Motorcycle Rides

Reasons California is Ideal for Motorcycle Rides During the Winter

Reasons California is Ideal for Motorcycle Rides During the Winter

Known also as “The Golden State,” California is a coastal region that borders the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by several deserts and beaches sprawled across its landscape. During the summer, it is a vacationer’s paradise. This state is especially kind to motorcyclists who are looking for new places to cut loose. There is no shortage of roads and destinations which you can travel to on your motorcycle. Even when the seasons change, this does not diminish California’s appeal to motorcyclists.

Winter is considered off-season for motorcyclists since the weather usually makes it too dangerous to ride their vehicles. In California, the only changes you will see are a slight drop in temperature and cloudier mornings. Due to its desert-like climate, California rarely sees rainfall throughout the year. And the only times you will find snow is on top of the mountain ranges. You will not have to worry about winter road hazards while on the highway unless the temperature drops to an unnatural low. But such occurrences rarely ever happen. Overall, California is left largely unchanged which is great news for motorcyclists.

This article will go into further detail regarding why California is a good place for motorcyclists to visit, especially if they are looking to spend time with your motorcycle during the winter.

2. Climate & Temperature

A normal winter day in California starts with a cloudy sky during the early hours of the morning. Keep in mind that a dense cloud cover does not indicate it is going to rain. As the sun rises, the warmth of the sun will cause most of the clouds to disperse and begin to gradually warm up the ground. Regardless of whether you are in an urban, desert, or mountain area, there will be condensation collecting on the local greenery. The condensation will eventually dry up so long as the sun remains visible throughout the day. Due to California being a southwestern state, it is relatively close to the equator. The climate will typically be cool and moist due to lingering humidity in the air with the exception of the mountain ranges and the northernmost regions.

During the winter, the average temperature ranges from 39°F to 80°F. It is rare for the temperature to drop below 32°F or below freezing. The coldest times of the day will be before sunrise and after sunset. Even though you do not have to worry about the likelihood of snow, you should still wear appropriate clothing to keep you warm. Put on layers of long-sleeved yet durable clothing such as jackets, biker pants, etc. which will prevent body heat from escaping, provide resistance against wind and rainfall, and limit harm to your body in the unlikely event of an accident. Put on padded yet flexible riding gloves and thick soled boots to allow both ease of movement and lower your chances of injuring your extremities if you are thrown from your ride. If the day is relatively sunny, the temperature can become pleasantly warm by the late afternoon. You may not have to wear all your layers during this time. However, while riding your motorcycle, the wind rushing by will cause the temperature to drop significantly compared to the rest of your surroundings.

3. Scenery

While you should always keep your eyes on the road, that does not mean you cannot admire the views you happen to pass by. California is renowned for its beautiful beach fronts from Redondo Beach to Huntington Beach. Even if you do not stop to wander on the sand, you can still watch the waves crashing and smell the salty ocean air. Keep in mind that there may be some heavy traffic when passing through towns in close proximity to the coast.

You will have the best panoramic views when traveling through the deserts. Because of the wide and flat landscapes, you will be able to spot other vehicles and landmarks more easily in the distance. While miles of barren land covered in sand and dry vegetation may seem boring, you might be surprised what will catch your eyes. Cacti, desert animals, and national parks let you appreciate the subtle beauties of the wastelands when you are on the move or taking time off of your motorcycle.

If you prefer to be surrounded by dense forests, you might want to try riding up some mountain ranges. While going up a higher altitude may mean dealing with some snow buildup and slick roads, you have a gorgeous overview of the land and cities below in the distance. If you pass through valleys, you can better appreciate how high the mountains are and maybe pass by some natural marvels such as waterfalls or rivers.

4. Winding Roads

A car would be a safer means of transportation, but motorcyclists do not choose a two-wheeled vehicle because they want to play it safe. No motorcyclist is reckless enough to initiate risky behavior that increases the chances of being thrown off his/her seat. But there is this mix of excitement and fear knowing you are vulnerable while on your motorcycle. If you cannot keep your balance or clear a tight turn, it could end very badly for you. Being able to safely maneuver on a motorcycle takes a lot of skill and experience.

An exhilarating challenge for most motorcyclists is to navigate winding roads. It piques their curiosity, wanting to know what is just around the next bend. It also allows them to be active since they constantly have to shift their weight as they follow the direction of the road.

