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    News — riding tips

    Night riding - how to tackle the darkness

    Night riding - how to tackle the darkness

    In addition to riding in the blistering winter, riding at night is a significant fear for some motorcyclists. A nocturnal ride is one of the most tranquil, yet exhilarating experiences you can have as a motorcyclist - but the lack of visibility remains a major concern. Fortunately, there are several safety precautions you can take to ensure your night rides are rejuvenating rather than dangerous.

    1 - Make yourself more visible

    Riding a colorful motorcycle will help to improve your visibility, but if your ride is jet black, it’s not a problem. Ensure you have a high visibility jacket and a proper face helmet (such as the LS2 Metro Firefly, which features graphics that illuminate in the darkness) for night rides. Applying reflective tape to your motorcycle won’t have much of an impact during the day, but at night it will make your motorcycle look larger than it is and act as an independent light source. While some riders don’t enjoy the aesthetic of high visibility clothing - it’s better to be alive than fashionable!

    Ensuring that your headlamp is free from dirt and debris is also essential in order to make yourself more visible, but also to see further and avoid hazards.

    2 - Improve your field of vision

    For night rides, you should only ever ride as fast as you can see. One way to improve your field of vision is to get a high quality LED headlamp, such as the Kuryakyn 2246 Phase 7 LED Headlamp, suitable for Harley, Indian and Yamaha motorcycles. LED headlamps are very intense and can be an excellent precaution if you’re concerned about the safety aspects of riding at night. They’re also less energy intensive and last longer.

    Remember to thoroughly clean your visor before embarking on a night ride, as you’ll need your sight to be functioning excellently, given the circumstances. Tinted visors are not recommended for night rides - always ensure you have a clear visor available and bring some wet wipes with you for the journey. Getting insect splatterings and debris on your visor can be dangerous at night, so always stop the motorcycle immediately if your vision is impaired.

    If you’re concerned that your vision may not be optimal, get your eyes checked out before riding at night.

    3 - Don’t ride when you’re tired

    There are better ways to relax when you’re tired than riding a motorcycle - particularly at night. Don’t be tempted to compensate with coffee or energy drinks. If you’re tired, you will not be functioning optimally and your reaction time will be diminished - regardless of what stimulants you put in your body. It’s simply not worth risking your health by riding while tired. Get some rest and hit the road in the morning when you’re fresh!

    Studies suggest that in 40 to 45% of motorcycle crashes, the rider has been consuming alcohol. If you’re thinking about riding, particularly at night when visibility is diminished, don’t even consider having a drink. Alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in confidence, which can lead to an increased proclivity to risk taking, which is a recipe for disaster when riding a motorcycle!

    4 - Be aware of situational hazards

    The anticipation of hazards is necessary for motorcyclists in any situation, but at night there are specific dangers to be aware of. Because most people consume alcohol at night, be aware of erratic driving. Keep your distance from anyone obviously speeding, as they might be under the influence. This is particularly crucial at intersections and red lights, where speeding drivers might not slow down - you may wish to install LED rear lights to deter drivers from coming too close behind you.

    Depending on where you live, a number of creatures might find their way onto the road during the nighttime, and if you’re going too fast then you won’t be able to stop in time. While a collision with a rodent can result in an injury, if you live in a country like Canada where moose and deer collisions are common, this can be fatal. Always have your wits about you and remember, night is not the time to throw caution to the wind.

    Ride slower than usual and be prepared to stop if you encounter an unexpected hazard on the road. You should always be able to react if a hazard appears in your field of vision, whether riding during the day or at night.

    5 - Account for a drop in temperature

    Remember that at night, the temperature drops, which also affects the road conditions. This drop can be significant in desert regions, and when you also account for the wind chill when riding at a moderate speed, your ride can be very different to what you anticipated. Check the weather forecast before you embark, and ensure you have adequate equipment, such as windproof, high visibility motorcycle gloves (bare knuckle gloves are not ideal for night conditions).

    6 - Be a pilot

    In a survey by Back Country Pilot, 85% of pilots responded that they also ride motorcycles. This is because the both disciplines appeal to a certain personality type - those that lust for freedom and enjoy mastering a technically complex discipline. While pilots are known to maintain a level of calmness while flying airplanes, motorcyclists are typified as aggressive and reckless.

    When riding at night, calmness is crucial. This isn’t the time to put your pedal to the metal and explore the power of your ride. Instead, it’s the perfect time for revisiting your riding fundamentals and appreciating the dark tranquility of the present moment. With the increased safety risk of riding at night, there’s no need to be a daredevil.

    There are few things as rewarding in life as a solitary ride under the dark veil of night. Take the proper precautions and then submerge into the black! Good luck, nyctophiliacs.

