Monday, April 25, 2011
I hear the sound of Harleys on the road again. That’s a sure sign that spring has sprung and that it’s time to put the rubber on the asphalt. Sometimes it seems like winter will last forever and this winter is no exception. We have already been riding in most of Arizona, but after looking at weather reports throughout the nation, it appears winter is holding on in some places like a passenger on a V-Rod! It won’t be long though and everyone will be riding the roads of the most beautiful country on earth.
I know most riders are like bears out of hibernation when winter is over and they want to jump on their scooters and start riding. But, hold up a minute; we need to check our bikes out and make sure everything is in good running order for that first ride. Most of us know this and don’t need to be told, but there are newbie riders out there who could use the advice. After all, I remember when I first started riding and my impatient state of mind was only overshadowed by my lack of experience. Someone helped me along and for that I am grateful.
__Make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, horn and brake lights are working properly.
__Check all fluid levels (fuel, oil, hydraulic, coolant) and make sure they are at the proper levels or adequate for the ride.
__Inspect for loose spokes, if applicable, wheel alignment and play, and your tires for wear and proper inflation.
__If your bike is chain driven, check it for proper tension. Rule of thumb is about 3/4 inch of free play.
__Make sure your side stand and center stand will remain in the up position while riding.
__Periodically inspect your engine area and frame for loose bolts and fasteners. Remember to tighten to manufacture specifications.
__Check your throttle for smooth travel and no sticking. Refer to your owner's manual if lubrication is required.
__Check your clutch and brake levers for smooth operation. Lubricate and adjust according to owner's manual specifications.
__Check your clutch, throttle, and brake cables (if applicable). Lubricate or replace as recommended.
__Check your front and rear brakes for proper operation, brake pads and shoes for proper thickness, and rotors and drums for smooth surfaces.
__Don't forget to check your battery for proper fluid levels and terminals for corrosion.
Now you are ready for that first ride of the season. If it’s a new bike, take time to familiarize yourself with the location of all the controls. The best way to do that is to go on a day trip. One last thing – alcohol and/or drugs have no place on our highways. You can be the coolest dude or dudette on the planet without getting high while riding. Being stupid can get you and your riding companions dead!
Saddle up, it’s time to ride….