Tearing along the breeze on your motorcycle feels like heaven. The experience will get even more out of this world if you’re riding on mountains. So, how to ride a motorcycle in the mountains properly?
Here we’ll reveal every necessary preparation and knowledge to ensure you an enjoyable and safe trip in these areas!
How To Ride A Motorcycle In The Mountains?
Preparing A Good Bike
When riding this tricky road, you must have a good brake and master your braking skills. It takes about half an hour to go down a steep pass, which will easily heat up your brakes if you don’t downshift or modulate the brake application.
***Ride A Motorcycle Safely DOWN A Mountain***
You won’t want your brakes to fade when riding down the hills, as the risk of accident increases when only the side levers are working. Thus, don’t forget to check the brakes beforehand; this part could have worn down from constant daily use.
Fluids, including coolant fluids, engine fluids, and transmission fluids, are the next things you must examine. When your vehicle acts up midway, these fluids are the things to save you from those difficulties.
Make sure your lights, blinkers, and horns work well. The sun sets very early in the mountains, meaning you’ll need those lights and devices sooner.
Unlike city routes, mountain trails are beaten, bumpy, uneven, or even muddy paths. Your bike will need durable and good tires to run in that condition for long. Therefore, find and get rid of any tire problems like inflation, cuts, or cracks.
You must prepare your bike thoroughly for this special trip; don’t skip out on small parts like chains or drive belts. The chains could have gone dry without you knowing, so give it more lube for a smooth operation.
Your drive belts can also come down with several issues. Check out for any objects embedded in them; too much tension or cuts, and fix them before real damages are done.
Despite the difference in people’s tolerance of coldness, everyone must pay more attention to keeping warm while joining this journey. The popular option is to wear a high-quality riding jacket. It is durable, abrasion resistant, and able to protect you from the cold and strong wind.
For extra warmth, add another layer of clothing beneath the jacket. We recommend turtleneck-style clothes that can absorb your body moisture. While even a full-face helmet can’t reach your neck, turtleneck shirts will cover this vulnerable part perfectly.
Riders with open-face helmets can consider going for a neoprene mask. They’re soft to the touch, breathable, and comfortable enough for them to wear throughout the ride.
Factor in raining gears, as you will never know what will happen suddenly when you’re still on your bike. A pair of raincoats and rain pants will cover your whole body and keep you warm when your jacket and underneath layers are still not enough.
If your motorcycle has no fairings, your hands will be in direct contact with the wind. It can cause numbness, pain, and cold bites. A good pair of riding gloves will put an end to this problem quickly.
Heated Clothing And Other Pieces Of Equipment
You think a traditional riding jacket is still not enough to keep your body temperature in check? Check out heated socks, gloves, and vest.
With the help of electricity, a heated vest will warm up the collar, mid-back, and under two pockets areas, which are the four heat zones in our body. Normally, these vests are plugged into the harness attached to your bike and draw electricity from the electrical system.
You can find vests with their own battery packs too. People often choose ones with their own batteries since there will be no lengthy wires and no extra electrical draw on your bike’s system.
Also, don’t worry about dangers when the garments get wet. They come with no electrocution risks as the batteries they run on are less than 10V. Plus, a heated vest will last for 10 hours once fully charged, perfectly fitting long-distance journeys.
Many other effective devices protect you from temperature change, and a heated handlebar grip and seat are worth a try. They run on the bike’s electricity system but have no wires hanging around because they’re all wired into the bike.
Plus, you can turn them on or off with ease, unlike the garments above, where you need to stop and take them off. The motorcycles with these two features are designed to handle the increased need for electricity. Thus, there’s no extra toll on the vehicle’s system if you get a bike like this.
Surely, a strong mental capacity sits on the top of the list of tips on how to ride a motorcycle in the mountains. To achieve that strength, good mental preparation is a must. You need to anticipate and visualize the problems you could encounter while traveling in this special place so that you won’t freak out or panic when they come. Here are some of the issues you can face:
- Blind corners with sheer rock face on two sides of the trail.
- Roads with no shoulders or narrow shoulders with sudden drop-offs
- Big potholes
- Lack of warnings for small corners and switchbacks.
- Tow trucks pulling RVs and camping trailers slowly.
- No protective fences on roadsides.
- Wind hitting you strongly and brutally.
- Sudden animals coming across the roads.
- Extremely narrow trails that only fit one road user at once.
- Distracted riders whose eyes are on their surroundings, not on what’s coming ahead.
The general rule to avoid these sudden events is to stay alert and focus on riding. While not every road in the mountain is full of hazards, dangers can come from anywhere at any time, so you can’t really let your guard down. If you are too tired to concentrate on the road, listen to your body and let it rest for a while.
Off The Road Tip
Start From The Outside
What will you do when you face a corner when riding mountain trails? Let us reveal a small safety tip in this situation. Well, you should start entering the corner from the outside tire track.
Specifically, you start at the right tire track if it is a corner to the left. For a corner to the right, you enter it from the left tire track. With narrow roads, you can ride on the part for the oncoming traffic to corner it better.
