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Group of bikes riding on a road beside a river

Top tips for spring riding

If you’ve been riding less (or not at all) over the winter here are a few choice pointers to ensure you ride safe and have fun on those first few jaunts in September.

Give yourself time

A sunny day, dry tarmac and reasonable temperatures: what could possibly go wrong? Rather a lot, as it happens. Spring is when motorcycle crashes, and all the bad stuff that accompany them, shoot up. So, ease yourself back into the ride. And the best way to do that is not to rush. Give yourself time to check the motorcycle over thoroughly. Give yourself time to get your gear on before the ride (it might take longer if you’re not used to doing it). And give yourself time on the road to react to anything unexpected. Don’t rush into corners, slow down approaching intersections so you can better judge what other traffic might do, and ease off on the overtakes while you get your eye in.

Handy 10-point bike maintenance checklist

Concentrate on riding well, not fast

Your pace will naturally pick up as you get in the groove, and the last thing you want to be doing is riding beyond your comfort zone. So, for this bedding-in period, force yourself to concentrate on riding well, not quickly. Are you using your vision correctly to pick up turn-in points and apply your peripheral vision? How are you holding the bars–nice and relaxed, not fighting yourself when counter steering? Are you locked into the bike with your lower body at all times? Try to recall some of the coaching you got on your Ride Forever course and practice the drills. And if you haven’t taken a course yet, book it now.

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Beware of changeable conditions

Spring is known for its four-seasons-in-one-day unpredictability. So make sure you have the right gear, including layers to deal with temperature changes. And watch for things like damp patches from isolated showers and sunstrike. Remember that wet road paint, manhole covers and shiny tarmac can be slippery as.

Keep days short

It can be tempting to make the most of the spring weather and longer evenings, but if you’re not match fit fatigue can creep in. Don’t overstretch yourself and keep the day’s itinerary a bit shorter. Factor in more breaks too.

Go solo first off

Sure, your mates will all be gagging to arrange a group ride. And that’s great. But with group riding come some extra hazards, so try to get out for a few rides on your own first to shake off the rust. And when you do your first group ride be extra careful of the temptations of ‘keep-up-itis’, remembering that the riders at the front enjoy an advantage when it comes to overtaking slower traffic.

Group rides

When you do get together as a group, remember to plan your ride and put the least experienced rider at the front, that way the group stays together and there is less risk of anyone extending their capability.

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