By now, the motorcycle riding season is in full swing all across the country, including areas where it’s not possible to ride during the winter. It’s common for riders who have been off their motorcycles for months to feel a bit rusty with regards to their riding skills.
Riding a motorcycle is an exciting sport that demands both mental and physical skills. Professional athletes and sports teams all recognize that after the off-season they need to get back in shape to achieve peak performance. The need to refresh and build better skills applies equally to motorcycle riders.
Practice makes perfect
Even if you’re lucky enough to get some riding in during winter, the start of the season is an excellent time to freshen up your skills. A good place to start if you already have taken a basic rider education course is to review the materials you received in the class. This is especially helpful in refreshing the mental skills and street strategies.
To refresh your physical skills, revive muscle memory, and reacquaint yourself with your motorcycle, you’ll need to find a safe place to practice. A flat parking lot that’s relatively free of obstacles is ideal. Many local businesses and college campuses have such facilities. It’s best to ask permission before using these spaces and always leave the area cleaner than when you arrived. You don’t need to buy traffic cones, but you might want to consider using something like bright red drink cups filled with water as markers for your practice sessions. Here’s a partial list of skills to practice:
• Slow-speed riding
• Straight-line braking
• Braking in a curve
• Swerving to avoid obstacles
• Decreasing radius turns, both right and left
• Figure eights
Time for a rider education course
Whether you’re a long-time rider or are new to the sport, the old adage “the more you know the better it gets” is true. A Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Rider Course is the best way to first learn how to ride a motorcycle and a great way to polish rusty riding skills. This is truly the golden era for motorcycle rider education as there are more than a dozen MSF course options. With so many options available there should be something to fit your experience level and riding style. Visit the MSF website to find courses offered in your area.
Till next time, ride safe!