weather can freeze your tires and riding will increase heat around your tire.
Depending on the weather’s temperature, a quick and brief stop will efficiently cool your tire that will provide a lack of traction. Know the proper way to heat your tires. If you can, avoid stopping in zero degree areas.
Protect yourself at all costs. For your motorcycle, maybe choosing a bike protected with carnauba wax can help mitigate damage. Check out thevehiclelab.com’s article on carnauba wax for more information.