Spring is in the air and riding season is here! If you are a new rider, or just in need of a refresher, there are a couple things you should reflect on. Don’t get me wrong, experienced or not, you are going to make mistakes and these will probably (hopefully) be some of the most common ones. My goal here is to remind you of those and hopefully you don’t end up making them!
Not wearing protective gear
This is a mistake that you do not want to learn from personal experience. I get it’s cool to dress in a t-shirt, and wear some light kicks with a helmet but trust me you’ll want to have proper riding gear on you. This includes a helmet, gloves, pants or jeans, riding boots and a motorcycle jacket. An absolutely no-no is not wearing a helmet, if you want to keep your head you’ll put one on!
Not downshifting before stopping
This innocent mistake can actually be quite dangerous. It’s important to downshift your bike before stopping as you can easily stall the bike otherwise. It’s also dangerous to have your bike in the wrong gear while you are in traffic.
Driving too fast or aggressively
It’s easy to get caught up in how fast motorcycles can move and in such a short time. However it’s important that you respect the rules of the road and drive within your limits. The public roads are not your race track nor a proving ground for you to see how far you can go.
Stalling the motorcycle
This is one that beginner riders will definitely experience, and sometimes a new rider will experience this several times as they get used to the bike! Stalling happens when you let the clutch out too fast or hold the clutch in too long without giving enough throttle. As a result, the power is cut to the engine and the bike stalls. It’s important you get familiar with your clutch and practice in a parking lot. The key is to find the friction zone so you know the sweet spot of where your clutch is engaging.
Dropping your bike
I don’t know any rider who has not dropped at least one bike in their riding career. Luckily, the most common way of dropping the bike is forgetting to put down the kickstand, which although annoying is innocent enough. If you do drop it, it’s important to pick it up properly. First turn off the bike if it is on and make sure the bike is in gear. Turn the handlebar to the direction of the fall and then squat down with your butt to the bike and use your one hand to grip the seat and the other to grip the handle bar as you lift.
Stay safe and enjoy the ride!