Winter riding: Clothing. I've had a few new Sydney Netriders ask me about how to keep warm on the bike during the winter months. So I thought I would put up some suggestions and a few tricks learned over the years. Some of them might seem a little odd, but I listened to older riders when I was starting out and their advice always stood me in good stead. Keeping warm: The blood flows close to the skin around the neck, wrist and ankles. I normally find if I can keep these parts of me warm and dry I feel a lot more comfortable. The chest also takes the brunt of the cold wind flowing over you, so that's another part of the body that needs to be kept insulated. Firstly it's worth noting that leather does not keep you warm. In the summer it's ok, in fact it's often too hot. But once the temperature starts to drop a leather jacket is not going to be warm enough without some other piece of kit under or over it. For those who can afford it the obvious answer is simply to go to a motorcycle shop and buy a Dri-Rider winter suit, the jacket and pants. (or a similar brand of clothing). I always buy one size larger than I would normally wear, this allows you to wear thicker clothes underneath. Always buy one size larger pants, bike pants are notorious for riding up your leg if they fit perfectly, before you actually sit on the bike. To keep my neck warm I simply wear a bandana, it keeps the wind off my neck and I often do up the helmet strap over the bandana so that it stays underneath my chin. A scarf will also work, I only use the bandana because I don't like the bulk of a scarf. NOTE: The scarf needs to be wrapped once around the neck and then both ends tucked right down inside the jacket, then when the jacket is done up there is no chance of the scarf ends coming out, blowing around as you ride, and perhaps obscuring vision, or worse still getting caught on something you pass by! Some bike shops now sell neck warmers, but again they are too bulky for me. Some bike shops also sell thin balaclavas to wear under the helmet. My typical clothing for a day of winter riding is as follows: Dri-Rider jacket and pants. Bandana. Fleece vest over a thick jersey or sweatshirt. T-Shirt. (often a long sleeved one). Cord Jeans. Winter bushwalking socks. Heavy duty combat or bike boots. Gore-Tex ski gloves. You can also buy and wear thermal t-shirts, thermal socks and thermal long johns. If I do something like the Casper rally at Lithgow or the TTT rally at Wombeyan Caves I do wear the thermal gear. One of coldest places I ever rode was in Northern Ireland, in the summer. The wind along the coastal areas was incredibly cold. The wind chill factor is what makes the big difference when riding in the winter. Walking around you'll be fine, once you start riding things cool down quickly. Gloves: For me it's Gore-Tex ski gloves. Even they don't keep my hands warm after a couple of hours on the bike, but it?s bearable. Some motorcycle specific gloves now come with various gore-tex or similar linings. Some bike shops now sell padded muffs that fit over the handlebars of the bike, keeping the wind and rain completely off of your hands. The majority of UK bike couriers always use them. As do many ATV'ers in America. If it's raining and you have low handlebars you will need to slip the gloves under the cuff of the jacket, this stops the rain flowing down the sleeves and getting inside the gloves. Boots: I hear there are now bike boots on the market that are 100% waterproof. None of mine ever have been. But if you feel better with motorcycle specific bike boots then that?s what you should be looking at. If it looks like I'll be riding in the rain all day I just pull on a pair of Blundstone PVC gum boots. (Also available now with steel toecaps.) They are 100% waterproof and with thermal or bushwalking loop pile socks warm enough for hours on the bike. A couple of mining company suppliers now make reinforced and protective gum boots, with toe, ankle, heel and shin protection. I'm looking at getting a pair of these shortly. They retail for about a $120. I also have a pair of combat boots that with dubbing (and/or) waterproofing treatment stay dry for some hours. Alternatives for those who cannot afford any or all of the above. I understand that biking is expensive and that not everyone, especially new riders, can always afford to keep paying out for summer, intermediate and winter gear. Lets assume you have a pair of bike boots, bike gloves, Draggin Jeans, and a leather jacket. When I started riding we had no winter specific Dri-Rider type gear. Waxed cotton Belstaff's was all you could get. I still see a lot of UK riders doing as follows? Go to a Disposal store and buy one of the European winter army jackets/parkas. Buy one large enough to fit comfortably over your leather jacket. The heavy duty ones from the UK or Europe will keep you warm on the bike. They are not that waterproof however. They sell for between $40 to $80 dollars when last I looked. They do not need to be protective in terms of a get-off, you will still have your leather jacket underneath. But they are well padded and that cannot but help. A pair of corduroy or thick cargo pants, worn over the top of your Draggins will also add extra warmth. For rain gear the cheap ($40) Dri-Rider rubber unlined rain pants and jackets do a wonderful job of keeping the water out, they also keep you warm because the cold wind is not cutting thru your leather jacket and your Draggins. Emergency insulation: A newspaper wrapped around your chest works amazingly well. Newspaper insulates. Heavy duty garbage bags can be utilized as a vest or rain pants. Just cut holes in the appropriate places. Supermarket type plastic bags, pulled over socks, before putting boots on, will keep your feet dry if your boots are not waterproof. Rubber dishwashing gloves, worn under leaking bike gloves will keep your hands dry and a little warmer. I have worn industrial, acid resistant, rubber gloves over my summer bike gloves when riding all day in the rain. A bit bulky they do keep hands 100% dry. Motorcycle shops also sell rubber slip-on gum boots that you pull over the top of your bike boots. They do work well but the soles often wear out quickly with continual day to day use. Extra info: If you can afford it, and want to be very warm, and very dry, nothing beats a Ski-mobile suit from North America or Canada. You can also buy electrically heated vests and gloves from some suppliers, they either plug into a power-point on the bike or run off batteries. Warm as toast all day. Some Euro bike shops also sell electrically heated bike boots (The Swedish Army uses them in the winter.) I have heard good reports on them, but they are obviously not cheap. Woolen clothing retains body heat even when wet, anything cotton does not. It?s why Sherpa's will refuse to take you hiking in Nepal in the winter if you insist on wearing that material. You may notice in disposal stores that all Russian Army winter clothing is wool based, even the shirts. It pays to look at what people in cold temperature climes wear in their winters. I knew a guy who used to wear a wet-suit vest and pants under his Dri-Rider gear, he swore it kept him warm all day. I have not tried it myself. That?s about all I can think of at the moment. If anyone can add to the list please feel free.