Winter Never Stops A Motorcyclist in The Golden State
California has been one of the most diverse states from the very beginning.
There is a breadth of beauty here like no where else.
Beaches? Sure we have those. About 840 miles of beach in fact.
Pine trees and snow? Yes, just visit the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the winter months.
You will notice the mist lifting off of the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
The best part about being a motorcycle junky, is experiencing new places on the back of your bike.
And here in the golden state, weather won’t stop us!
Just maintain your cheap motorcycle insurance and a warm jacket and you are on your way to one amazing adventure.
Here is a guide to the best places to travel this winter on the back of your bike.
There is no doubt that even in California, the winter months can get harsh.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy every season.
First, there are a few things you should do before getting out there on the road.
- Get the best cheap motorcycle insurance you can find. Talk to a broker who can work for you to get the best price. More than a great price, you will want to be fully covered especially in the winter months. Usually California only requires the minimum amount of insurance coverage on a motorcycle. This is the same for a car. The limits for insurance in California are: $30,000 per occurrence and $15,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage. You also need $5,000 per occurrence of property damage. But this amount of motorcycle insurance will only cover the other party involved in an accident. To feel secure when riding you will want to attain full coverage so that you and your own bike are also covered in an accident, even if it is your fault.
Full coverage insurance looks like this:
- Collision coverage- this will protect your and your own bike. Depending on the limits you purchase, you could pay for all of your bikes damages.
- Comprehensive coverage- this will cover things such as theft. It will cover damages to your bike that aren’t incurred during an accident.
- Towing and Roadside Assistance- this sort of coverage will come in handy during the winter months. If your bikes breaks down you will need a tow. It could end up saving you hundreds in the end.
- Uninsured Motorist coverage- this is a sort of coverage that makes sure your damages and expenses are paid for if the other driver does not carry the proper insurance. About 20% of drivers on the road are not properly insured. If they hit you without insurance, you could end up paying out of pocket for expenses.
- Medical coverage- you could attain medical coverage in case you get into an accident.
Necessary Gear and Protection
Even in the summer months, protection is important.
Just like the protection you buy with your cheap motorcycle insurance, your clothes are a necessity.
But during those California winters, you may need another layer.
Having a warm set of gloves or an extra neck gaiter in your saddlebag is a great idea.
Even if you are just cruising the streets of Los Angeles, the wind factor when you are on a bike can get extreme.
Here are some of the best jackets, gloves and other attire you need this winter:
Winter riding gloves:
You can find these at any motorcycle gear shop this time of year. But shopping online will save you some cash. Two of the best winter riding gloves are:
- BELSTAFF STRATUS GLOVEs. At $65 they aren’t cheap but they will last forever. They are a hybrid Construction made from cordura and leather. The leather palm makes for a great grip.
- Try the BMW GORE-TEX WINTER GLOVES: they are a whopping $119. But don’t let this scare you off, this glove is the best. With mainly nylon construction you will not break or damage these easily. They are waterproof and warm.
Winter Riding Jackets:
You can indeed wear your jacket year round. The one you have for every ride can also be suitable in the winter months.
But, if you are looking for higher density and waterproofing, it is best to buy a separate jacket for the winter months.
- Dainese Sandstorm Gore-Tex Textile Jacket is the best for rainy weather. It is comfortable and flexible. This makes it easy to manage your bike even in a large, bulky jacket. This jacket will cost you around $450-$600 depending on where you can find it. You may even look at used jackets especially if you won’t need it for very long.
- Spidi Superhydro Textile Jacket- this jacket is a little more fashion forward and will only cost you around $350. This jacket is waterproof but breathable. It also comes with a ton of storage so you can keep your personal belongings close and warm.
Winter Motorcycle Boots:
Boots are what will keep your feet warm and dry during those fun, rainy runs in the mountains.
Why not wear boots with style too?
- The Dainese TRQ Tour Boots are perfect for 3 season sport touring & commuting. They are sturdy, flexible and have great ankle support. Did I mention they look really cool as well? You will pay more for the quality. At $330, you might want to start saving your change.
- Tour Master Solution 2.0 Waterproof Boots are comfortable and reliable for the long haul. If you want a cheaper option, try these. They will only cost you around $130.
Saddle Bags And What To Put Inside
You may not want to travel cross country the winter, but in California, you are welcome to the sandy beaches and mountain curves even in the winter months.
So before you head out for a long weekend ride, get yourself a good pair of saddle bags.
Why? Well, because there are a few things that you need to keep dry when out riding.
One of those things is your registration. It is illegal in the state of California to ride without them.
You must carry your registration with you at all times. You must also have your drivers license and motorcycle insurance information too!
These are quite a few pieces of paper. You need to have a safe place to put them when riding.
Saddle bags are a great idea. If your bike doesn’t have room for saddle bags, there are a few other compartments you can add.
