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THE COLD MILES

And how to do them...

I recently completed an overnighter from Melbourne to Singleton via West Wyalong – a journey of just over 1100kms.

 

It was the middle of winter, the temperature did not get over 19 degrees, and was as low as 1 degree where I laid up for the night in Ardlethan. It was 3 degrees when I rode off the next morning for West Wyalong.

 

I was riding the 2024 Rocket 3 Storm R. So no fairing and no heated handlebar grips. The GT variant gets the heated grips. So, me being able to ride was all down to my gear. Sure, it wasn’t sub-zero temperatures, but single-digit temperatures with the added 120-140km/h wind-chill factor, are still a chore to do big miles in. The longer you ride in that, the colder it seems to get.

 

You can calculate wind-chill. If the ambient temperature is 5 degrees and you’re doing 140 km/h, the wind-chill temperature you’re experiencing is minus-four. If you’re doing 100km/h, it’s minus-three.

 

If you’ve got an eight-hour day in the saddle, you’re going to be somewhat…well, seasoned by the end of the day. So good gear is clearly crucial. It sucks to be stupidly cold all day and its really not good for you, or your ability to operate a motorcycle at speed.

 

Please appreciate I am not telling you what you should wear. I am only telling you what I wear – and have been wearing for many years – when I do these long, cold rides.

 

You old warhorses would, I assume, have your own gear sorted out, but maybe some of the younger stallions might stop relying on their hot, young blood to warm them, and invest in some decent gear. And maybe live long enough to become old warhorses.

 

Motorcycle gear has come a long way since I first relied on a woollen jumper, a leather jacket, and an army great coat to keep my heart beating, and put up with blue-coloured numb hands and feet because there was no serious glove or boot options in the late 70s and throughout the 80s. And it was still pretty shit in the 90s, too. Things have got exponentially better since then, and continues to improve.

 

It has always been about layers. I assume you know that. It still is, but the advent of materials like GORE-TEX means the layers are less bulky and more comfortable, and you don’t need as many of them.

 

So here’s what I had on for this ride, and what I do almost all my long-distance winter runs in. I can dial it up a notch or so if I’m gonna do sub-zero stuff, but this is the gear for pretty much everything I expect to encounter in Australia in winter…

 

AGAINST MY SKIN…

There’s thermal underwear and then there’s Held’s 3D Skin thermal underwear. These are pretty new and utterly incredible. They’re thicker than normal thermals, but still very superhero-like in their fit.

 

HELD 3D SKIN – THE ULTIMATE IN THERMAL UNDERWEAR

 

NEXT…

I added this beaut thing from Andy Strapz, thinking it would help. It did.

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/andy-strapz-thermal-topz-review-feeling-ultrafine/

 

FOLLOWED BY…

I have a long-sleeved cotton Under Amour top, that’s thicker than a T-shirt, but thinner than a Sloppy Joe. It’s made out of cotton. Basically, any decent long-sleeved thing will do as your third layer.

 

THEN THIS…

This is one of the greatest things you can add to your winter wardrobe. I swear by it.

 

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/held-softshell-vest-review-my-soft-little-secret/

 

AND FINALLY…

 

As far as jackets go, this is as good as I have found. Several of my mates have bought them because they have seen me smiling at them while they shiver like shitting dogs.

 

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/held-imola-flash-jacket-review-flashy-as-a-flashy-thing/

 

NOW THE LEGS, YES?

 

Once again the held 3D Skin, and then just put these Held Torno II pants on. Scroll down past the jacket and you’ll find the review about the pants.

 

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/held-adventure-touring-gear-review-come-at-me-everything/

 

ON MY FEET…

 

I sold my soul to the Germans who make Daytona boots. They are the best boots you will ever own or wear on your bike. Genuinely and totally waterproof and lined with GORE-TEX. I don’t even need thermal socks. Just a pair of Explorers. I have had mine for almost five years now and there is not a loose stitch, or some kind of failure. They’re gonna cost you, but it’s money well-spent.

 

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/daytona-ac-dry-gtx-boot-review-toss-all-your-other-boots-into-the-bin/

 

 

ON MY HANDS…

 

Become a believer, like me.

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/held-cold-champ-gloves-finally-winter-gloves-worthy-of-the-name/

 

But if you need a little extra something, then just add these as well.

https://bikeme.tv/index.php/held-infinium-skin-under-glove-never-take-them-off-in-winter/

 

ON MY HEAD AND NECK…

I wear a Schuberth M1 Pro, but helmets are such subjective things. They are all as warm as each other. But it’s a good idea to add a neck sock to stop the wind finding its way down the neck of your jacket. I have any number of neck socks, including some great Held jobbies made of Wind-Stop material. Just about anything is fine, expect those stupid thick woollen scarves I’ve seen people wear. You need to be able to turn your head, stupid. Scarves do not assist you with that, even if your mum made it for you.

 

So that’s it. I can still move on the bike because the gear is not bulky. Sure, getting the man-python out of your pants for a wee is a process (and I feel vaguely sorry for girls who need to get their strides down to their knees to do number ones), but it is what it is.

 

I am sure you all have your own gear, but this is mine. I hope it assists you in some way. Oh, why is nearly all Held gear? Well, I’m of the view it’s the best gear in the world. And I have lots of gear. All the big-name brands. Some of it is good. Some of it is very good. But most of it struggles to match up to the Held stuff in terms of fit, quality, longevity, and performance. Especially the gloves. No-one makes better gloves. Just like no-one makes better boots than Daytona.

 

 

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Boris Mihailovic

Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.

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