You may have seen previous magazine articles and blog-posts with advice about storing your motorcycle for winter, with information about your fuel, fuel-system, battery, tires, and rust-prevention.
Previously, I wrote this post about how to dress and keep yourself warm for winter riding.
There are a hearty few of us who just can't get enough riding. I always enjoy riding my motorcycle more than I enjoy driving my truck. I prefer my bike at night. I prefer my bike in the rain. I prefer my bike in the cold. I prefer my bike for commuting to work on urban freeway traffic. So long as the bike is more fun than the car, I'd rather take my bike. About the only situation I don't like is bad traffic on the freeway in the dark, on a cold rainy, night, or ice.
Turn on the radio in the morning while you're getting ready to leave for work or school. Listen to the weather and traffic report. If the weather is nice when you leave, but may change later, pack the proper clothing. The only way to gain confidence riding in the rain, is to ride in the rain more often.
Build your collection of riding gear for hot or cold, dry or wet weather. You'll need a variety of jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and helmets. Read How to Keep Warm For Winter Motorcycling. Carry an anti-fog treatment for your helmet's faceshield or add pinlock insert to your helmet.
If you have an electric garage door opener, find a place to mount the remote on your bike. When you come home from riding in bad weather, open the garage by remote and cruise right in. Create a closet or storage area in your garage for your riding gear, jackets, coats, pants, boots, and gloves. This will allow you to decide what to wear when you get out to the garage, and give you a place to hang wet things to dry out. Keep an extra motorcycle rain cover at your workplace.
Have you ever noticed that there are more scooters out during the winter than there are Orange County Choppers or Jesse James show-bikes? Chrome won't get you home. Get yourself a small, cheap, old, crappy bike for winter use. Make it something you won't cry over when it gets dirty or if your drop it. You won't need a powerful bike on slick pavement. Smaller bikes are easier to maneuver in traffic. Put good new tires on it. Mount a fairing, or windscreen on it, along with dirt-bike style hand guards and heated grips. New bikes depreciate with time. Old bikes become vintage, classic, collectible, and rare. Maybe consider a motorcycle with a sidecar.
Improve your carrying capacity with either a backpack, messenger-bag, tank-bag, saddlebags, or luggage rack. Carry a bungie net or straps, and replace them when the elastic wears out. Carry your rain gear and extra gloves at all times. Have a way to carry extra things so that you can stop at the convenience store on the way home from work. Carry a heavy duty plastic garbage bag in your pack.
If you have time to kill during the holidays, make an annual tradition of riding on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, and Ground Hog Day. Remember that riding is more fun than church or watching football on TV.
If it stops being fun, drive your car or take the bus to work. Riding while stressed-out or cold and shivering are potentially hazardous situations. Have a plan B. Add Recreational Vehicle coverage to your AAA membership, or towing service to your motorcycle insurance policy. Keep close relationships with your friends who own trucks.
Ultimately, riding in all conditions will make you a better rider, save you money in gasoline, and make your going to work more fun!
Ride long and prosper.
Paul Andor Nagy