By Dom Mozzone, Safety Officer
Preparation for Winter Riding:
The winter chills are around the corner and a lot of us in the club ride all year ‘weather permitting’. Our seasoned winter riding veterans, you will notice, wear layered clothing in addition to various pieces of heated gear. During the summer months wind is a welcomed part of riding to cool us down. In the winter cold wind, if not properly prepared for, will make riding very uncomfortable and could affect your reaction time and cause rapid frostbite on any exposed skin. You need to dress in the winter the way you want a rain gear to work in the summer, with no leaks, in this case air leaks!! The way to plug air leaks is with layered clothing that will cover your arms, legs with added chaps, torso, neck and chin making sure not to obstruct breathing which will cause your eye protection to fog at slower speeds. Additionally, heated gloves are an optimum choice for winter riding comfort. By following these clothing guidelines you will be properly prepared to handle the winter riding cold weather.
Winter riding will also require us to modify our behaviors somewhat in that we will have compressed time frames to ride and need to consider weather forecasts, temperature and moisture conditions before riding. You will notice that our club’s winter riding schedules will begin later in the morning and end earlier in the afternoon. This is due to AM&PM frost on the roads, the later AM start allows the frost to dissipate once the sun rises; as well, the early PM sunsets and temperature drops that will frost the roads and impact traction are avoided.
When riding in cold weather, especially on side roads, if you come across sand or leaves, especially if its shaded, consider it iced and ride as you would over wet leaves, no turns or hard braking and keep the motorcycle going straight until you pass the hazard. Riding year round is certainly enjoyable and to take advantage of the passion we have without any seasonal restriction brings varied experiences like “NO TRAFFIC” out east!! I should also mention how much our v-twin engines love that chill in the air and purr sooooo smoothly. Wouldn’t it be nice if our v-twins ran on a hot summer day in traffic like they do in the winter.
Bottom line: Dress appropriately, modify your riding times, consider rapidly changing weather conditions that will limit your flexibility and lets all take advantage of the beautiful LI local roads that we avoid during the summer traffic crunch. Ride safe, ride prepared, ride often, ride the winter….try it you’ll like it!!!