As luck would have it, California has plenty of winding roads for motorcyclists to choose from. You could go around in a wide loop that passes through both cities and wilderness. You could hug the walls of cliffs as you travel on top of narrow mountain roads. Based on how long you have been a rider, you can pick the roads that fit the level of difficulty you are comfortable with. If you feel anxious, pick a road that is closer to urban areas and is more straight in its path. If you feel you are ready, try out a road that has plenty of angles and turns to keep you on your toes.

5. Motorcycle Luggage

Because you do not have to deal with the road hazards that plague more temperate states during the winter, your choice in luggage does not necessarily have to be limited to those whose design is focused on being waterproof. Nearly all motorcycle luggage is built to be durable and weather-resistant. The determining factors for which one you may want to choose include storage size, mounting position on the motorcycle, and aesthetic appeal.

  • Motorcycle Saddlebags

    Motorcycle saddlebags are the standard choice for most motorcyclists. You can pick either soft or hard saddlebags based on which materials you would prefer your luggage to be made of. They are easy to mount as they can be bolted on, slanted, or thrown over your motorcycle’s chassis.

  • Motorcycle Sissy Bar Bags

    Motorcycle sissy bar bags have multiple pockets of varying size throughout their design. They come with plenty of straps to help keep them secure to the back of your motorcycle and can be carried over your shoulders when hiking.

If you need further reasoning for why motorcycle sissy bar bags are a good choice, check out this article
  • Motorcycle Swing Arm Bags

    Motorcycle swing arms bags can be placed near the exhaust pipes or rear wheel shocks. It has plastic reinforcement to only help keep its shape but also prevent it from heating up due to its close proximity to the exhaust.

If you are looking for a motorcycle swing arm bag suited to a specific motorcycle model, this article should help you find the right one.

  • Motorcycle Tank Bags

    Motorcycle tank bags have a magnetic base which helps it to stay on your motorcycle’s tank. The top pocket is transparent so that you can see the directions on your phone and touch the screen while keeping it secure.

If you want to acquire a motorcycle tank bag, here are a few suggestions in this article for each type to help you figure out your choice

  • Motorcycle Windshield Bags

    Motorcycle windshield bags can be placed right behind your windshield, resting on top of your handlebars. Because it is right in front of you, it is easy for you to access any personal belongings. They are padlocked to help keep the flap(s) down.

  • Motorcycle Trunks

    Motorcycle trunks can be attached to most sissy bars, luggage racks, or back rests. The inside is held together by a combination of a metal frame and plastic shell. They are easy to mount thanks to the straps, buckles, and hooks.

  • Motorcycle Tool Bags

    Motorcycle tool bags can be fitted on the front of your motorcycle, right below the headlight(s). It is big enough to carry your small hand-held tools like your screwdriver, wrench, etc.

  • Motorcycle Handlebar Bags

    Motorcycle handlebar bags can be positioned on the T-bar or below the headlight(s) like the tool bags. This allows you to keep your arms fully extended and make it easy for you to access any personal belongings.

If you are looking for a motorcycle handlebar bag suited to a specific motorcycle model, this article should help you find the right one

  • Motorcycle Backpacks

    Motorcycle backpacks are what you wear when your motorcycle has run out of all available space on its chassis. The shell design is aerodynamic so that it does not pull you when driving against high-speed winds.

  • Motorcycle Tail Bags

    Motorcycle tail bags have rain covers just in case you have to deal with rare showers. They also have a reflective surface that makes it easier for other drivers to spot you.

If you need further reasoning to convince you that motorcycle tail bags are the best choice, check out this article

  • Motorcycle Seat Luggage

    Motorcycle seat luggage can be slung over the rear where you would normally seat a passenger. They have top handles and shoulder straps so it is easy to carry it if necessary.

  • Motorcycle Roll Bags

    Motorcycle roll bags can be used to house your gear, clothing, etc. that cannot fit on the rest of your motorcycle’s chassis. They work best in combination with other saddlebags and sissy bar bags.

  • Motorcycle Solo Bags

    Motorcycle solo bags involve putting only a single compact piece of luggage on the exhaust pipes or rear wheel shocks. The intention is to reduce extra weight that could throw you off balance while you are riding.

6. Winter Motorcycle Destinations

Route 66:

Distance: 315 miles

Also known as “The Mother Road,” a large section of this multistate road cuts through the Mojave Desert, the smallest and driest of the American deserts. As you travel this route, you might want to stop in San Bernardino to see the First Original McDonald's Museum. If you have an interest in exotic art, check out Oro Grande to see “orchards” of metal trees with glass bottles for leaves at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.

