How to Ride a Motorcycle in Snow

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When you ride a motorcycle, you’re already more engaged in the experience of driving than those who are in automobiles. When you add snow to the mix, you have to be ever more careful and cautious with just about every move you make. Here are some tips to help you survive–and enjoy–the experience.

Determine the severity of the weather and road conditions on your route of travel. Do this as best you can before you start out. Ask friends or colleagues, or anyone who has recently driven the route to give you an idea of what you’ll be facing.

Drive with care and caution as you always do. Assume that you are invisible to all other drivers on the road. This is true in the summer, but especially so in the winter months, as almost no one is expecting to see a motorcycle rider in the snow. If they don’t expect to see you, that often translates into not seeing you at all. Be ready to react by keeping plenty of distance between you and other vehicles.

Drive slowly. Enjoy the day at slower than normal speeds. The road may be dry in front of you, but ride on a bit further and you may run into ice patches, water or other slick surfaces that can come at you by surprise.

Ride up on the gas tank more often. Clutching your thighs tightly to the gas tank when slipping and sliding on the snow can give you more steering control and will make it less likely that the bike will slide out from under you in a fishtail motion. Again, if there’s snow, you probably shouldn’t be there, but if you are, ride more tightly.

Use tire chains if you must ride. The going will be slower, and you still have the danger of ice causing your tire to slide out from under you at any moment, but at least you have a bit more traction.