Winter riding

This is the best touring season when a rider may not be able to resist the temptation of going on a long ride. BIKE India tells you how to brace yourself against the chill while riding in cold weather


If you are going on a long ride, arm yourself with multiple layers of warm clothes. This way you can deal well with varied temperatures across various places and at different times of the day. Most textile riding jackets come with a detachable inner layer. Use it during winters for added warmth. Inner thermals are a cheaper option to keep you warm inside the jacket.

In case you fall short of warm clothing, grab some sheets of a newspaper and tuck it into your jacket. It acts as an excellent heat insulator and keeps the cold away. Similarly, if you are carrying a back sack along, you may carry it in front of you as a shield. Do make sure the sack doesn’t hinder your control on the bike.

Most riders leave their neck portion uncovered and exposed to the elements hoping that the jacket collar and helmet will provide sufficient protection from the wind. Only after riding in cold weather do they realize that they were wrong. Remember that the main arteries supplying blood to the brain pass through your neck. With constant exposure to cold wind, you might start feeling dizzy pretty soon. Besides, it might stiffen your neck. It’s best to invest in a good quality balaclava. Top end products like the featured Alpinestars balaclava come with a waterproofing layer as well. You can also wrap a muffler to protect your neck.



The main idea is not to have any parts of your skin exposed. If you have a pair of long wrist gloves, you can tuck your jacket sleeves into it. On the other hand if you wear gloves with short wrist, cold air will enter right into your arms while riding. If the weather is extremely cold, it is also advisable to wear a pair of surgical gloves under the riding gloves.

A cup of hot tea or coffee can certainly help you warm up. They can be a good source of heat for your palms as well. However, they are not the best liquids to rehydrate your body as the diuretrics actually make you urinate more frequently and you end up losing water fast. On the other hand, you can count on hot soups as excellent energy sources as well as rehydration agents. Stay away from drinking any amount of alcohol.

Besides atmospheric fog, cold weather also results in fogging inside your helmet. This could be disastrous at night and equally disturbing during day rides. Usually you are left with no choice but to open up the visor a bit and let the chilly wind hit your face. An anti-fogging visor is the best solution here. If you cannot lay your hands on such a product, clean both the inside and outside of your existing visor with a mild soap solution such as Colin. Then spray some more of it on the inside of the visor and let it dry without wiping it off. The dried layer will help prevent fogging to an extent.

Fog is the worst nightmare of a rider in the winter. If you encounter mild fog, switch on your headlight with low beam. Use high beam and turn on the left indicator if the fog is thick. However, never use high beam during foggy nights as it will further reduce your visibility. Use low beam along with the indicator. Whether day or night, if the visibility level falls significantly, slow down to a speed that is comfortable for you to react in case of an eventuality. If you need to park your bike by the roadside, leave the indicator on so that other approaching vehicles can notice you.

Mist and fog can often moisten roads and consequently tyres.The probability of loss of traction increases during the wee hours of the morning. This becomes even more dangerous in snowy areas where skidding is common. Preferably go for a set of specialized tyres. Reduce your speed and avoid leaning at extreme angles. For riding on snow covered roads, find sections such as tracks of bigger vehicles on the road that offer better traction and go gentle on the throttle and brakes.


If the weather is really extreme, take frequent breaks to regain body heat. Temperatures slightly below normal can play havoc if you ride fast. A very important factor called the wind chill factor should never be ignored. As speeds ride, the apparent temperature or the wind chill factor felt on exposed skin due to the wind can surprisingly be very low. Even when the outside air temperatue is around 15 degrees, at 50km/h, the wind hitting your body feels very chilly. Learn to recognize symptoms of hypothermia. Feeling dizzy, seemingly funny mistakes in vehicle manoeuvre, etc. are primitive symptoms. If your shivering stops even when it’s cold outside you must take immediate action to warm yourself up. If you can find a warm place, take off your jacket so that your body can soak in some heat. If riding through a snowy area, make sure that your external clothing is waterproof. You must get rid of any wet cloth inside while riding in cold weather. While we suggest you wear enough warm clothes, you must enusure that the clothing doesn’t hinder your vehicle manoeuvring ability. Don’t forget to carry along high energy snacks including chocolates and rehydrating liquids such as Gatorade.'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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