San Diego:

Distance: 86 miles

When traveling towards “America’s Finest City,” you may want to go along Sunrise Highway to enjoy the 6,000 feet climb to see the Laguna Mountains. Driving through Highway 94, this route runs through much of San Diego before branching out into other areas such as Campo and Potrero. If you have a love for automobiles, you may want to see The Motor Transport Museum to see all the past models in American history.

Borrego Springs:

Distance: 90 miles

Borrego Springs is a desert town positioned within Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest California State Park. You can stop by Galleta Meadows and see the metal statues created by artist Ricardo Breceda lined along the side of the road. If you are looking to stretch your legs and admire the desert wildlife, you may want to go to either Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail or Hellhole Canyon Trail.

Monterey Peninsula:

Distance: 17 miles

Starting at Pacific Grove Gate, you can admire the cypress and pine trees, beaches, cliffs, etc. as you cut through the Del Monte Forest. While the water may be too cold to go out into the ocean, you can instead go to appreciate the marine wildlife at Monterey Bay Aquarium. There are waterfronts such asCannery Row and Old Fisherman’s Wharf full of shops and restaurants if you wish to stay close to the shoreline.

Glendora Mountain Loop:

Distance: 34 miles

Starting in San Gabriel Valley, you can follow along the route until you reach Glendora Village, a good place to take a lunch break. Once your stomach is full, you will be ready to tackle the treacherous and steep roads of San Gabriel Mountain. As you are heading back down, you will go along the San Gabriel Dam which will lead to the Morris Reservoir and the Morris Dam.

Point Reyes:

Distance: 150 miles

Largely devoid of crowds during the winter, you may get the chance to be alone while walking under the fairy tale-like passage of the Cypress Tree Tunnel. If you want a view of the ocean or the stars, go to the top of the Point Reyes Lighthouse to get a full panoramic view.

Palos Verdes Peninsula Tour:

Distance: 35 miles

Starting in San Pedro and ending in South Redondo Beach, this route will take you along the coast and through pristine redwood forests. The peninsula has plenty of hills and cliffs to give you a thrill while riding your motorcycle. You might want to stop by the Port of Los Angeles if you wish to visit the tourist areas with shops you can browse, enjoy a leisurely walk in a park, or get a warm meal at a restaurant.

The Sunset Strip:

Distance: 1.6 miles

Located in West Hollywood, it is a long line of restaurants, clubs, shops, and historical buildings. Places such as the Comedy Store and The Viper Room were visited by famous actors, comedians, musicians, etc. The shopping center of the area is the Sunset Plaza, full of boutiques and cafes. While many of them do not open until evening, you can have a nice dinner at restaurants like The Den and Sunset Grill Hollywood.

Venice Beach to Neptune’s Nest:

Distance: 31 miles

Named after Venice, Italy due to the similar man-made canals built by Abbot Kinney, the beach has become a popular cultural center. Muscle Beach is an area suited for outdoor fitness since there are structures set up to help with workouts. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is the most popular street due to having boutiques, thrift stores, beauty salons, galleries, and restaurants. This boulevard is the artistic representation of Venice, California. Traveling along some part of the Pacific Coast Highway, you will eventually find the Neptune’s Nest. Besides being a popular rest stop for motorcyclists, it is a well-renowned seafood establishment which provides you a complementary view of the ocean.

This is only a small list of motorcycle destinations in California. While many of these may not be available during the winter, this article will give you extra locations that are popular amongst motorcyclists.

7. Takeaway

In California, it can seem like summer never truly goes away even after the season comes to a close. During the winter, the weather is relatively fair and consistent plus moisture outdoors rarely ever turns into ice. Of course, you still feel the change of winter in the air and need to prepare accordingly. You have to outfit yourself and your motorcycle with the right gear to deal with the lower temperatures. But besides that, there are not many natural hazards to worry about. Instead, you can focus more on how you want to plan your winter motorcycle trip in California.

Many sites such as the national parks, deserts, and beaches will still be open for you to go and admire. However, there are certain buildings and attractions that are closed due to it not being peak season. Much like with some motorcyclists, many businesses consider the warmer months to be the best time to be active while winter is the time to close up shop. But a smaller list of winter activities involving your motorcycle should not deter you from trying to explore California.

Do your research regarding which California motorcycle roads and destinations are open during the winter then head out and try to see the ones you like the most. There’s a whole state to see and all of winter to see it. 

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