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cold weather riding on the cheap

how to stay warm riding in the cold for $5 or less

Well its another fall season upon us. The leaves are going to start turning color and the weather is going to let you know its going to get cold. As I was riding to work today and my hands started to freeze. I thought. Maybe I can help my fellow readers stay a little warmer this winter season with little tips I know of.

Growing up riding dirt bikes in Northern Nevada you become accustomed to riding in cold brisk weather. The kind that slaps you in your face and penetrates down to your bones. But as you ride you warm up and it feels good to ride and keep going.

Street riding is a lot different. You are not doing cardio while riding. You are just cruising and enjoying the scenery. So being on a bike perched like you are watching a football game on Sunday in your recliner you realize your hands start to freeze from the wind and your core and extremities begin to ache.

What to do? How do you keep warm if you don’t want to invest in heated grips or other heated or snowmobile-oriented gear? Here’s what you should get:

  1. Plastic gloves – I know this sounds crazy. But a lot of guys have one pair of gloves and that’s it. Cool. I get paying over $100 for a pair of gloves you might wear a couple times a year can be lame. So, for those cost-conscious readers here is a cheap alternative. You can go to your local grocery store or hardware store and get a box of plastic gloves. You probably already have a box of a hundred in your garage, so these cost pennies. They’re great to wear underneath your gloves when its cold. They keep your body heat in and cold wind out. The down side is they make you sweat and have no breathability.For those willing to spend a couple bucks and get a good winter glove. Look for THINSULATE insulation and “wind proof” seams in the fingers and a half gauntlet style glove. These keys items will make sure your hands stay warm and hold on to your metric beast.
  2. Duct Tape – Yes, Duct Tape. Again, probably something you already have in the garage, if not, it’s a few bucks. If your helmet has removable liner, you’ll like this.Take the tape and cut up little ½”x ½” or 1”x1” squares. I  take the liner out of my full faced helmet. I then proceed to cover each vent hole I can find. What this does once the liner is put back in is help deflect the cold air from outside coming in. I know you can open and close vents on your helmet. But really, they never seem to totally block the wind that way. This way with the tape. You get a closed seal and its easy to take of later when it gets warmer. You can also use a masking tape if you want to make sure not damage the foam in your lid.

    You can also buy a balaclava style mask. One that’s neoprene and fleece lined. They keep your body heat in, offer wind resistance, and are soft and warm against your skin. Another great way to keep your melon warm on a budget. An alternative is to wrap yourself up in an old wool scarf. You can find wool scarves in second hand stores for next to nothing. They’re out of style, and might be older than you, but they keep your head and neck warmer and cut out cold and dampness better than anything.

  3. Plastic Garbage bag – I have used this trick a couple times. You get a regular black garbage bag. You cut a hole at the bottom of it and two holes on the side. Put it on under your jacket and sip up. This is like the gloves on the hands. It will keep you warm and dry and keep out the wind. But you will sweat! The other option is a good thermal undershirt, or a fancy fleece lined undershirt. Those might run you any where between $20 – $80 depending on the brand.
  4. Bread Loaf Plastic bags – This has been around forever. This was taught to me by my grand parents who learned it growing up in the great depression pre WW2. Simple. Take two bread loaf bags. Cover your feet after you have socks on. Us a rubber band at the top to secure around your leg. Put on your riding boots. And POW! You have water proof feet and wind resistant. Cheap and it will get you the where you need to go with out being soaked.

Now these are just a couple cheap alternatives to stay warm. I will always say buy what the job requires not matter the cost. Are these an alternative to good cold weather motorcycle gear? As a long term solution, probably not, but in a pinch to save a few bucks these tips will definitely keep you warm, or at least stop you from freezing. A lot of it just uses what you already have. Ride safe, and long live riding season!

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