By Matt Rhoney
Spring is nearly here, and it’s about time to get your bike out and ride. Your first motorcycle ride of the year is always great. The highway is dry, the sun is back up, and you can return to your natural speeds.
What should every biker know about getting prepared for that initial venture back onto the road? Motorcycling is a complicated thing, and you have been out of practice for months. Here are a few things you should do as you prepare for the year’s first ride.
Check Your Bike
You can’t do much without a tuned up bike. Before you fly down the highway at sixty-five miles per hour without the protection of a car’s interior, you need to make sure your motorcycle is in fine and working condition. Review every component of your bike, especially the following:
- Fluids: Make sure your brake fluid is good, your oil is changed and clean, and your tank is full. Good fluids will help you drive safely and will add years to your bike’s life.
- Air Filters: Air filters keep your bike’s insides from getting gunked up with all the grime in air outside. Make sure they’re clean, and that no little critters have crawled in and made it their home over the winter.
- Tires: Make sure they are in good condition and full of air. You can check the depth of your treads using a penny. If your tires need replacing, don’t wait. Good tires are absolutely essential for your highway safety, not to mention everyone else’s safety. A motorcycle accident can lead to severe personal injury.
Check Your Gear
Your gear needs to be in good shape, too. Every biker needs solid equipment to reduce the likelihood of accidents and to decrease the dangers of an accident in case it does happen. You’ll need these:
- Jacket: Make sure your jackets hasn’t worn down. Heavy leather could be the one thing stopping your skin from being brutally abraded by nasty gravel or broken glass. Watch out for holes and worn down spots.
- Helmet: Motorcycle helmets save lives. It’s a fact. And just having a helmet is not enough. You need a helmet in working condition. Make sure your helmet is solid and still fits. Your visor needs to be solid, and any smears needs to be cleaned off completely.
- Boots and leggings: Like your jacket, your boots and legging need to be heavy enough to protect you from harsh scrapes against the ground and other vehicles. Make sure they’re not full of holes or are worn down in any way. Make sure they still fit. If you need anything new, don’t hesitate to buy it.
Check Your Skills
Review your skills. It’s easy to forget the basics over the winter. Look at safety tips online. Check local Department of Transportation websites to see if there are any new changes in the law for the year.
And when you do hit the road, start slowly. Getting back into your highway groove will take a little while, and the other bikers on the road are going through the same thing. Be especially careful when you take your first ride of the year.