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First off, you are going to have to prepare for major windchill, unless its a very warm Iowa day and the ride is short.

Gloves are not enough. Windshields help but don't solve it all. A heavy scarf, neck wrap, or balaclava will help head and neck chilling. Traction is going to be a major problem unless roads are dry and even then the increased grit of sanded roads can cause problems as can localized iced spots on otherwise dry roads. You can do it - its just a matter of how bad you want to and how often under what conditions. I ride all winter in NM, but not every day and in better climatic conditions than anywhere in the winter of Iowa. Even with that said, some rides are painful. Tom
 

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It takes me five min at most to get to class but i was planning on bundling up




PB, warm clothes, and leave early.

1.) Understand that cold slows your reaction time considerably, yes, even in five mins. Your bikes reaction time too. Also, if your bike sits out all night (or day) check all moving parts to ensure they aren't frozen in one position. Like your brake/throttle/clutch/turn signal etc . . . . .

2.) Way too many people don't feel they need to clear thier windshields before leaving home, they won't see you, so you better plan for them and be vigilant. Also, your goggles/winshield/visor will want to fog up, now you can't see them not see you.

3.) Leave early.

4.) Don't get in a hurry, you need to allow extra braking time, not just for you, but for that guy in front of you that didn't clear his windshield and has to stop quick resulting in a slide, forcing you to stop quick resulting in a slide/fall, while the guy behind you that also didn't clear his windshield runs into you because of the aforementioned quick stop/slide. Don't worry about his guilt for hitting you, he will explain it all away by saying that most magic of all excuses "I didn't see him!"

5.) Leave early.

6.) Wear bright (reflective) clothing. Yeah, I hate it too, however, in winter, you will be traveling exclusively in the dark - unless you schedule all your classes for mid day. If you really hate it (like I do) Aerostich sells reflective tape that is black until exposed to light then lights up silver/yellow. It is pretty cool.

7.) Install the brightest light bulbs you can find in your bike. Do a search, there are some good threads. (Qwerty has done several on lighting options, and LzrdBrth did a great one on maximzing the reflectivity of your tail/turn signals.

8.) Leave early.

9.) Pick your lane carefully, bad roads end up being three lanes even more than in summer. Make sure you line up where you don't have to cross that rine of crusty ice/slop in the center of your lane in an emergency. Really important to have your excape routeS planned way ahead of time. Oh, and that cool stuff they spray on the roads to keep it from freezing does a great job, but it also eats chains/sprockets and any other part that doesn't have a great protective coating. Plan on washing her when weather permits.

10.) Have fun. I ride all year and wouldn't dream of giving it up, but, I do take extra precautions - like leaving early.



Bag
 

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Plenty can happen in that little 5 minute window. The usual drive isn't going to be bad. It's the time you have to swerve away from someone's muffler laying in the middle of the road, grabbing the brakes for an emergency stop, other vehicles sliding around and not paying attention, light turning to dark at 4:30pm, and the weather changing from when you get there to when you leave that are the major concerns.



I legalized a Honda Big Red 3 wheeler to drive to campus when I was in college and the front row parking and gas savings was great but come winter time it sat in the garage.
 

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Back in 1965 to 68, I went to Illinois State University in Normal Illinois. I rode in to class when ever the streets were clear. I was used to riding a bicycle then also. The tires are a much improvement on what I had. You get used to cold. It was either freeze along time, or a few minutes on the bike. It was only a 90cc Honda.



The Industrial arts building, which was my major let me park in between the post of the instructors as long as it was not in the way of them getting in and out of their cars. Seems like I rode it almost everyday, but that was a long time ago to remember.
 

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The folks above have offered up some good suggestions and tips.



My tip is just ride. You will figure out what works and what doesn't work for you. In town roads will be clear and dry most of the time in winter. Don't suggest town riding if the snow is falling, things get slippery very fast!



Good luck! Hope to see a January update on how things are going.
 

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rmartin, We probably passed on the campus or lived in the same dorm. I was at Ill State Normal from 63 until Jan 65 when I transferred to U of Ill to finish my BA. I benefited a great deal from those years, and I'm sure you feel the same way. What a small world. Tom
 

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I rode 5 miles to and from work, year around, in SE Michigan, in temperatures as low as -12°F for seven years. But on a craigslist mountain bike, not a motorcycle. Motorcycle was to dang cold! Bicycle kept me much warmer and in better shape.
 

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My standard line is my bicycle is harder to start in the winter, but the heater works on the bicycle works better than that on the TW once the bicycle is down the road a bit. I often carry an extra pair of gloves (somehow and maybe its just pschological, stopping and changing gloves makes my hands feel warmer and give me dexterity needed to operate levers more effectively. I use a polypropylene underglove inside a lobster glove (semimitten) on the coldest days, and have been known to use the catalytic hand warmer packets (but they don't do much good).
 

