Manoman, Golly Ned, and Geez Louise - are we ready for spring or not? That was one awful winter, no matter where you live. If it wasn’t 6-foot snow drifts, it was a polar vortex, a nor'easter with tons of freezing rain, or a tornado. Enough already! It's Goodbye Old Man Winter, and hello Spring. So, now is the time to look on the bright side. With the passage of the vernal equinox the days are getting longer and finally, the sun’s radiant energy will warm us up.
So, it’s time to pull the cover off the bike and get it ready for riding. But, not so fast! Just like many things in life, it’s not always that easy. For a good many of us, the bike has been parked for at least 5-months, if not longer. There are a number of things to do before you turn over your machine. So, here is a short checklist to ensure there are no disappointments on that first ride.
- Make sure your insurance is updated
- Remove the battery tender and check the battery's voltage. If you didn’t use a tender, then charge the battery.
- If you stabilized your fuel, you should be okay in this department. If not, drain and replace with fresh fuel.
- Inspect your tires for dry-rot and check the pressure (they should have been off the ground)
- Check your oil level
- Ensure the air-cleaner has a fresh element
- Inspect the belt drive for deterioration
- Check your brake pads
- Ensure the brake and throttle levers are lubricated and move freely
- Check over all fasteners, nuts and bolts for security
- Wash and wax for your first ride
If you properly prepared your bike for winter storage, after doing all the above the bike should start.
The final thing - check your riding wardrobe to ensure your boots, helmets, and other riding apparel is in good shape.
On that first ride, take it easy. Your riding instincts are still there, but they might be a little rusty. Take it easy on the first outing. Remember, those cars are still out to get you. Ride safe and have fun!
PS - An old timer once told me that he waits until the first good rain to wash off all the salt residue on the road before his first ride of spring. Sounds like good advice. Additionally, be careful near the shoulders and at intersections where gravel may have accumulated over winter. Loose gravel and bikes are never a good combination.