(Contributed post for our North American readers)
Going on a winter road trip has to be one of the exhilarating things anyone can do. At the same time, however, it’s also the most dangerous. Consider the fact that your taking your bike on a cruise down icy roads, where anything bad that can happen, will happen. There’s a high probability of you ending up at the hospital, so it’s only best that you prioritize safety above everything else.
Whether you’re going on a ski trip or riding through a terrible blizzard, awareness is everything. It pays to know how to keep yourself safe out in the cold. And as winter approaches, you will have to apply the right measures that can help you conquer the winter roads. Here are some of them.
1. Keep your bike in tip-top shape
As always, preparation is important and if you’re planning a long trip going North, you will have to make sure that your bike is in perfect condition. For that, it is important to test out your lights and your brakes. These are crucial to helping you navigate your way out of danger and prevent serious accidents while you’re on the road.
You will also have to check your engine’s performance and make sure you have it checked for an oil change. Your tires should also be checked. They should be in the right pressure so you will be able to maintain better control and stability. Lastly, always check that you have adequate antifreeze in your radiator and apply lubricant to moving parts. Generally, you will have to do regular maintenance on the bike.
2. Keep the cold out
Don’t think that the choice of accessories is irrelevant. On the contrary, the choice of gloves and helmets can keep you out of danger. That being said, you will need to get the right clothing, body protection, and gear for the season. Accidents during the winter happen because the human body can only do so much, especially in sub-zero temperatures. There’s always a risk of frostbite, especially if you’re racing along highways at 80 mph.
To prevent yourself from succumbing to the cold, make sure you have enough layers to keep you warm throughout the trip. For your base layers, opt for material that’s breathable and comfortable. You can then cover this up with a mid layer (basically, a thermal shirt).
Your outer layers should be anything that’s thick enough resist windchill and light enough to keep your bike stable at high speeds. Jackets made from fleece, leather, and synthetic fibers designed to prevent heat escape are usually preferable.
3. Don’t take your chances
Generally, winter is never a great time to take your motorbike out for a good cruise, especially under heavy snow. It’s not that you’re not allowed to ride your bike in sub-zero conditions. But when it comes to safety, you definitely shouldn’t take your chances.
If the icy roads are too much for your bike, then it’s best to store it properly. Be sure to change the oil and have the battery undergo trickle charge while it’s in storage. If you’re opting to go somewhere this holiday season, you may as well get a car that’s perfect for the winter trip. When you’re in Ohio, opt for a pre-owned vehicle from a Parma Ford dealer. This could at least keep you on the road right until the frost melts and you can bring your bike out of the garage for spring.