Are You Really Ready to Ride?

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March 24, 2014 | By: Jeff Maddox

Get Ready to Ride

Editor’s Note:What appears below is a guest blog post from veteran biker Jeff Maddox, who regularly holds court over at the JMAdog blog.

Are you prepared? The riding season is upon us and I for one need to get out and do a little back road traveling. But really, are you prepared? I know the first thing that comes to mind when presented with that question is usually a “yes!” New tires, oil changed, your bike is cleaned up with a full tank of fresh gas, of course your bike is ready. But the question is, are you prepared?

It’s been a long, cold winter. More snow in areas than we motorcyclists (or anyone else) cares to talk about, and temperatures lower than some of us are used to can get us straining at the leash just ready to ride. This is why we need to be prepared. Most of you by now have been out for a short ride around the neighborhood and down the road, and it’s obvious we have some road conditions to deal with. Potholes and that sand in the corners that only the Devil himself would sprinkle around are challenges, but we also have to get the folks in their cars to realize that even though they don’t ride, their riding season has begun as well. We need to be careful on the first of many spring rides to not only get ourselves acclimated to riding again, but those who we share the streets with. They too have had a long winter without seeing as many motorcycles on the road and it is going to take them a little while to look twice.

We all want to get out there and ride - because that is what we do. We’ve waited long enough and it’s finally our time. As you head out, get your mind focused and ease into it. Pay attention to all that is around you and make sure that you are comfortable on your bike and watch for hazards on the road. The last thing you want to do is start your season getting an estimate from your insurance company. All too often we become more concerned about getting our bike ready to ride and we neglect getting ourselves ready to ride. Take your time and get a few easy rides under you belt before you get up to speed; you’ll be glad you did!

Comments (4)

Even though Tennessee generally has fairly mild winters (this past being quite a 30 year exception), many stop riding in mid October with only an occasional foray out for charity rides, polar bear ride, and so on. As an MSF RiderCoach I counsel all my graduating students–both new and experienced–to go practice basic maneuvers before venturing out on roads as the urge to ride takes hold at this time of year. Practice quick stops, swerving, proper cornering (slow, look, press and roll); and those slow speed, counterweight turns. Then follow up with the three basic question to answer: are YOU ready, is your GEAR ready and is your BIKE ready. If the honest answer to all three is “yes,” then go for it. And don’t forget that you’re invisible…

I have to ride this Sat. for a funeral. Slow and safe.

Great advice, keep the rubber side down and God speed

That’s good advice ,I ride a small bike to work on days when it’s not raining , I have heated gear so I can stay pretty warm but you really have to watch out for those people on cell phones or putting on makeup in the mornings I ride my big bike on weekends and on trips but the little bike keeps you in practice through the winter

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