Well, let's make this blog earn it's namesake!  We're now on the cusp of December and being the Northeast, that means temperatures are reliably falling below the freezing mark.  So where does that leave us?  I could yabber on about fuel stabilizers, battery tenders and gasoline-soaked rags stuffed in mufflers, but instead we'll go over some very simple steps you, yes YOU can take to extend your riding season.  Hell, maybe even not have an off season!

When I first started riding, I would make it until about mid-November and then I would go through an all-day process of cleaning, waxing, stabilizing and packing up, stuffing the bike into a corner of my father's garage for the winter.  This was the modus operandi for a few years and multiple bikes until we had a warm stretch of days one February.  I would have loved to have gone for a ride, but my bike was not home and not ready to ride.  Both of which were not cool.  Ever since then, the bikes don't get packed up and I take advantage of any warm(ish) day we get while the Northern Hemisphere tips away from the Sun.

So what can you do to make sure your ride is as comfortable as possible when you cruise past that bank thermometer when it says 31 degrees?  There are two schools of thought - The New School, and the Old School.  Let's start with the latter.

Old School

When riding in cold weather, you're battling two things: the ambient temperature, and the windchill factor.  While there is a lot of crossover, there are some separate things to do to combat each.  To keep warm, layers are where it's going to be at.  Personally, if it's below about 50 degrees, I put on a thermal base layer and go from there.  There's a fair amount of engine heat as well as leg fairing on my bike, so not much else besides a thick pair of socks and sweatpants or jeans goes on the lower half of my body.  The upper half gets a t-shirt, maybe a long-sleeve shirt and a hoodie.  Really cold days will also add a fleece vest.  All of that gets wrapped up in a one-peice riding suit (to keep the wind out) with the insulated liner in as well.  It all feels a bit cumbersome when you put it on, but once you're on the bike you don't need to move around much so it's not too intrusive.  A full-face helmet is a must as well as something to cover your neck.  If your various layers don't have a tall collar, you can spend $15 or whatever on a purpose made neck gaiter, or just use a cheap neckerchief.  You'll want warm boots and winter-specific riding gloves to finish everything off.  Obviously the more fairing your bike has the better off you'll be, but this shouldn't be a make it or break it kind of deal.

New School

Real simple, here... add electrics!  The Old School methods should be enough for most hearty people down to around freezing and for short rides in the sun.  Past that, you need to be exceptionally warm-blooded or turn to technology.  Currently I have heated gloves and socks and can vouch for both.  There is the rumor that simply adding a heated vest or jacket to keep your core warm will also keep your hands and feet warm, so if you're budgeting on buying all of that stuff anyway try starting with just the jacket and see how it does.  The only brand I've used is FirstGear (which just rebrands Warm & Safe products) and can recommend them.

That's about it - I think the next entry will go over some good riding habits to use when things get frosty.
 
Alright, folks, you're getting TWO posts today!  I know, I can't believe the luck, either.

The reason for this is an incredible new product I just caught wind of (I admit I'm a little behind the times...).  The product is from Ross Nanotechnologies and it is a superhydrophobic coating - and if you can believe  it, I didn't make that word up.  The product is being called "NeverWet".  Rather than try to explain what it means and it can do, let's have this video do the hard work for me:
As you can see, if this stuff lives up to the hype, we're looking at something that will revolutionize nearly every industry I can think of - I'll let your imagination run wild with ways it can prevent corrosion, icing, staining, and more on just about any surface, it seems.

But what we're always interested in is the possible (probable?) motorcycle applications.  Think of a bike that never gets dirty or muddy, or that can be cleaned to a shine with just water and requires no dry time.  Raw aluminum will never corrode or need to be polished on a regular basis.

Even better, think of the gear applications.  ANYTHING with a waterproof zipper can be essentially waterproof - soft bags, jackets (leather or textile), boots, etc.  Spray some on your helmet visor to keep it from fogging up and to keep road mist from limiting your visibility.  The possibilities here are just endless and I'm looking forward to what comes of this.  Check more videos of NeverWet in action.

They say that NeverWet should be available to consumers early this year.
 
You think I'm joking.  I spent last night watching the The World's Fastest Indian while giving all of my leathers a good rub down.

For those of us living north of the Mason Dixon, there are at least a couple of months where it's too cold, too windy or too damn snowy to ride with any regularity.  If you're anything like me, it only takes a few weeks of purely relying on 4-wheeled methods of transportation before you find yourself sitting on the bike in the garage and spitting all over yourself trying to make engine noises like a toddler.  Time to do something productive.

Leather.  You look good in it.  She looks really good in it.  And... it saves your ass.  It also goes bad if you don't take care of it.  So do yourself and your skin a favor and give it some needed attention during the off-season.

There are exactly 47 gazillion different products you can use on your leather (I know, coincidence, right?).  Pick one that looks good and use it, this isn't rocket science.  Most types will offer some level of waterproofness, some might renew the color or give it a nice strawberry scent, but what they'll all do give your leather some softness and subtleness back.  If left to its own devices, your second set of skins will dry out and crumple into something your girlfriend's cat will find purr-fectly soft and absorbent.  Not a fitting fate for your ol' buddy that prevents you from getting a skin graft after showing off in the canyons a little too much.

The bottom line is you've got nothing better to do (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this drivel), so go get yourself some leather lotion and get rub-a-dub'in.  Just don't let your wife catch you.