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Well I'm not ready to give up for the season like everyone else at work. I'm the only bike there now :(

The weather has been cold for the last several weeks and I don't mind the temperature but I'm trying to anticipate potentially slippery road conditions and would like some advice from the experts here.

It has been snowing/raining in the morning the last several days so the potential is for ice pretty soon. This morning I intentionally stayed off the interstate to avoid the potential for frozen bridges. The back roads are 50-60mph roads but with more potential for cars pulling out, stuff on the road, etc.

I saw the earlier post about ice in the shade and that is a great reminder. What else should I be anticipating?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

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The next thing to watch for will be... Next weekend we move our clocks 1 hour forward. This means that it will be the first commute back home at night for many people. Here in California, it is one the days with the most fender benders.
Other than that I think you are doing great!
 

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Here are a few more, you say this is all new to you. Face shield up before stopping at lights, slow starts and turns at intersections, easy on the power, pull in the clutch when crossing ice patches in the parking lot, no braking when turning on to unknown surface conditions. Take the cage on any new route for a road condition check, any springs that now flow on to the road surface when the ground starts to freeze up, where is sand or mud tracked on to the road. Any car wash water dripping where cars leave the driveway. Cages do not expect to see a cycle, use extra caution when in drivers blind spot. Does the town spread sand. If so just stay in the car tracks at intersections. I've only ridden in wet snow falling on warm roads at the beginning of a fall storm. I ride for fun only, not early morning commuting, over the winter. Frost is a concern until the sun goes to work. Don't you have lake effect moisture to content with? I think you will just pick and choose your days, based on the conditions, and distance you have to travel.

A few on this site have reported slow speed falls, from the rear of the bike sliding out, in turns, on a familiar route where some water, oil, ice melting chemical droppings, etc., (sand), caught them by surprise. Have fun, when your co-workers say, You rode your bike today, you must be frozen!!!

Barnett
 

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Kevin,
This may be hard to take from someone in San Diego , but I was born and raised in Wisconsin.
What you need to watch is the temp gauge, if it is 36 or lower you can have ice on the road. It is really strange to see snow at 37-39 but not out of the question. Bridges and over passes are tricky, you have to try to hit them at the straightest line. if you see that the bridge has a curve, try your best to make a straight line,(use the whole lane). Braking is different, rears are your friend and fronts will get you in trouble. Make sure you have good tires and keep your speed down to where the rear brake will bring you to a stop.
I have ridden in snow,(on the ground), and it is not fun on a street bike.
Be safe and watch out for the cagers ( they always go too fast when it's wet).
Don
 

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wilbar00c said:
Face shield up before stopping at lights...
This is the first time I've heard this one. I'm sure there's a very sound reason for it. Since I'm a newbie I probably slept through that part in MSF. :)
 

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Bill,
When you stop and it's cold, your visor will fog up. So you lift it before you stop. Not all the way( then you would freeze your nose). Besides, it's hard to raise it while your holding the brake and the clutch.
Don
 

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Kevin: I ride all winter in Michigan, weather permitting.......key words. I don't work full-time anymore so my winter riding days are when the roads are clear and dry. I never go out first thing in the morning when there are below freezing temps. Even water runoff from a previous day's salting can refreeze overnight. I will ride on days when the high temps don't even get up to freezing, but the roads have to be dry for that. One thing I don't do when winter riding is ride after dark. Not enough reaction time to see icy spots and make a lane adjustment, etc. Personally, it would not be worth the risk to me to ride back and forth to work, unless the temps were in the 40 degree range. Dick
 

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Kevin, I ride well into December in Mn. A couple of problems I see all the time are Black Ice and critters on the road. The black ice comes from car exhaust and always seems to remind me of it when I least expect it. The salt on the road can also be a problem, because it seems I'm always wiping salt off my bikes, Good Luck and just take your time!
Donn.
 

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Here in the UK I manage to ride all year round (have been for over 20 years, but not many do)
Here is my 2 cents worth
1. The cold can be your friend - you know who has just started their commute - their exhaust runs in such a way that they have a cloud of smoke behind them - so;
a. they are still tired
b. their windshield will possibly be steemed up still
***beware of them***

2. If you start to get cold - you will only get worse - dont try to continue till you have sorted it out - hyperthermia kills and you wont know you have it

3. let cars past you if they are too close, dont try to outrun them - in poor conditions this is even more important - a touch of the brake light may get them to hang back

4. fresh snow is far safer then compact

5. Open face with clear lenses or sunglasses doesnt steam up like a full face and a long thermal neck to nose, keeps the face warm with your own breath

