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5 tips for winter time commuting

Though known for its frequent rain and poor weather, the truth is, for many of us not from states called California, the Pacific Northwest is something of a year-round rider's paradise. Sure, it can be wet, but in many parts of the region...that’s it. No snow-dumping blizzards, no subzero temperatures (thanks Michigan!) and more than a handful of sunny days, perfect for taking the bike out for a cup of coffee or even speeding off to work.

The important thing to remember is that motorcycling in the wintertime is still just motorcycling.

Mostly, the same rules apply in December as they do in July, but if you are new to the cold commute, or are considering picking it up, here are a few extra items that might make your trip to work much more enjoyable.

1. Research Your Route

If you know you’ll be making a concerted effort to moto commute this winter, start with a little pre-planning. Take an early morning before work to drive some alternate routes in your car and evaluate any potential hazards that may compound as the weather worsens. Take for example, downtown Seattle. It has some steep roads. Normally not a problem, but what about if the temperatures are pushing freezing? Is the bottom of that hill a little slicker than you might find on a 70 degree day? How about construction? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to avoid as many of those steel plates as possible. Taking a little extra four wheel time to find the least challenging, most obstruction free route can pay big dividends and make for a much more relaxed commute.

2. Invest In Stylish Gear

Not ready to show up to the office in your ADV suit? No problem. Thankfully, many gear manufacturers are starting to understand that riders want both style and safety. A classy, armored leather jacket can be virtually undetected as such and blend in quite nicely with your professional apparel. Check out selections from companies like Dainese, Roland Sands and Rev’it, for in-city apparel that won’t make you look like an astronaut.

3. Cut Your Hair Short

Helmet hair needs 24 hours to reset. If you activate it, you’re stuck with it until tomorrow.

4. Leave Time To Dry

Yes, that means when you arrive to work, but more importantly before you leave for the office. Stepping out of a hot shower and into your motorcycle gear can leave you sweating bullets. Not great for your professional appearance or for when you hop on the bike. Combining all that moisture with a steady 50 mile an hour wind, in 40 degree temperatures, will cool you down in a hurry and leave you on the verge of hypothermia 2 miles from your door step. If you are going to commute in the wintertime, hit the shower as soon as you roll out of bed and leave yourself a good half hour to dry out.

5. Plan An Escape

We know that weather is unpredictable, but so are many of our work schedules. An extra 2 hours behind your desk and you might find that the sun has completely disappeared leaving you with temperatures in the 20s and limited hazard visibility. Keep a mental list of potential rides home, know where to find accurate bus schedules or break out the Uber. Same rules apply for those after work happy hours.

Despite some of the extra hazards, wintertime riding on a sunny day can really be a great experience. All that cold air will give your bike a little extra pep and is perfect for keeping things in working order while you wait for springtime to arrive.

Derek Roberts/December 15


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