How to keep your legs warm while riding a motorcycle, especially during the winter months used to be largely theoretical with only the true road warrior venturing out if there was snow or ice.
As bike technology and handling have improved in colder climates, an increasing number of bikers are looking to head out occasionally over the winter months. This has led to much debate over the best way to keep legs warm.
While some bikers are using enough electricity to supply a small city, seriously testing the bike’s electrical systems, with heated gloves, gripes, pants, socks, vests, and so on, it seems simple is best. Good wind and waterproof pants, still head of all the contenders when it comes to effectiveness.
Why is it important to keep your legs warm?
It’s easy to think, it might only be a five-minute blast down the road, so you’ll tough it out in jeans, but it will be a pretty uncomfortable five-minute blast in winter. Comfort aside, there are some pretty serious reasons why you want to keep your legs warm while riding a motorcycle:
- Cold legs result in slower reaction times
- Reduces blood circulation to feet
- Increases the risk of hypothermia
- Increases risk of accident
So, how do you keep your legs warm and toasty when it’s freezing outside and riding a motorcycle on even the hot days can feel as if you’re standing in front of the air con on full. Perfect in summer, not so much in winter.
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Keeping your legs warm while riding a motorcycle
To be honest, it’s not rocket science. This is one of those times when the tried and true is probably going to be as good now as it was back in the day.
Windproof waterproof pants over regular pants are always a good fashion choice on those cold winter mornings.
If you want to spice it up a bit, tuck the pant legs into tall socks to prevent wind from blowing up your pant legs. Works a treat, every time.
On days, when it’s just a bit nippy out, chemical foot warmers can take the cold edge off, rather than the full cold regalia necessary up in Alaska. As any good fashion designer will tell you, it’s all about layers. Wear clothing that is easy to take off when it gets warmer in the day.
Of course, technology can be useful, with leg heaters becoming increasingly popular, while calf warmers from Amazon have replaced the folded newspapers down the pants of days gone by.
There are a whole heap of products on the market of varying degrees of effectiveness ranging from shoe covers to electric socks and everything in between.
Modify the bikes
For those who can withstand being the subject jokes until next fall, there’s always the option of modifying the bike. A simple windshield can reduce the wind considerably and help maintain overall body temperature. Although there have been shields for the legs, they have never really gained traction.
Prepare physically for the cold
A wardrobe is obviously a big factor in staying warm, but it’s not the only factor. There are several ways you can make the 30-minute winter commute a little more bearable.
From the minute you step out the door on a winter’s morning, your body temperature is heading south. By starting out warm, or with warm legs at least, you delay the inevitable.
The more energetic might opt for squats, jumping jacks, or lunges to get the blood really pumping, but standing in front of the heater for 10 minutes before you leave is a less intense option ad works pretty well. It also helps keep those cramps associated with cold legs at bay.
No more skipping meals pre-ride, a high protein meal, with carbohydrates, washed down with water is important. It will energize your body and give your blood pumping, which generates heat and prevents your legs from becoming icicles.
The repercussions of not giving the cold the respect it deserves are serious. If there’s one thing that will cast a cold shadow over any event; turning up half-frozen, For the diehard motorcyclist who can’t wait six months to get back out on the highway, overwinter, our advice, stick with the true and tried, works every time.
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.