6. the low sun can be blocked with the open face visor down slightly with tape over the lower inch

7. an xxl snow jacket over your normal riding jacket is cheaper than specialist winter riding gear and your normal protection is still there

8. keep your gloves on a radiator at work

9. keep whatever protects your eyes on the bike at night and during the day at work - they wont fog up so bad (from a warm house or office they will fog up immediately)

10. slightly reduced tyre pressure can aid in snow - dont go mad

11. I like to gunk the underneath of my bikes with sticky oil for winter and wash it off in the spring - saves the metal from corrosion salt

12. Some like to coat other parts of a bike with wd40 (light oil spray) and wash that off in the spring. I find this essential on the fairing nuts and retainers and they are very prone to salt rust - so strip the fairing before and after winter to check this - also light oil spray for the 12volt cigar points. Frount forks can dicolour if not covered

13. RainEx for the mirrors and glass lights, keeps the dirt from sticking as well as beading the rain - Personally I use this on everything, but many people say it yellows plastic

14 keep that neck covered

15 keep those kidneys warm - kidney belt

Will add more if I think of them - that was just my first thoughts as it is getting wintery here any day
 

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Watch those bridge mesh plates - the heavy steel ones that you often cross when you are making a turn onto a downhill on-ramp. When they're cold they offer little or no traction and your rear tire can easily slide out from under you.

Denny
 

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DGM said:
Bill,
When you stop and it's cold, your visor will fog up. So you lift it before you stop. Not all the way( then you would freeze your nose).
This only applies to those that don't use an anti-fog system on their shields. My Nolan's anti-fog system is awesome. Cold weather and wet weather-riding is ALL about the right gear.

Just remember this: only a fool rides on ice or snow intentionally. It's not a matter of "if", but "when".
 

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The other day, my wife’s co-worker (a long time rider), dumped his Brand new Triumph Sprint. En email from him explained how he went down on an intersection when he rode across some of the newer style painted crosswalk lines. On my way home, I stopped at an intersection an noticed just how thick they are painting them these days, and just how bloody slick they are now. This new paint is reflective so they don’t need the glass beads anymore that would give these wider lines some grip. Now that it’s raining here in the North West, I’m finding myself tip-toeing on everything painted!
 

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A lot of good information in the previous posts,
when I lived in Michigan I rode as long as the roads allowed it.
One of the things that hasn't been mentioned is run lower air pressure in your tires,
as low as you can without sacrificing handling,
you'll gain a little traction.
After your bike has warmed up a few seconds of holding your gloves over the end of the exhaust will warm them up nicely.
Be careful.
 

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Still beads in paint

Ron, they still put glass beads in all traffic markings but not for skid resistance but reflectivity. The problem is with cheap paint, the glass beads pop off leaving a crater. The crater fills with water and freezes making is slippery. A rider should avoid all road markings like the plaque. Never stop and put your feet down on one. Try to never turn on one. When they are wet or dry, they will take you down.
 

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Kevin,

Glade you haven't given up yet. I like the interstates more for early frosty mornings as I think the increased traffic will keep the road in better condition than the side roads. The side roads are not as straight, so more leaning with increased traction needed. Just go straight over the bridges as was posted before.

Saw Toby riding to work in the rain to the Syracuse VA last week. He was riding conservatively in the wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
messenger13 said:
Just remember this: only a fool rides on ice or snow intentionally. It's not a matter of "if", but "when".
Good advice Joe,

Thanks for the replies everyone. I don't want to do anything stupid but I also don't want to quit riding if it is still safe. Everyone at work thinks I'm nuts but I'm actually very comfortable. I've been warm and dry thanks to the protection from the LT and good gear.

Please keep the suggestions coming.

Kevin

P.S. I've been wondering if they make Blizzak motorcycle tires. :D
 

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In the few occasions that I've almost lost it in a corner, it was not because of inappropriate braking; quite the opposite, actually. With an excellent ABS system such as the LT posesses, it is very difficult to break a tire loose when riding prudently. HOWEVER, the same does not apply to the throttle. When conditions deteriorate, you cannot exit a turn with anything but very slight acceleration. When the rear tire breaks free, you can dump it in less time than it takes to say "Oh"......nevermind the "Oh sh#@".

Regarding the cold, only 2 words are necessary......electric clothing. Vest at the minimum; arm chaps, or a jacket are better. For the chilly Willys', pants, gloves and sox complete the ensemble. With the LT's charging system, you'll still have enough wattage for the espresso maker. HTH.

-tom
 
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