Here is what you might need for winter riding:
- Saddlebags. Water proof or plastic are the best for winter. You can find these from $100- $500 depending on what you are looking for and the style. They come in a few different sizes as well from small to large. Depending on what kind of bike you own, you may need a “shock cut-out” or a “non-shock cut-out”. These are the style of bag for fitting different motorcycles. Purchase studded bags or plain, buckles or no buckles. Just make sure that your paperwork and personal items are secure and free from water.
- Ziplock bag. Now, this is most likely the cheapest item you will purchase. But for those who can’t put saddle bags on their bike, most have a pop up seat. Put your registration and motorcycle insurance information in a sealed zip lock bag. Put this in the seat. This will be the most protected place for them to be stored.
Hands Down The Best Places To Ride In California
Whether you represent NorCal or SoCal, there are no rivalries when it comes to the beauty of this great state.
Riding in fog over the Golden Gate Bridge, or riding a windy, rainy forest morning, it all comes down to preference.
Here is a list of some great rides and destinations you should try this winter:
The Seline Valley Hot Springs. If you have a dirt bike, come on down and enjoy the endless dirt and sand trails around. If you have a street bike, a great destination is to travel North of Los Angeles To Bakersfield and head East into the Death Valley National Park. Winter is a great month because the rain is at a minimum and the people are scarce. Death Valley has hidden beauty all around. There are tons of places to ride and you can even camp! The north pass into the Hot Springs is newly paved so take that route. You will need a dual sport bike or a good dirt tire but on your motorcycle. Death Valley is America’s second largest National park. It also has hundreds of miles of paved open road. Take advantage of living in California and visit Death Valley on your bike.
Spanish Moss and fog surround this rich and illustrious city by the bay. There are a couple of really cool things to do here if you love motorcycles. First, visit Laguna Seca Raceway. You can see performance bikes hit top speeds. Travel from Monterey through Carmel and take the 17 mile drive right along the coast. You will see amazing mansions as well as stunning ocean views. Then stop in town for great food and wine. Stay the night and visit the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. You won’t be disappointed in the winter months. There may be some rain, but this coastal climate is fairly mild.
So this one may be more for the scooter lovers of the world. But, no matter who you are or what type of motorcycle you ride, San Fransisco is a great place to visit and ride. Head over the Golden Gate Bridge and stop in Sausalito for a coffee. Head back over and check out Pier 39 where sea lions lay out on the rocks. Try your favorite clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. You can cruise around the city in no time at all. And although there are many people, parking a motorcycle is a lot easier than parking a car. Take Conzelman Road that goes through Golden Gate Park. Here you can catch a four mile long winding and cliffy ride. You will end up at the Bonita Lighthouse.
When I say San Deigo, I am specifically talking about a ride you can do from San Diego to Baja, California. This coastal ride will take you through the southern tip of California and into Mexico. Take the 5 down to Mexico and get on the 1D heading south through Rosarito. Stop at a local beach and have an authentic Mexican taco. Head over to Papas and Beer, the famous eatery and bar. You can continue south to the 201 highway and cut over east. Head through desert territory as you make your way around back towards Tijuana by picking up the 2 North. Your visit in and out of Mexico could be a fun day trip or a weekend long one.
Northern California’s Route 36
This 140 mile trip will not only be stunning, but quiet and peaceful too! Start your journey in Red Bluff, California. It is located conveniently off of Interstate 5. Twist and turn your way East on highway 36 towards Mount Lassen National Park. End up near Lake Almanor where the Oaks meet the pines. If you want to head in the other direction, take highway 36 west from Red Bluff towards Fortuna. You will get over 100 miles of turns to navigate. It will be fun, but make sure you fill up for gas before you head off. It is quite rural in those parts of California. Keep your wits about you as your turns can get tight. You will see cattle grazing, and a different sort of life than what is typical here in the Golden State.
The Redwood Ride
Who hasn’t wanted to see the magnificent redwood trees of California? The large and stunning red and green trees are surely a sight to see. And what better way to get there than on your motorcycle. In winter, these roads can get rainy and slick. But the North Coast is forgiving and well worth the try. Start out on highway 101 and head west towards the 1. You will travel about 120 miles of well paved road up the highway 1 through forests. Turn on highway 20 and you will pass through Jackson State Park. You can then curve your way back down towards highway 101 where you began. While on this journey you will see the beaches, vast sky’s and some of the largest trees in the world. Plan for a couple stops to bust out the camera and start clicking. This will be a place to take your time and enjoy every moment. The turns and climbs will be fun for you as well.
Some may think that the snow falling over Cape Cod is their winter wonderland.
Here in California, it consists of great beaches, a foggy afternoon and cold mountain roads.
Green grass and dew in the morning sunshine can be seen from your motorcycle.
farmland on some back highway can be enjoyed on a cruise with a loved one.
A hot cup of cider after an intense winding fete can be enjoyed by any biker.
Anywhere you live in this great state, the riding possibilities are endless.
And winter can never stop the motorcycle junkies.