Doing this gives you a better view of the road further ahead, knowing what traffic is oncoming to avoid them.
Break The Trip Into Small Legs
Sitting on the vehicle in the same position for too long can be really exhausting. It takes a toll on your back and leg muscles, so it’s necessary that you break your long-distance journey into smaller chunks and take a break in between. During these intervs, you can stretch your body or do some simple exercise to reduce strain and numbness.
These are also precious times for your bike to rest. Examine faulty parts and carry out maintenance if needed in these rest times to prepare the bike for the next legs.
Different brakes will be of help in different contexts. If you’re riding upwards, feature the rear brakes during turns. It will make the bike more stable and open the throttle while you’re turning.
However, the tip above won’t apply for downward slides. In these parts, your rear wheel doesn’t carry any weight. Therefore, even a slight force on the rear brake can stop the wheel from turning. That leaves you with the front brake, which is a wiser choice in this case.
Ride In Low Gear
Riding upwards is inevitable in the mountains. At these times, your bike has to work more to carry you upward, so keeping it in the right gear is very important. Choose the wrong gear, and the vehicle might shut down, so you’ll fall down steep roads.
When riding up a hill, it’s better to ride in lower gear than traveling on planes. Oppositely, the rpm has to be higher than normal. You should keep the rpm below the maximum power point the engine can make, though. Combine low gear and high rpm, and you’ll have maximum power whenever you need it.
***Tips Ride A Motorcycle UP A Mountain***
Know Your Route
First, you need to check whether there were any avalanches or landslides, which will result in a closed road. You won’t want to travel hundreds of kilometers just to have your plan ruined by a roadblock.
Before getting on a challenging trip, things will be easier if you get familiar with the route you’re going to take. Even when the route to the destination only includes one road, doing that will boost confidence.
You won’t have to constantly check the GPS or the map, allowing more time to take in the mountainous scenery and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
What To Look Out For When Riding In The Mountains?
Why do we emphasize so much on keeping warm while traveling in mountainous areas?
In these places, the temperature drops very fast. For every 1000 meters you go higher, the temperature will drop from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius (or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit colder for each 1000 feet higher in the US units of measurement). On top of that, you’ll experience riding in the fog, clouds, and rains, making the temperature drop even more noticeable and hard to quickly adapt.
Let’s take an example to get this clearer. Imagine you’re at Highwood Pass Loop, one of Canada’s go-to mountain rides. Riding to its highest point, you’re 2,206 meters above sea level.
If the weather when you start the ride is sunny, 18-degrees-Celcius cool, and comfortable, it will change into a 1-degree-Celsius cold with small snowflakes when you reach its peak.
In fact, snow is something to expect when you go very high over sea level. The problem is the normal motorcycle’s tire is not really for winter use. While many special tires are designed for winter use, they’re not that popular.
Plus, in the journey, snow is just a small part; most of the time, you ride in the normal cool air of the mountainous area. Therefore, carrying an extra pair of winter tires can be cumbersome.
Our advice in this situation is to be thorough with your clothes and repairing tools; be careful and take it easy when traveling in snow.
Altitude And Air Pressure
Likewise, the amount of oxygen in the air gets less the higher you go.
This condition leads to the shortage of oxygen that the engine can take in to burn fuel, making your vehicle run rich. Running rich is when there is more fuel in the air-fuel mixture than the ideal amount, resulting in the bike consuming more fuel than normal.
Thus, learning how to adjust and balance this air fuel mixture before you set off is necessary.
The bikes with injected fuel might function without serious issues; however, this doesn’t mean the system isn’t affected. The imbalanced mixture of air and fuel can make the vehicle run a bit weaker than usual. Carbureted engine seems to bear the brunt of this problem. Some riders have even seen smoke coming from the tailpipes at high altitudes.
Wild Animals Encounters And Tips To Survive
This is a unique thing you’ll never see in city routes. As you’re riding, elk, deer, sheep, wolf, or whatever wild animals living in the forest can randomly join the traffic.
Many scenarios can happen when it comes to wild animals in mountainous areas. It can be a group of deer crossing the road, paying no attention. It also can be a wolf jumping out of nowhere and coming running at you.
There are no specific rules to confront with every species of animal you encounter; nevertheless, you have got some advice for you.
First, you should take some time to study animal behavior. This way, you’ll understand what signs they’re giving through their movements. From that, you can make wise decisions to avoid violent progression.
If you’re going to drop a gear and blow by the animals, you have to ensure that the animals are standing still. There might be hidden animals behind the bush that you can’t see, which will get startled by your engine sound and run in your way.
Also, avoid traveling in the mountains at night, as this is the active time of the day for many wild creatures.
Adventuring in mountainous areas has never been an easy task with all the difficulties in terrain, altitude, temperature, air, and many more factors. Still, nothing is impossible, and the reward for those who make it is always sweet and worth it.
Apply our tips on how to ride a motorcycle in the mountains and create more unforgettable moments in your life!