This past winter has been extreme, with some of the coldest temperatures in years. These cold temps likely saw many motorcycle riders store their motorcycles under cover waiting for the Polar Vortex to retreat.
As spring transitions into summer, it’s time to dust off the bike and head back out onto the road. But, before you strap on your helmet and thumb the starter, here are my three tips for getting back on the road this summer.
1) Performing Maintenance
Before taking your first ride you’ll need to make sure your motorcycle is up to the task. Hopefully you put your motorcycle away properly last fall, so it takes minimal effort to bring it to life. If not, you may be in for some frustrating downtime.
With the help of a motorcycle owner’s manual, someone with moderately competent mechanical skill can perform most of the tasks we are about to discuss. For tasks that are not covered in your owner’s manual, please consult your dealer’s service center.
2) Awakening the Rider
Now that you’ve made sure your motorcycle is ready to roll, you can think about your first ride. A word of caution before you press the starter button: spending many months in a car can cause you to become oblivious to motorcycle issues like visibility or road surface hazards.
It’s a good idea to begin your season by taking a refresher course with a local motorcycle-training program. It’s also smart to take some time to brush up on your emergency skills in a parking lot. Whether you choose to attend a formal rider course or go it alone, we recommend that every rider practice the critical skills by performing some cornering and braking drills. Here are three basic, slow-speed exercises to awaken your inner rider.
3) Summer Roads and Inattentive Drivers
Even if you and your bike are fully ready for the new season, remember that the roads may not yet be motorcycle-friendly. Roadways take a lot of abuse from snowplows scraping the surface and from the effects of repeated freezing and thawing. Expect surface hazards during the early summer until the earth thaws and the road crews can repair the scars.
And remember that drivers aren’t used to seeing motorcycles on the road, so be extra vigilant when riding in traffic.
Study your owner’s manual and perform these routine tasks so you are prepared for the upcoming season. Also, be sure to carefully evaluate road conditions before venturing out. Taking the time to prepare for the upcoming season can ensure it is a safe and enjoyable one.