Getting back in the saddle after a break from Riding

Getting back in the saddle after a break from RidingIt’s been way too long for most of us! Putting life on hold is one thing, but not being allowed to ride for this long, is a totally different story.

Most of us had the time, and savvy, to take a bike apart, service and spring clean every component of the bike… a few times over.

Now, as the time draws closer for us to freely ride again, some have already, there are a few little changes in both you and other road users that you may not be aware of.

On the Arrive Alive website, we share insights and advice for motorists returning to roads after an extended break. It is however not only the "caged " road users that may benefit from safety suggestions.

Our motorcycle safety expert, Hein Jonker from the Motorcycle Safety Institute, offers the following advice for bikers returning to the roads: 

Here are 10 tips to get you back on your bike like it was yesterday:

  1. Conduct a quick pre-trip inspection on your bike, checking: Fuel, Oil (Level and Colour), Water, Chain/Shaft/Belt, Electrics (lights on the console and external front and rear), Tyres (pressures and tread), Brakes (Front and Back) and fluid levels. And, of course, number plate and license disc validity.
  2. Clean your riding gear, as mould or cobwebs may have found a new home in your helmet, gloves or boots.
  3. Do a mental check on yourself:
    1. Do you feel healthy or fit to ride?
    2. Are you alert with a vigilant mindset?
    3. How’s your eyesight?
  4. Don’t let anxiety get hold of you! Take the first few kilometres or day easy, don’t rush it.
  5. Some of the skill or muscle memory will take a little longer to catch up. Be aware of any changes in your use of the controls (throttle and brakes) and adapt very quickly.
  6. Do not take on a long trip for the first few weeks or so. If you have to, make frequent refreshment stops and review your mental and physical status.
  7. The road surface may have changed during this past few months, take note and amp up your vigilance while taking every precaution not to target fixate.
  8. Other road users should be a major focus point. Put yourself in their vehicles, being aware of their potential state of mind, body, and health. Lack of concentration and distractions, their anxiety and frustration levels, must be considered while you ride.
  9. Give yourself time at junctions. Tap off a few seconds before you enter a junction, call out or anticipate potential hazards, cover your brakes, plan an escape path and be ready to respond.
  10. Relax your body/posture to free up your mind. Don’t tense up! There’s no pressure, ride when you feel ready; no one should tell you otherwise.

Just keep this in mind; 1000s of people have had it extremely difficult during this lockdown period and will for months to come. Emotions are on a different level, as you will know.

Give it some time, be considerate both on and off your bike and most importantly - Ride to Live!

Assistance kindly provided by:

Hein Jonker, Founder and Chief Instructor

Motorcycle Safety Institute of SA

Mobile: 083 7937975
Email: hein@msi.org.za
Website: www.msi.org.za

Also View:

Safe Driving After an Extended Break from Driving

Motorbike Safety through the Eyes of the Instructor

To Ride or Not to Ride a Motorcycle? 10 Important questions

Learner Motorcyclist – Do we Test effectively?

Motorcycle Insurance and Safety on the Road 

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