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I went to Calif. State University at Hayward in the late 60's and rode a Honda 160 everyday rain or shine, hot or cold. I hated the rain. The two time I went down on the asphalt was in the rain.
 

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peruano, I started school at ISU Sept 1964. I think I got the Honda s90 in the fall of 1965. Not really sure, I rode a bicycle up til I got the Honda.
 

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Seems like we need a sticky on dressing for cold weather. The basics are really quite simple: dry skin, insulation, and wind proofing. The details are variable due to variations in humidity, temperature, and wind chill. Needs for a short commute are quite different than needs for a long pleasure ride in cold weather. On 5-minute commutes the battery needs all the power from the alternator it can get, so electrics are out. Also, most motorcycle gear is manufactured inside out, with the waterproof and windproof layer against the skin and gobs of insulation on the outside going to waste. I'm generally against liners in gear as they waste much of the potential for insulation and ventilation. Also, adding and removing liners changes the fit of the gear, and gear should fit properly to provide impact protection properly. I will tolerate a high-tech, thin liner such as Olympia uses, but the common vinyl liners that come with most gear are horrid winter or summer. Throw them away!



Add lightweight wicking undergarments under your street clothes to keep your skin dry. You'll be just as comfortable indoors as out with lightweight wicking undergarments. Heavyweight undergarments will just make you sweat indoors, which will make you cold outdoors. You can spend $15 each piece at Walmart or $80 each piece at the yuppie outfitter stores. Doesn't seem to matter all that much.



Wear your regular summer gear over your street clothes for insulation. Avoid 100% cotton. The air spaces in the mesh, armor, and textiles of gear allow good air movement around your body, redistributing heat and moisture from warm and damp areas to cool and dry areas, limiting any build-up of perspiration that would turn to ice in a breeze, and the air spaces provide good insulation. Win-win!



Invest in high quality rain gear with an emphasis on wind protection, ventilation options, and durability. Avoid insulation as its presence will quickly eat up storage space and limit the gear's versatility in mild weather. I wear the same Nelson Rigg rain gear year around, 7*F to 112*F. I've had mine for years, incuding 46,000 miles when Tdub was my only transportation. Rain gear is an excellent windbreaker, and turns everything underneath, especially armor, mesh, and textile, into insulation. In all but the coldest weather, a rain suit can be replaced with a $25 synthetic jacket from Walmart, sized to fit over your gear jacket.



For your feet, consider a pair of waterproof high-top work boots a bit too big. Tight footwear limits circulation, causing cold feet. Wear wicking socks and synthetic thermal socks. If you prefer safety toes and shanks for protection, seek the composite type as steel wicks heat out of your feet at a rapid pace.



For your hands, consider wicking glove liners, your normal gloves, and an effective means of blocking ALL the wind off your hands. Hippo Hands or boots as shown in the pic above will get the job done. Brush guards will not. Hippo Hands are overkill and expensive, boots look funny. Make a set of wind guards yourself. One can use a thin piece of lexan for shape sewn into any waterproof fabric. I've made a temporary set from gallon milk jugs and duct tape that worked quite well, actually. I've also made some from a cheap polytarp and duct tape, shaped with a frame of piano wire. Cheap and effective, but ugly.



For your head, try a full-face helmet. A small cork used to make lamps not scratch tables stuck between the bottom of the visor and chinpiece cures most fogging problems. On a 5-minute commute, a bit of chin and cheek may be exposed and a bit uncomfortable, but exposure time won't be long enough to be a health threat. One can always add a neck gaitor if necessary.



Using this system, when you arrive at your destination, strip off the rain gear and wear your regular gear inside.



If you plan to ride some distances, adding an additional layer of insulation head to toe will contribute to comfort. I'm partial to 100% polyester fleece and acrylic knits as additional insulation because they are reasonably priced, stay effective when wet, and are wash-and-wear. Adding heated gloves, grips, and/or socks, but TWs are not blessed with a plethora of amps, so those options are limited. A few dollars of chemical hand warmers in boots and gloves will take you a long way.
 

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Go to school in South Florida or check out Bike Nashbar or Performance for cold weather base layers and other gear.
 

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If its a five minute ride its a ten minute walk don't get yourself killed becoming a biker. I've been riding for eleven years and have found my TW to be the worst thing I have ever ridden on snow and ice. Also cars are not looking for you in the winter, and to be fair cell phones were not around in 63 and 65. Alright thats my two cents let the hacking begin.
 

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If its a five minute ride its a ten minute walk don't get yourself killed becoming a biker. I've been riding for eleven years and have found my TW to be the worst thing I have ever ridden on snow and ice. Also cars are not looking for you in the winter, and to be fair cell phones were not around in 63 and 65. Alright thats my two cents let the hacking begin.






I wear my fieldsheer 1 piece suit when riding in the cold/snow. Note with stock tires the TW's manners in the snow are NOT very confidence inspiring. Between the lack of traction, and that of cars around you I personally wouldnt make a habit of commuting on one with snow on the ground.
 
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