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Motorcycling 101, preparing yourself for the ride

Clean FJR ready to ride
Clean FJR ready to ride
Ralph L. Angelo Jr

As experienced motorcyclists we all know what’s involved in taking your motorcycle out for a ride correct? You just throw your leg over, plop your helmet loosely on your head and off you go, right?

Wrong! Motorcycling is not something to be taken lightly or to be thought of as something everyone can do without any proper training. I’m not going to touch on things like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or ‘MSF’ course here today, but I will at a later date.

Today we’re going to talk about preparing yourself for the ride. Many motorcyclists only use their motorcycles for weekend fun, perhaps taking a ride down to the local biker gathering spot. There is a certain draw to gathering with others of like mind to talk and kick tires.

Others enjoy going on long weekend rides of one to three days in length, disappearing into the mountains and enjoying the scenery and curvy roads. No matter which type of rider you are the preparation should be the same.

First and foremost have a good breakfast. Nothing too heavy, but something with some protein for energy that will give you strength for at least four hours’ time.

Next, before you head out to your motorcycle, stretch a little, just to make yourself more comfortable in the seat. It’s more important than you realize, especially as you begin to age. If you are feeling achey, it wouldn’t hurt to take a couple of ibuprofen before you ride as well, just make sure you ate something beforehand.

Do a gear check before you mount up. Make sure your helmets face shield is clean. Depending on the temperature, make sure you have the proper gloves with you. Carrying an extra set of heavier or thinner gloves is a good idea depending on the time of year and how long you intend to be out. Do you have a sweatshirt in your tank bag? It could save you on a long cold ride home. Is there a chance of rain in the forecast? Throw a rain suit into your tailbag or saddlebags, just in case.

Take your time putting riding gear on. Make sure everything is on correctly and that you are comfortable when seated on your motorcycle. Cinch your helmet strap up correctly. It should be tight and not flopping around on your head. Make sure your gloves are secure. Are your sunglasses on? Okay then it’s time to ride!

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