By Greg Hudson
Time for an ice-cold slap in the face! Here are a few chilling safety reminders for the winter months ahead. Not everybody has the luxury of heated grips, a nice snug faring or rider training, so keep these 8 points in mind for your extended motorcycling pleasure!
The first rains of winter fall on roads that have been coated with oil during the summer months. Wet roads offer less grip than dry roads and places you previously rode could have a sheen of oil now compromising the grip of your tyres. Look out for the rainbow like streaks along the shiny surfaces of the road.
Water Filled Pot Holes
There is an illusion created by potholes. Appearing like puddles, they conceal their depththat is until you ride over them. Never assume a puddle is just a puddle!
The painted surface of white lines gets extremely slippery in the rain. Avoid riding to close to the centre of the road during rain, as these markings collect a lot of fuel and dirt deposits. Add directional arrows and manhole covers to this list of snags!
Be aware that pedestrians in wet weather are always not very aware, especially when running across the road to avoid getting wet! They usually keep their heads down to avoid the rain, so keep yours up to avoid them.
Speed and Corners
Just like they teach at superbike school, make sure the centrifugal forces on the bike are minimised heading into bends. Just ride a little slower, keeping those forces under control. Never sharply brake or accelerate to quickly either!
Additionally, gearing down to rapidly could cause a lockup of the back tyre where it normally wouldnt on a dry road.
Trees overhanging the road get a little over sapped during summer. In the winter rains the mixture of water and tree sap can form a slippery film, the perfect trap for the unwary motorcyclist!
Corrosion and Your Motorcycle
Corrosion during winter can be avoided by washing of the salt and road dirt causing oxidisation. Wax your alloy rims with a nice hard wax to prevent the outboard motor effect. Try putting a little grease or vaseline in areas you think should stay dry.
Remember, bike covers will actually get a little moisture underneath them, so keep your bike covered in more ways than one.
Bear in mind that cold hands and feet dont react well. Treat yourself to a warmer kit to beat the freeze this winter.
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