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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
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Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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There are a number of people who've ridden in the arctic in winter. Here's one... Ride up for Autism.ca I also recall seeing a Traveller's story on the HUBB about a rider who went across Siberia in the winter, but I can't find it just now. One key thing to keep in mind is that many parts of the arctic are dark 24 hours a day for a considerable part of the winter season. Get good lights!!
From my experience (I live in Canada , not in artic, but it'is -15 celcius today and there is already (december 18 ) 165 cm of snow here) , I would never ride with standard tire on snow again. I would try to find one with metal pins or made it myself with screw. It's juste an idea I never made it.
Distance are huge in canadian artic, I don't know how long those type of tire can keep a resonable grip.
also think about the difficlty to start your engin at minus 40
It's Christmas and no snow here.
I can't imagine riding in the arctic I nearly got hyperthermia crossing the mountains one December in Saudi. At fuel stations they thought I was mad when I sat on the floor and hugged the engine.
the biggest danger is the creeping hypothermia, your hands feel cold, initially you keep stopping to warm them up.
after a while you leave it longer between hand warming sessions.
eventually they don't hurt, so you continue. a bit longer. By this time you could well be hypothermic without realising. I admit to not having any heated equipment, but with a 50w genny, it wasn't an option.
The problem is the concentration goes, on icy roads, with hgv's this could easily be fatal. I had a close shave at -36c in scandanavia, luckily there was a hotel nearby to thaw out in.
be very careful.
Sound advice there from JoeC90. It's by all means doable to ride in the winter, but you must above all be prepared to cope with unexpected events. What if your bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere in -30 centigrades? In any case it's a thrill to ride in the winter time. Sheer fun, and the fellow bikers you meet along the way are every bit as crazy as yourself
In Norway, many winter riders put these babies into their Pirelli MT21's or other knobbly tires:
They are to screw into your tire, and comes in 18 and 30 mm length - the latter usable only on thick ice/snow. In the spring they can be taken out of the tire and re-used later. They are really durable - they tried them on tires on a large tractor and ran it extensively on bare asphalt. None of the spikes came out.
Yep, I got the shivvvvvers and because I had to get back to go to work I started taking risks and now I look back I should have stopped. Your mind plays tricks, I would ride over one mountain and pray for the road to drop down into the next valley where it was warmer and all the time I am thinking, this can't be happening, I'm in Saudi Arabia.
The Arctic ? Noooooo way, not for me anyway.
There are few roads in the Canadian arctic, most of them are very remote and heavily used by trucking convoys when the ground is frozen. This makes for dark, low visibility, dangerious roads. It can easily get -40 to -50 (not including wind chill) so getting lost or stuck can cost you your life.
That being said, if you do try such a feat, bring the proper gear, many people use a motorcycle side car to keep the rubber down. I do a lot of winter trail riding up north, and it doesnt take long for the hands and feet to go completely numb...
These might help you to avoid cold fingers. However, I'm not sure what to call them - winter handlebar muffs? Anyway, I use them all the time during winter, and they keep my hands warm. I can even go with thinner gloves to get more handlebar "feeling" and still be very warm. Coupled with handlebar heaters, you can't go wrong, really.
Several Norwegian bike accessories dealers have these available for ca 40 euro incl VAT, e.g. www.mc-utstyr.no.
Thank you all very much for the sound advise and links to great equipment and resources.
I am still considering my options but am leaning toward a trip to the Canadian Arctic probably in early April. I want to ride the ice road to Tuk from Inuvik. I use to race sled dogs and have slept out often at -20F so feel comfortable with the cold but do want to equip my bike to so as to stay verticle.
Anyway thanks again for your sound advise and for taking the time to respond to this thread.
I don't see a reason why you couldn't make it. Have you consider the snowmobile option ? It's very popular here, if millions of peoples have fun to ride there snowmobile all day long here, there is no reason why with similar clothing you condn't make it on 2 weels. Exept maybe the fact that riding a snowmobile is a lot more an active ridind tant you a alway have to apply a lot of force to steer in the snow in a normaly smaler trails with more curves than a road and riding a motorcycle at the opposit you have to restrain your mouvement to keep you in balance.
don't forget to chage your oil for a winter one, a more fluid one in low temperature help your engine in cold starting.
(p.s. here minus 15 is nothing , there is an avrage of 10 days per winter with temperature below -30, but at this time of the year 1,75m of snow (10 is actualy falling with 80 km/h wind ) is a lot for this time of the year, we usualy got 3,20 m /year ) and the winter start only officialy december 21)
Thanks, Frank. Good advise regarding changing the oil to a higher viscosity. I think if I go in early April that the weather will still be cold but probably around -20c. I want to go before the ice is off the Mackenzie so I can ride the river to Tuk. Otherwise I would probably would not go at all. I have spent a lot of time in Alaska and lived there for several years. In fact had a racing dog team for several years.
Also, I from what I hear the heated clothing available today is excellent.
For what it's worth, Landsailor, you may want to have a look at Dave Barr's story/book about travelling across Siberia in the winter (finally remembered his name) . Look in the Traveller's Story section.
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