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Cold Weather Motorcycle Riding in Georgia

Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash

Riding a motorcycle on a winter day with a temperature of 40 degrees may feel warm when you’re stopped. However, as soon as you hit highway speeds, it gets cold, fast. At 65 mph, the wind chill turns 40 degrees into a cold 24 degrees. When that cold hits your hands, the blood vessels constrict, rapidly decreasing your hand temperature and causing:

  • Impaired tactile sensitivity
  • Reduced manual dexterity
  • Decreased motor function
  • Degraded ability to operate equipment
  • Increasing pain
  • Onset of frostbite

Consider the following tips to stay warm and safe:

Layers: It’s not about how many layers you have but with what you layer. Skip the cotton, as it absorbs moisture but doesn’t wick it away. Stick with synthetic, silk, or wool. The same goes for socks.

Chaps and leather jackets aren’t just for looks; they help block the wind and retain heat. Full coverage motorcycle boots also play a role. Don’t forget the neck muffler to pull on after your jacket, as it makes a noticeable difference in maintaining body heat.

Helmet: A full-face helmet is the best insulation for your head.

Layering Tip: Avoid adding too many layers on the interior. When layers bunch up, they hold less air, and air is what stores heat. Too many layers mean less air, less heat – not ideal.

Heated Gear: Many models have heated grips and seats. If your bike isn’t equipped, consider heated gear. Heated jackets heat from the sides, and a heated seat is a more surefire way of warming the core. Heated gloves protect your fingers from the wind and cold.

Heated Inserts: If you only ride a few times during the colder months, warming inserts can add heat. They come in various sizes for hands, feet, and even larger inserts for the jacket liner to warm your core.

EAT!: Eating food is one of the best ways to warm up. Your body burns calories to digest food, generating heat. Additionally, a warm drink can help raise your body temperature.

Stay Dry: Water steals heat from the body fast. By staying dry at your skin, you’ll retain more body heat. Add on rain gear: it may not be raining, but it serves as an additional exterior layer and breaks the wind.

Ride safe!

Chuck Watwood