    5 tips for riding during winter

    5 tips for riding during winter

    As the icy veil of winter descends, riders across the country are left thinking about how the adverse weather conditions will affect their favorite hobby. For many riders, the prospect of snowfall, heavy winds and dense fog is enough to make them want to leave their motorcycle in the garage until spring. Additionally, hypothermia is a very real threat for winter riders - exposure to cold can cause a rapid drop in blood pressure, which can have fatal consequences (particularly when riding a motorcycle).

    Fortunately, there are many precautions you can take to mitigate the dangers of riding during winter. Once you’re fully protected and have peace of mind, riding with the harsh winter wind against your face can be an invigorating experience. Here are the key steps to ensure you stay safe during your winter rides.

    1 - Cover yourself for roadside assistance

    While you never want your bike to malfunction during a ride, the cold weather does make riders more prone to accidents. To make sure you’re covered during these unfortunate circumstances, it’s best to establish a relationship with a reliable repair and tow service before you set off on your ride. AMA Roadside Assistance is a highly recommended service that can get you out of a jam if your motorcycle breaks down. In addition to towing, AMA offers a jump start service, flat tire replacement and the delivery of fuel and other fluids to your location.

    2 - Wear appropriate gear

    Before you embark into the dead of winter, it’s essential that you’re kitted out in the right gear. First, select a base layer specifically designed for riders. Even during the winter our body sweats, so it’s essential that our base layer gives our skin room to breathe. Depending on the temperature outside, you may also wish to add a mid layer such as a sweatshirt to stay warm.

    Outer gear is the most important, as it is your primary barrier against the savage cold. The Black Brand Tempest Ran Suit is highly recommended for riding in adverse conditions. This two piece rain suit features heat-resistant pads on the inner legs and elastic closures on the arms and legs to keep you warm and dry. The suit is also available in a high visibility neon yellow option and can easily be folded away to fit in your saddlebag. Next, select a pair of gloves specifically designed for winter conditions, such as the River Road Cheyenne Cold Weather Gloves. These gloves feature a waterproof, wind resistant membrane, adjustable wrist straps for a secure fit and reflective piping for increased visibility.

    If you are riding with a half helmet, an adequate face mask is highly recommended. The Zan Headgear Full Face Mask provides full coverage of the face and ears, is thermally insulated and features air vents for easy breathing - perfect for riding in adverse conditions. Additionally, a pair of goggles such as the Black Brand Gearhead Goggles will protect your face from the wind and will allow you to keep your eyes on the road in front of you, even in limited visibility.

    Finally, it’s important to ensure that all of your body is fully sealed off from the wind. It can be extremely unpleasant if a particular part of your body is exposed to the cold during a winter ride, so double check before you set off.

    3 - Drive cautiously

    In wet or snowy conditions, visibility is typically diminished, so act accordingly. Always signal for longer than you would during dry conditions to ensure other road users are able to see you. In regards to following distance, try and keep at least two cars length of space from the vehicle ahead of you - this enables you to react quicker to cars stopping as well as other unforeseen circumstances on the road.

    Also, ease up on the accelerator! Driving fast on the open road is one of the key enjoyments of riding a motorcycle, but during the winter it’s just too dangerous. When roads are more slippery and visibility is lower, you need to reduce sudden movements and make everything more gradual, from turning corners to hitting the brakes. Driving more cautiously will help to round out your skills as a rider, so use the winter months as an opportunity to revisit your riding fundamentals.

    4 - Prep your motorcycle for winter

    One key difference of riding during the winter compared to other times in the year is that traction is diminished. Always check your tyre pressure is appropriate for cold conditions before you set off. Additionally, you may wish to purchase an additional set of tires specifically for the winter if you plan to be riding. Some tires are designed for riding in adverse conditions - they heat up faster and have unique tread patterns which provide greater traction on wet roads.

    Give your motorbike a bit longer to warm up than usual and use anti-corrosion spray to prevent damage from road salt. Ensure that your lights are in working order and are free from and dirt before setting off. Your mirrors should also be thoroughly cleaned with anti-misting spray for safety purposes. These tips apply for all weather conditions put are particularly important during the winter when strong winds, slippery roads and reduced visibility can cause accidents!

    5 - If heavy snow is forecasted, call it a day!

    Wind and light rainfall can present unique challenges when riding, but heavy snow is exceptionally threatening, experienced riders equipped with snow-ready motorcycles are the only people who should consider tackling this condition. Check the weather forecast frequently and if conditions look too treacherous, leave your motorcycle in the garage. If you need to be somewhere urgently, seek out an alternative source of transportation.

    Riding through a snowstorm might sound like an exciting challenge, but there’s no point in injuring yourself when it easily could have been prevented. In addition to heavy snow, extremely strong winds can also be dangerous as hazardous objects can be blown onto the road. Always be highly alert when riding during the winter, and if things seem too overwhelming, call it a day. Light snow can quickly accumulate so don’t be afraid to take the nearest exit to recuperate if conditions are rapidly worsening.

    For those seeking to brave the frost, we salute you!