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It’s that time of year again folks. The leaves are falling from the trees, the nights are drawing in, and the temperatures are starting to fall. However, this doesn’t mean you need to put your bike away for the coming winter. By taking a few simple precautions when riding your bike, you can continue to enjoy hitting the road throughout the autumn and the winter.
Consider your tyres
The colder temperatures that begin to arrive at this time of year can have a big impact on the performance of your tyres. First of all, the drop in temperature can also cause your tyre pressure to fall. You should get into the habit of checking your tyre pressures during the colder months, especially if you are planning to carry a passenger. If you notice that your tyres are a little flat, you should top them up to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
Secondly, it is important that you are aware of the impact that a low road temperature can have on your tyres. When the tarmac is cold, it will take much longer for your tyres to warm up as you ride. Warm tyres are vital for promoting the friction and grip needed for safe riding. You shouldn’t try to warm up your tyres by swerving from side to side like a Formula One driver, as this won’t be very effective and will increase the chance you will skid or spin out. Instead, you should gently apply the brakes when travelling at a relatively low speed before giving the throttle a short burst of acceleration. A combination of braking and acceleration will help to transfer heat into your machine’s tyres.
Get the proper gear
During the autumn and winter months as the temperature falls, factors such as wind-chill start to have a significant impact on any motorbike rider. If you are not wearing the proper gear, you will get very cold very quickly. It goes without saying that if you are shivering away on your bike, you probably won’t be paying attention to the road, and shaking arms and numb fingers will compromise your ability to control your machine.
You should look to invest in winter riding gear which features a Gore-Tex layer. Gore-Tex will keep you warm while also allowing your body to breathe, so sweat will not build up within your riding gear. You may also want to consider investing in a neck guard and a balaclava, to keep the wind from entering the space between your helmet and the rest of your gear. You can also accessorise your bike with items such as heated hand grips to keep yourself warm when you are out on the road.
Drive to match the conditions
Autumn and winter mean additional hazards on the road. As well as the usual bad drivers, potholes and roadworks, you will also need to pay attention to large patches of fallen leaves, or black ice and snow, which can result in hazardous and slippery road conditions. You should keep your speed down as much as possible when autumnal or winter weather conditions are beginning to arrive.
By taking a few extra precautions, you can enjoy riding your motorcycle throughout the colder months ahead.