RIDING A GOLDWING IN THE
HEART OF THE OZARKS WINTER
When I left Saturday morning (yesterday) at about 7:30 am, the temperature was 29 degrees. However, some of the spring valleys I rode through were closer to 20. In this weather, I ride with a turtleneck shirt underneath my Tourmaster electric liner. Over the top I wear my Tourmaster textile jacket, and use Gerbing electric gloves to keep my hands warm. I wear a full face Scorpion helmet and use ear plugs to keep out the cold. I also wear a balaclavas pulled down so it only covers my neck (my liner has a heated collar).
For my legs I wear a my padded (long) girdle with a pair of Mal-Wart long johns. Over that I have an inexpensive pair of Sliders Textile Pants with or without the removable insulated / plastic liner (yesterday I rode with), depending on how cold it is. For my feet, I wear "60 below" wool socks with my lace-up insulated work boots. If I am going to be riding in temps below 20 degrees, I will wear some thin liners under the socks. My wife cannot believe it when I tell her that I am not cold riding down the road in 20 degree temperatures at 70 mph --- even though I am by nature a cold-blooded person. By the way, virtually all of my gear was purchased used (most of it off the GL1800 Riders Message Board), including MY BIKE.
There are a number of reasons that I enjoy riding in the winter time.
- THE VIEW CAN ACTUALLY BE BETTER: PUSH MOUNTAIN ROAD is a great example of this. In the summer time, the road itself is a blast to run, but there is nothing to see because the views into the valleys on either side of the road are obstructed by trees and vines. This phenomenon occurs all over the Ozarks.
- IT'S EASIER TO SEE DEER AND TURKEY: Being able to see critters is rather critical here in the Ozarks (HERE). I saw many of both yesterday, but with the grass brown and down, and the leaves off the trees, I had plenty of warning.
- 30 DEGREES IS BETTER RIDING WEATHER THAN 100: Sounds crazy, but almost nothing is worse than riding when it's an inferno outside. It is a complete drain on you both physically and mentally to ride in extreme heat --- particularly if it's windy as well.
- NO BUGS TO CLEAN OFF THE WINDSHIELD: For certain not a big deal, but I never have to clean the MADSTAD in cold weather.
- I'M RIDING: I rarely ride in a group, so in most ways winter riding is for me not much different than riding at any other time. And with the proper gear, I'm not sure there's such a thing as a bad day of riding.
Yesterday's route was a mish-mash of 76 / 95 / N / 201 / 341 (PMR) / 9 / 17. I ate at JoJo's Restaurant at Jack's Landing on the White River, just south of Mountain View, Arkansas (not to be confused with Mountain View, Missouri where I live). Bottom line, if you really like to ride (especially if you have a Wing or some sort of "Dresser"), get yourself some heated gear and get out there. Oh; and because of the residual salt / chemical on the roads, make sure to keep an insulated pair of rubber gloves handy to wash your bike real well when you get home.