No, this isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster film title, but we are hoping it will be just as popular. With national lockdown 3.0 restrictions ending soon, and a possible return to the tiered system, hopefully. Now time to get both yourself and the bike ready for a return to the road. Here is a checklist to make sure everything is good to go and ready to ride.
Are you prepared to ride?
Firstly, are you ready to ride? Lockdown has kept us off the bike for some time, and even me who has been exercising all the way through with daily exercise has put podge on. The past few months has seen me stuck at home, and the fastest and furthest I’ve got is walking from the study to the kitchen at 2.5mph. With occasional rides on the mountain bike, have seen me hit double figures, at a push. I had lost my acclimatisation to speed. 30mph feels fast, like fast and furious when they press the NOS button and everything goes blurry fast. My brain hasn’t dealt with speed for weeks, so getting the eyes dialled back in, looking forward for information was a big one to get back used to.
It wasn’t just me to worry about, other people are in the same boat, and whilst it’s no news to know that traffic by motorbike has been reduced during lockdown, four-wheel drivers might have forgotten about us bikers.
I’ve checked all of my gear ready for the lockdown to end. My leathers were tight, and the visor was covered in a thick layer of dust, and whilst at it, I’ve given everything a good clean and re-waterproofing. Hopefully after some use the leathers will re-stretch out to my new figure!
Taxed, insured and tested?
As for the bike, well it hasn’t been on the top priority during lockdown being forced inside. Check the bike is still taxed, the insurance hasn’t lapsed, and it still has a valid MOT. We’ve all been there and completely forgotten about MOT dates. A thorough check over with some grease and a torque wrench wouldn’t go amiss checking for any loose bolts, or dry surfaces. If you didn’t clean your chain before putting the bike away a fresh clean and some new chain lube wouldn’t go amiss.
The next thing is to check fluid levels. Oil and coolant levels should be checked by the methods used in the manufacturer’s handbook, as this varies by brand. Top up if necessary with the correct grade of oil and coolant.
Make sure if you need to top up oil it is motorcycle oil, and the correct weight, as using a car oil in a motorcycle causes issues. Car oil contains friction-reducing compounds, for efficiency in a car engine, but can cause issues with the wet clutch in a motorcycle. This will more than likely cause a large bill for new clutch plates. c
Tyre pressures are an important one to check. Check for any signs of puncture now, as this then gives time to get the puncture fixed, but also check for general condition. If the tyre has started to crack from being cold-stored over winter this can cause dangers issues. If the tyre is puncture free and, free of damage or cracks, check the inflation pressure. Slight pressure may gently weep out from the bead and through the valve, so the tyre that was at the correct pressures before lockdown, now might be dangerously low. A pump up with a compressor or foot pump back to the correct pressure is an easy task but makes all of the difference.
Can’t be seen back out with a dirty bike?
I don’t know about you but nearly always when washing the bike, I do so in an OCD kind of way. This close inspection to make sure things are clean and tidy can help to see future issues, which may happen before they happen. A second added benefit to having a clean bike. Before lockdown, I purchased a cordless pressure washer, which makes this so much easier as I don’t have an outside tap.
Hopefully when lockdown ends, and our bikes have been checked over, we can all get back out and ready to ride again. it’s important to start off slowly and get back into the swing of things. With many of us not ridden for enjoyment again and with other road users not having seen two-wheelers for a while, it would be a good idea to keep some space. Of course, a training course or refresher like bikesafe or IAM or maybe even some 1-2-1 training from a separate riding instructor could help.
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