Aside from the obvious about ice and snow,
riding in winter means riding in the dark. I wear a reflective vest over my black clothing.
LED rear lights are a good idea, as are light surging devices to make you more visible. Don't drive beyond your headlights--low beams. It is scary to dim for somebody and be in the dark, flying low.
Colder weather means condensation on your full face windscreen, so buy a defogging agent, or better yet, the Fog City insert that really does work, by providing a double pane of plastic, or be prepared to ride with the screen partially opened. That can really hurt your teeth and dry your eyes when it's cold.
Wind proofing your clothing is much more important, as is having a large windscreen that protects the hands as well as the chest and face.
Electric gloves make life worth living, again. No other glove I have tried kept me even close to comfortable...my electrics are sometimes too warm, so I have to turn them down or sweat. Imagine sweaty hands on a bike in the winter!
I use a fairly cheap rainsuit. Heavy vinyl, snap closure, bright yellow, no hood (it interferes with your helmet and catches rain. Nothing makes you quite as miserable as riding through a deep puddle and having massive quantities of water jump into your shoes. If your socks get wet you will be miserable all day, so either have a change of socks or wear waterproof boots or chaps.
When I commute to work I tend to ride like I drive. In a hurry. That is the most dangerous thing I can do, so I make a concerted effort to leave ten or more minutes early and drive in a calm, sedate, predictable manner, with little lane changing. I have a throttle boss/cramp buster that makes the miles much more comfortable.
Since my deer encounter a few days ago I have taken to closely following midsized trucks or large cars, the idea being that they will illuminate the road better and hit the deer for me. I stay close so deer are not tempted to cross behind them and in front of me. I find that deer are less common on interstate highways, and anyway, I prefer the controlled traffic, one way lanes, and controlled access. Big semis will blow you around, especially about fifty feet in their rear, where the wakes rejoin. Avoid that distance.
Bring a half cover for the bike. You will get rain or frost on it, especially if you work the night shft. A full cover will melt against the pipes. Check to see if your insurance will cover commuting...some don't without your specifying.
In closing, count on taking longer. do not drive like a kid on a bike in the summer. Passing, lane changing, and frequent acceleration will make you a hazard. You are doing this to save money, not to be a cool biker dude.
My three cents worth.
'95 Kawasaki Concours
Sold my Vulcan
I do LOTS
of dumb stuff. Riding is only one of them.
Last edited by jimkonst; 11-13-2009 at 07:21 AM.