The weather is finally getting warmer, and spring is in the air. Or if you are in Pennsylvania, the first spring is here and the actual spring is a few weeks away. The moment the temperatures break above 50° everyone wants to get outside. If you own a motorcycle you are ready to hit the road and start riding.
As you run around your garage modifying your cold-weather gear, looking for sunglasses or your helmet there are a few things you should do before taking your motorcycle out for its first ride of the season. We compiled a checklist for you and your motorcycle so you don’t end up stranded on the road, or worse in a motorcycle accident.
Steps To Take Before You Start Your Motorcycle This Spring
Before you even start the motorcycle you should check that it is roadworthy. Some of the below steps will require you to start the motorcycle, but in general, you should go over your entire motorcycle to make sure that it is safe to drive in the spring.
My father rides motorcycles throughout the year. No matter how cold it is on Christmas day he always goes for a ride. He typically uses the winter to work on his motorcycles, get them inspected, and to change out tires, brakes, and oil. He has multiple rides so it can be quite a process depending on how good the summer riding season was. Even though he manages his motorcycles throughout the winter and gets them ready for the riding season, he still uses the spring as a time to go over all of his motorcycles and make sure they are ready for the riding season ahead. Don’t neglect your motorcycle’s safety.
1. Is Your Motorcycle Battery Charged?
Obviously, you won’t be able to start your motorcycle if the battery is completely dead. You do want to check that your battery has a full charge. If you go out for a ride and stop to get gas with a weak or dead motorcycle battery you might be stuck at that gas station until your wife gets home from work (and no one wants that). Taking measures over the winter months by having a battery tender can help maintain your motorcycle’s battery charge.
2. Are Your Motorcycle’s Tires Filled With Air?
Normally you can see on your motorcycle whether your tires need air, but in the excitement of warm weather and sunny spring days, you could miss it. Make sure you top off your motorcycle tires with air. As the weather gets warmer tire pressure will change so make sure you monitor your motorcycle’s tire pressure as the weather continues to get warmer.
3. How Are Your Motorcycle’s Fluid Levels?
When was the last time you got your motorcycle oil changed? Probably when it was last inspected. That is going to be the next thing you check. But take a look first at your motorcycle fluid levels. How much gas do you have, do the brakes feel good, has anything leaked over the winter months? Make sure your motorcycle lasts for years to come by quickly checking your fluid levels.
4. Is your Motorcycle Inspection Up To Date?
If your motorcycle inspection is not up-to-date you should not ride. Not only could you get a costly ticket, but it is more likely that your motorcycle is not roadworthy. Get your motorcycle inspected as soon as possible so you can ride in the upcoming summer months.
5. Do All Of Your Motorcycle’s Lights Work?
Nothing puts a damper on the first motorcycle ride of the season like having to use hand signals around every turn. I know some old fashion motorcycle riders don’t mind, but when you want to and just enjoy the ride it becomes an extra thing to think about. Checking your turn signals and taillight as well as your headlight will help keep you safe on your motorcycle ride. Since you start your ride during the daylight, many people forget to check their motorcycle’s lights. Do this before you leave the house so you are not stuck in the dark.
6. Is Your Motorcycle Insurance Up-To-Date?
7. Let Your Motorcycle Warm Up
It is so important to let your motorcycle warm-up and run a bit before taking it out on the first ride of the season. A lot of the fluids have settled over the past few months so letting it idle for a bit will work them throughout the system. Letting it warm up all also but you see if there are any problems before taking it out on the road.
8. Bring A Coat
While you let the motorcycle warm up make sure you bring a coat. No matter if it is warm out right now, you probably want to keep on writing as long as possible. The sun still sets early, and it gets cold quickly this time of year.
Things To Remember When Riding In The Spring
All right, you are ready to go on your first ride of the season. Below is a quick list of things to be aware of while riding so you stay safe.
- Cinders & Salt: There’s still a large number of cinders and salt on the roadways as well as large debris from past snowstorms. Be careful of cinders on the road because they can make your back tire spin and break more difficult. Small debris on the roadway leads to many motorcycle accidents.
- New Pot Holes: With all the snow we received this past winter, there are going to be many new potholes. As the snowplows tore up the snow, they also created new potholes in the roadways. If you live in Pennsylvania you know there are a large number of potholes. Be aware that the roads your rode on last year or not the same as the ones you’re riding this year. For your first ride take familiar roads that you have written in your car recently so you can avoid hazardous potholes.
- People Are Outside Just Like You: it’s warm out so more people are outside. Everyone is getting over the wintertime blues and enjoying the sunshine. Because of that, there’s a high likelihood of dogs being outside and people being outside. Drive with extra caution.
- People Are More Distracted & Not Used To Motorcycles: With the nice weather comes people looking around and being distracted. They are also not used to motorcycles being on the road for a few months. Make sure your presence is known by wearing bright colors and standing out.
Enjoy Your First Motorcycle Ride Of The Season
We are so glad it is finally warm again and we want you to enjoy your first ride of the motorcycle season. We also want you to drive safely and to come home. By following these tips for motorcycle safety you can protect your life. Enjoy the upcoming season and ride on!