Winter RidingLinda's Ride Advice
It’s winter here in Australia, and here in Perth we are pretty lucky with our weather compared to the rest of the country.
I don’t mind riding in winter…in fact I got my license back in 2012 during some horrid riding conditions, and I did it on a Piaggio Fly 150 with a smile on my face whilst the inspector stayed under a tree.
But winter days aren’t always wet and windy, they are however really cold…sometimes really really really cold, and it’s those times that are the testing times for a lot of riders who struggle to ride safely due to the chill factor distraction.
Most of us have seen those dare devil riders who get about wearing singlets and thongs during summer, if you aren’t wearing the right stuff then you aren’t as protected as you could be. When winter comes I put away my summer jacket and gloves and pull out my winter gear. A pullover or Grandpa’s old trench coat may be warm but they offer little protection.
I find that if I am shivering on my GTS then I’m distracted because my hands are hurting and I’m trying to build up heat by vibrating like a tumble dryer. Of course I do my best not to get to that point because I’m sure it looks odd to the road users around me. Instead I opt for the right gear and some extra layers. Don’t be a distracted shivering rider! Because this is when we make poor choices by hurrying to get out of the cold. If you are going to ride, wear clothes that will protect you from the environment and mishaps.
My winter riding wardrobe consists of thermal neck sock, singlet, long sleeve thermal t shirt, gym jacket and riding jacket. I wear winter gloves that are warm and thick but still allow me to grab the throttle or brake easily, but for those who go blue knuckles I suggest at least a pair of bright yellow or floral (depending on your preference) flocked dishwashing gloves. My legs take on a Hulk-like appearance with my thermal leggings under my jeans, and of course knee high socks and high laced Doc Marten boots. It’s ok to wear layers but make sure you are still able to move safely and smartly whilst astride your scooter.
As for my headwear, I am 100% full face helmet in winter because rain really hurts when it hits you in the face as you ride, and no matter how much I love riding my big Vespa I won’t be seen with a smile on my face if my eyes are tearing up from the needle like pain of rain drops.
Stay safe stay warm – and most important: Enjoy the ride!