It wouldn't hurt for all of us to share some pointers, so feel free to add helpful shite.
I am gonna borrow some info from other sites to attempt to create the ultimate cold weather-riding thread that can be called upon for generations to come.
Black ice -- really just an ominous name for hard-to-see frozen water on the road -- can occur any time the temperature has been near the freezing point, or where frost can form. You really can't see black ice, but you can anticipate where it's likely to be.
Bridges are very susceptible because they are disconnected from the warmth of the Earth, which is why we see signs warning that bridges may ice first. Be on the lookout for roads that are shaded from the sun or follow a river or stream. A road that looks really smooth should be suspect.
With black ice, it's best to just avoid it. Stay on well-traveled roads and ride in the car tracks. A road with lots of activity tends to keep black ice from forming.
If you feel like you're on it, don't make any sudden moves, and don't touch the brakes. Our experts say to pull in the clutch and let the bike coast down until you're clear.
The part about watching shaded areas is very important, because it can be easy to forget when it's sunny out and you think it's gonna warm up a little bit. - Crab
SAND AND SALT
'nuff said. Where this stuff exists you don't want to be. But also be aware that, even if there has been no precipitation or recent freezing weather, some municipalities spread it anyway as a precaution, especially on highway exit ramps. That's what nailed Mike Tyson on his bike on a mild October day.
Many rural areas also lay an evil road coating called cold pack or pea gravel in the fall, especially in curves worn by use. It's a loose bed of small rocks, sometimes a few inches thick, and there will usually be no warning of it.
I think tyson got "nailed" coz he has the smarts of a wet bag of hammers, but hey....what do i know? - Crab
HYPOTHERMIA AND FROSTBITE
That cold shiver up your spine isn't just uncomfortable, it could also be the beginning of a very deadly condition called hypothermia. It occurs when your core body temperature drops significantly, and can be exacerbated by water, wind and exhaustion.
Temperatures don't need to be below freezing to induce hypothermia. Wind chill gets worse as wind speeds increase, and the longer you're out, the worse it gets.
One of the early signs of potential hypothermia occurs when you start feeling cold and you can't decide if you should pull over or not. The answer is always yes, but your judgment may be clouded. Long before this point occurs, you should have pulled into that nice warm cafe and had some hot chocolate or soup.
Uncontrolled shivering and chattering teeth are signs of real danger. You may start to feel dizzy, or even drunk, as your muscles begin to stiffen. Continued exposure may cause the shivering to slow down or even stop, but by then you're in serious trouble.
That cold scalpel of air is a sure warning sign to cover up. Exposed skin is at risk of frostbite in temperatures as warm as 55 degrees.
Your nose, earlobes, fingers and toes are some of the more likely targets of frostbite. The early symptoms include a pins-and-needles sensation, with the skin turning very white and soft. At this point, no permanent damage has occurred, and you can reverse the effects of exposure by soaking the areas in luke warm water or breathing on them.
In the next stage, waxy patches may occur and the skin may feel numb. After this, you may lose feeling in the affected area. Permanent damage is on its way.
Again, it's the speed of the wind and the length of exposure that drastically lowers wind chill temperatures. That means riding at just 30 mph on a 45 degree day will put you in danger of both hypothermia and frostbite in as little as a half hour.
Having blue lips, fingers or toes is an early sign of cyanosis. Cyanosis is basically a lack of oxygen in the tissues of your body. It might not seem like it, but this can be really dangerous and when you see this on yourself or another person, it's time to get somewhere warm for a little while! - Crab
INSULATION AND WIND RESISTANCE
How do you mitigate these dangers? Simple, cover up.
There are plenty of products available to help you beat the cold, and what's right for you depends greatly on where, when, and for how long you intend to ride. In the end though, it all boils down to insulating your body, much like the way you insulate your home. To do that you'll need to layer your clothes.
Make that inner layer thermal or fleece underwear. The idea is to let your body create a warm cushion of air between you and the environment.
Next, you need to stop the environment from stealing your warm air. As your outer layer, some form of windbreaker will do the trick. A denim jacket, though comfortable standing still, just isn't going to cut it. You need a material that blocks air. Leather has always been a popular outer shell for its wind resistance, abrasion resistance and the fact that it looks cool.
There are, of course, many other fabric choices from man-made fibers. Whatever your choice, make sure it has some crash protection, just in case señor black ice makes an appearance.
Hands can be particularly vulnerable. Gauntlet-style gloves will help keep your fingers warmer longer. The extra length up your sleeve helps to seal cold air out and warm air in.
For extreme cold, Cook recommends something like the old "Hippo Hands" that mount on the handlebars and fit over the controls and hand grips. You slide your hands into a rear-facing opening. These usually have very thick insulation and will allow you to use smaller gloves.
It may be obvious, but a full face helmet will keep you warmer than no helmet, or a shorty. And you'll want to seal the area between your neck and that. A bandanna will work, but leather or any wind proof fabric will cut wind better. There are fleece and silk neck warmers, and a balaclava which fits over your head like a ski mask.
I have found that adding a turtleneck and a pair of longjohns under my gear and my full rainsuit overtop of it really helps to cut out pretty much all of the cold air there. A neckwarmer that will slip over your mouth, or a balaclava, would also be a great choice. - Crab
Electrical clothing, which uses your bike's electrical system to power heating elements, make a huge difference by not just insulating you, but adding heat to the whole equation.
Gloves start around $100. Vests, depending on the style, can go from $100 to $200. Socks can range from simple D-cell powered items that'll go for around $25, to $90 systems that hook into the rest of your electric riding gear. For $400 to $500, there's even an electrically heated saddle -- the ultimate in tush warmth.
The key is to make sure your charging system can handle the load that electric heat draws from your bike. Check your owner's manual, or stop by your local dealer to confirm you have enough electrical reserves on your bike to handle the load.
Another option is a lightweight, disposable heat pack, which offers a different kind of protection.
Imagine you're out for a ride on a nice fall day. You're so consumed with the changing leaves that you don't notice how far you've ridden. It's getting dark and cold - fast. A bit of quick heat can make all the difference.
If you forgot to bring anything like this with you, you can sometimes use your bike to help. When i am at a stoplight, i'll reach down and use my engine block to heat the palms of my gloves. (i don't have a fully faired bike) It really works! - Crab