Getting Ready to Roll

There’s more to it than just prepping your motorcycle 

The winter months have kept a lot of us cooped up and with spring finally here, it’s time to dust off our motorcycle jackets and fire up our engines. (I CAN’T WAIT!). If you’re wondering how to get yourself and your trusty moto-steed road-ready, stick around. I’m about to walk you through my comprehensive guide to getting myself (and my bike!) prepped for the upcoming season. It’s not moto-gospel, just my opinion. Take it as inspiration or just a fun read—either way, let’s gear up to hit the road!

My Six Point Spring Tune-Up

1. Bike TLC 

When winter’s on the horizon, I make sure to give my bike the VIP treatment it deserves. I fill up the tank to prevent moisture build-up, add some fuel stabilizers to keep things fresh, and I change the oil and filter. A deep cleaning isn’t just about making it look good—it’s a chance to inspect every nook and cranny. This way, any issues can be addressed during the off-season, leaving my bike in prime condition come Spring.

In the Spring, I give my bike a good ‘ol wash to shake off the winter dust and clear away any anti-corrosion spray I put on in the fall. I make sure the battery is charged, the tires are in good shape and pumped up to the rights pressure(s), and I give a little TLC to the throttle and clutch. I make sure the brakes are on point. I grease all the moving bits and make sure the side stand sensor is clean and doing its thing.

Oh, and I always run through the T-CLOCS checklist:

  • T – tires and wheels
  • C – controls
  • L – lights and electrics
  • O – oil and other fluids
  • C – chassis & chain, and
  • S – stands (both side and center)

Quick Tip: Stick to your bike’s manual for a fail-safe winterizing and spring awakening routine. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver!

2. Gear Check-Up

Safety first, right? That’s why I always start my prep with a thorough gear check. I inspect every piece, from my jacket and gloves to my boots and helmet. Any loose threads or seams get fixed right away. Speaking of helmets, they’re not a buy-it-and-forget-it item. I make sure mine still fits properly and replace parts like visors or liners when needed. And let’s not forget about rain gear! A good wash and a fresh waterproofing treatment ensure I stay dry when the skies decide to open up.

3. Rider Skills Tune-Up

In California, their police motor officer guidelines state that motorcycling is a perishable skill — and they ride 365 days per year. The implications are this: if you’re not riding, you’re getting rusty. That’s why, at least every spring, I head to an empty parking lot to run through some essential drills. These exercises aren’t just for beginners; they keep even seasoned riders sharp and ready for anything. (I bought a whole bag of orange cones from Amazon for under $50.00.)

Practice Drills to Consider:

  • Emergency stops from 50mph (80km/h) to 20mph (30 km/h)
  • Tight u-turns
  • Cone pattern exercises like the keyhole and the intersection, etc. (Google motorcycle cone patterns for these and lots more.)

4. Rider Fitness Tune-Up

Getting ready to ride is also about getting your body ready to ride. Being in good shape can help you fight fatigue so you can stay in the saddle longer. Of course, if you’re heading off-road or to the track, both of those activities require a higher level of fitness. And, being in good shape makes you feel better overall. So, consider adding it to your getting-ready-to-ride regimen.

5. Trip Planning

Ah, the joy of planning a new adventure! Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a cross-country tour, I always start with a plan. I jot down the must-see spots, look for the best places to stay, and if I’m going to a new region, research the local motorcycle laws to avoid any uncomfortable surprises with the boys in blue. And let’s not forget about the weather—knowing what to expect where I’m going helps me pack the right gear and plan my route accordingly.

6. Touring Kit Tune-Up

Packing for a motorcycle tour is an art form. Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned my touring kit to include all the essentials. Zip ties and duct tape? Check. A tire repair kit for those unexpected flats? Absolutely. And let’s not forget about safety—a well-stocked first aid kit is a must. I also take the time to update my Garmin maps and double-check my auxiliary power outlets. It’s all about being prepared for whatever the road throws my way.

The Wrap Up

There you have it! Prepping for a new riding season is about more than just the bike—it’s a whole vibe. From the roar of the engine to the wind against your helmet (yeah, we’re all safety-conscious here!), it’s all about that feeling of freedom.

So, grab your gear, give your bike some love, and let’s make this riding season one for the books. Catch you on the open road! 

– John

Leave a Reply