Featured photo for Motorcycling in Cold Weather

Motorcycling in Cold Weather

Bounding through the living room, I was feeling like the Michelin Man both in girth and mobility. But it wasn’t because I had gorged on a 40-pound bag of marshmallows (which my friend Charis assures me does exist) and suddenly caused my weight to rocket off the BMI charts. Rather, it was because I was wearing so much clothing and not because I had another furnace fiasco.

Why so many clothes, then? Well, I had to drop off a package at a post office drop box in order to get it to the recipient in time for the holidays. This was the type of quick, in-town errand I would normally do on my motorcycle. At least when it is not 17 degrees Fahrenheit like it was on this morning. But then I remembered what could officially be a northern state’s motto: “It’s never too cold, you just aren’t wearing enough.”

You can say that I fully tested that theory by wearing the following:

  • 2 jackets
  • thermal shirt
  • ski pants under jeans
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • scarf
  • full-face helmet
  • boots
All bundled up with at least two layers of almost every article of clothing.

Then I hopped on the Buell and rode about eight miles total.

How was it? Once again—as in the case of the Spring Park 6k—gloves were the Achilles Heel. This time I was wearing liner gloves underneath insulated Gore-Tex five-finger gloves, which had the dexterity of a kitchen mitt but offered no more warmth than the heater in a vintage British sports car.

The helmet was another chink in the armor. Actually, it was doing a brilliant job of keeping my head and ears warm, but the face shield kept fogging up so I would have to crack it open a little. A partially open face shield offers about as much warmth to the nose and lips as holding up a mesh window screen to your face in a 50 mile-per-hour headwind.

On the whole, what I was wearing was enough to survive 17F weather on a motorcycle, but I was still a little cold. Guess I could stand to use a few more articles of clothing. Either that or gain more blubber like the Michelin Man. Never mind that the Buell rolls on Pirellis.

The Buell in front of some horses who must have been cold.
The Buell in front of some horses who must have been cold.