One of the things that differentiate two-wheel (2WD) from four-wheel drive (4WD) is the fact that the terrain has a much larger impact on the former. Sure, driving through snow, rain and mud is difficult even for a 4WD, however, when it comes to the preparations necessary to pull it off with 2WDs, 4WDs pale in comparison. While this issue is by far the most common in autumn, depending on the climate, the region and the temporary weather occurrences, a muddy bike ride is something you can encounter all-year round. With this in mind, here are a couple of tips on how to gear up and overall prepare for such a ride.
1. Change the tires
First of all, you need to keep in mind that the road conditions might change drastically once the muddy season arrives. Furthermore, the terrain will become much more slippery due to the fact that the morning dew won’t disappear so quickly. If it is autumn we’re talking about, the ground might be covered with leaves too, which can further reduce the traction, making your vehicle much harder to control.
As far as the temperature discrepancy goes, it won’t be so big that it requires an oil change, however, you might want to replace your tires. Keep in mind that the terrain will be much softer, while the mud itself has a texture that complicates this kind of commute even more. In order to make the right call, you will have to do some basic research on things such as knob size, tread depth and even pattern change. For instance, mud requires wider-spaced knobs capable of acting like paddles.
2. Protect yourself
Another massive change here is your need to further protect yourself by adding layers of clothing to your gear. First of all, the temperature difference between autumn (let alone winter) and summer bike riding is huge, which is why you should probably start by adding warm gloves, a mud jacket and a pair of quality Alpinestars boots.
Aside from this, you also need to get yourself a pair of goggles, seeing as how failing to do so may cause you to have an impaired vision while riding. Your safest bet here is to go with goggles that offer a tear-off system. Moreover, having a wiper blade with you is more than mandatory.
3. Further bike improvements
As far as other bike improvements go, you need to make sure you have handguards installed before you go biking. First of all, this will protect your hands from wind, which is a serious issue even for those with gloves. Apart from this, mud has a tendency of splashing everywhere, and you want your handles clean. Moreover, you need to pay special attention to the foot pegs of your bike, since having them all slippery with mud might turn out to be a serious concern.
At the very end, you need to keep in mind that the debris and mud might clog the radiator, which can cause your engine to overheat. The greatest problem with this is that it seems counter-intuitive for your bike to overheat during the colder part of the year. One of the best ways to deal with this is to regularly inspect the radiator and even clean it when necessary.
At the end of the day, the maintenance of your bike and having the proper gear is still not as important as how you drive. The most sensible way to go about that is to start slow until you get used to the terrain. Riding through mud is going to be slower no matter what you do. Simply embrace this fact instead of trying to make up for the lost speed by being reckless. Remember that safety always comes first.