Now that we’ve reviewed the pre-season maintenance, let’s talk about the first ride. The springtime debut of your bike is an exciting experience, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
Plan Your Route
Before you hit the road, it’s important to plan your route. Figure out where you want to go and scope out the roads beforehand. Beware of any sandy patches and sizable potholes. Sand, gravel, and salt increase traction on snowy roads but, in the spring, these build-ups provide poor traction on dry roads and tend to be more harmful than helpful.
If you set out with a dark visor, make sure you time your route so you’re not surprised by the night. The same goes for those with learner’s motorcycle permits, which often prohibit riding after sunset. Everyone knows that the days get progressively longer in the spring but the twilight period gets progressively shorter.
Beware of Other Drivers
Defensive driving should be standard procedure for motorcyclists but be especially careful in the springtime. In some parts of New England, it’s been almost six months since anyone has seen a motorcyclist so don’t be surprised if other motorists have forgotten you exist. Never assume that other drivers can see you.
Watch (and Listen) for Signs of Trouble
Even if you’ve done all your pre-season maintenance, you may need to do a few more tune-ups after the first ride. So, while you’re out on that first adventure, watch for signs and symptoms of trouble. If your engine is rough at idle or your engine lacks power, if your brakes are squishy or it’s hard to turn– these could all be signs of a serious problem and should be addressed immediately. You should also be on the lookout for unfamiliar feelings and sounds– such as squealing, shaking, and rattling– and make note of the speed at which these occur.
From repairs to regular maintenance, we offer the best motorcycle services in Western Mass. V&F can help you create an appropriate schedule that considers your bike’s age, your driving habits, and the manufacturer’s recommendation. Call us at (413)314-2280 to discuss preventative maintenance planning, or schedule an appointment online.
An annual favorite of our readers, this guide was originally published in April 2019 and is updated annually to reflect changing best practices. This is the third of a three-part series. Catch up on parts one and two from earlier this week!