As winter FINALLY abates, or at least it seems to be, at this moment, we turn our attention to warmer and drier rides and the good times of the full on riding season. Part of the preparation for that involves planning, bike maintenance, and body maintenance. In reverse order, then…
I’m not one to lecture about physical fitness, because irony will bite me in my (too large) butt, but a couple of items should be obvious. Then again, perhaps they’re not, which is why I’m going to list them.
1. If you’ve led a sedentary winter life with few opportunities for bear wrestling, mountain climbing, or running marathons, you do need to pay some attention to your body. Not so much overall weight, but flexibility. It is appalling how we can go through a work day, many of us, and never turn our heads or stretch our arms and legs. If you begin to simply spend some time each morning and evening doing basic stretching exercises, you will find your first rides to be much more enjoyable.
An even better idea, of course, is to get your saggy butt to the local Y or gym, or sign up for yoga or other classes (square dancing is great), but let me not lecture!
2. Same goes for your “brain muscles,” if you’ve not been riding in the alternating monsoons and snow storms of the recent past. Your bike handles differently than the car you have been droning to work in. Take the time to take a “test” ride and perhaps some low speed handling and braking practice in a nearby school parking lot (hint – pick a time when the school is closed). A better option would be to sign up for one or more of the menu of training classes offered by the safe riding schools we partner with. Ask me if you need suggestions!
3. Bike maintenance can or should be easy. Your motorcycle has an owner’s manual with maintenance schedules. Check and see where you are in the maintenance scheme of things. If not adept mechanically (the ineptitude rankings start here, with me pretty much unchallenged as #1), our Ride West service department can take care of what your bike needs, whether a simple safety check-over, a service, or something more exotic. They will charge you for their expertise, as they should, but a season of riding peace of mind will result that is extremely worthwhile.
4. Break out the calendar and maps! The roads beckon! If you prefer to ride by yourself, you have months of opportunity and all sorts of destination options. If you enjoy the company of others, here are a few “must do” events to consider.
- WSBMWR state rally. Held in Menlo, Washington this year, from July 19th -22nd. It is almost impossible to not have a great time at this event. *
- Rally In The Gorge. The annual Sound Rider magazine gathering of the faithful, held in Stevenson at the end of July and into August.*
- The BMW MOA rally is in Missouri from July 19th – 22nd, and the BMW RA rally is on Colorado from June 14th – 17th.*
* Ride West will not be attending these events this year, but you can!
Closer to home the opportunities grow even more plentiful:
- Ride West demo rides allow you to ride three different new BMW models in one day. There will be 6 of them held between late April and the fall – see me if interested.
- Team Ride West group rides are held at least once a month, and you are welcome to attend them. Once again, see me if interested.
We have waited what seems to be an eon or two for good riding weather to return. Let’s prepare to make the most of it!
Copyright 2012 David Preston