Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
Re: How are you preparing to ride in the chilly weather?
I live in So Cal and just rode to Kentucky and back, over 4,500 miles. It was not quite Minnesota weather, but I encountered my share of heavy storms and bitter cold.
To be honest, I was lucky. I encountered severe rain and thunderstorms from West Texas all the way east. I was only two hours ahead of the tornadoes that hit Arkansas last Tuesday.
Going home was mostly dry, but very cold. It stayed in the 20s and low 30s most of the way.
* LDComfort undergarments.
* Klim Badlands Pro gear is GoreTex and "Guaranteed to keep you dry". It is the best gear I have ever owned. Used properly, it really kept me 100% dry, but see "What didn't work", below.
* Warm and Safe heated jacket liner.
* Heated grips and seat. Sometimes they get too hot even in the coldest weather, but you can lift your hands or bum off for a second or turn them down to the half setting for a while.
* Pure silk glove liners. These add an extra layer of warmth and insulation. Most important, they make it easy to get your gloves on when your hands are slightly damp or the gloves are clammy. Silk glove liners are cheap. I keep a spare pair in the glove box on the bike at all times. I loan them out (mostly to pillions with cold hands) frequently.
What didn't work:
* I have never found waterproof gloves. Even GoreTex gloves soak through eventually. A long time ago, I learned to accept that gloves and hands will eventually get wet if you ride long enough in heavy rain. The heated handgrips are sufficient for me.
* More on gloves: Sometimes old leather gloves with matted insulation are better in the cold than new textile ones with thick insulation. The difference? The textile fabric allowed the cold air to flow through the fabric on the top of the glove. The leather had poor insulation, but it blocked air flow. With the heated grips, the leather gloves were warmer.
* Toes - I don't have heated pants or socks or foot pads. That's okay, but sometimes my toes get cold. They do not reach frostbite levels, they just get colder than I would like.
* Poor utilization of the neck pull tie on the Klim jacket combined with forgetting to flip out the flap on the LD Comfort helmet liner (with ties and tail). The helmet liner has a flap that hangs out below the back of the helmet (like a French Foreign Legion hat). That first heavy rain day, I did not have the Klim jacket pull tie snug enough around my neck. To make things worse, that morning I forgot to flip the helmet liner flap outside the jacket so that it would drain down the back of the waterproof jacket. Instead, it eventually soaked through and drained inside the jacket, leaving my shirt soaked. Oops. I was still warm enough, but did not like being wet on the inside.
That evening, the rainstorms got heavier, and reduced visibility to unsafe levels. I had passed four different car accidents with police and tow trucks, so I got off the Interstate and found a motel. The next morning I left as soon as daylight broke, in order to get ahead of the severe storms and tornadoes, which hit the area around my motel two hours later.
I made it back just in time for the Long Distance Riders' RTE at Pink's Hot Dogs near Hollywood. There wasn't time to stop at home first. My trip from Kentucky was only the fourth longest ride in the group. The longest ride had come all the way from Ft. Lauderdale, FL., and he encountered snow enroute. Eeek!