Cold Weather Riding

I’ve seen a lot of discussion lately on how cold it has to be before someone gives up riding.  There are a few different factors here.  First, age.  When I was younger, much younger, I rode eight miles in a blizzard with 50 MPH cross winds to see my girlfriend on Christmas day.  That was almost 50 years ago and I wouldn’t do it in a cage now!  Youth can push limits better.  You can do crazier things.  It makes great stories after you mature… if you mature.  Age matters

The actual road conditions matter.  I think snow is possibly safer, if that’s possible.  The packing gives you some kind of traction, but you still need to use your feet as outriggers.  It’s snow.  It’s slippery!!!  Today’s bikes are often heavier than they were in the 70’s and this plays a factor.  Here, you are holding the bike up instead of relying on your speed to balance.  I would never recommend riding in the snow, but if you have to do it, keep the speed real low.  It’s still very easy for the bike to slide out from under you.  Get some place safe and figure out a better way.

The worst conditions to me are dry roads with low temperatures.  You’ve seen the signs:  Bridge Freezes Before Road Surface.  I’ve experienced black ice in a car and that’s scary enough.  You have no control.  None.  It’s over.  You simply pray for dry pavement to come before the crash as you slide randomly until one of those things happen.  One a bike, it is very different.  If you hit black ice you instantly go down.  No warning.  Black ice is so slippery and invisible.  Two wheels have no chance to survive.  My policy is simply that if it gets below 36 degrees, I’m not riding.

So, what’s your philosophy on cold weather riding?