We’re starting to experience windy, chilly starts to the day. And driving home from work in the dark confirms that autumn is officially here.
Think about the weather conditions. It may look sunny when you leave in the morning, but what will it be like on your return journey? This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget to check your weather before setting off.
Wear the correct gear. Once the first drop of rain gets into your motorcycle clothes, the rest of the rain will follow
Often the sun’s still shining very brightly, which means the low sun can make riding challenging. Bear in mind that your helmet may have an internal flip-down visor which you can use and if you’re an adventure-type rider, your helmet will have a peak. If you have inserts in your visor, although these are helpful, be aware that they can magnify glare. And lastly, go back to the basics and clean and check your visor as those little scratches that you barely notice on a nice day will show up on dark nights and with rain and headlights coming towards you, it becomes almost impossible to see. Do your POWDDERSS checks. It’s crucial to keep your bike well maintained throughout the year to help you be the best rider you can be.
Wearing fluorescence or reflective gear; it’s not to everyone’s taste but pink high visibility clothing works best. This additional piece of clothing may load the dice in your favour. Reflective gear is best in low light conditions, night and mist and fog. Be aware of motion camouflage - a phenomenon where an object can remain below the detection threshold when coming straight towards you and ‘suddenly appear’. Even when riding a ‘bike, take a second look for ‘bikes and position deliberately when in view if you are the bike.
Riding is meant to put a smile of your face, so do everything you can to keep you safe on the road so you can enjoy the ride.
Encourage your non-motorcyclists friends to turn the well-known phrase SMIDSY (sorry mate, I didn’t see you) into SMART (saw a motorcyclist and reacted today) by reminding them to look out for motorcyclists on the road.
Motorcycling is supposed to be fun and on a bright winter day a blast in the country can be a real pleasure. Beware ice and frost hollows. Plan your ride to fit around any adverse weather warnings and kit up properly so your concentration is at its best.
Plan for not being seen, the low sun can make you almost invisible to a car driver, rolling off and planning for the worst is better than hoping for the best. Finishing the ride with a smile and possibly two hours of cleaning is a proper winter treat. And always have a constantly evolving escape route in your mind.
Re-printed from Progress November 2016
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