Ready to ride?
Well this is strange situation for most of us, although many of us ride all year, for those that do not they may have only just have been prepping their machines ready for the anticipated season ahead, when we were all told stay at home apart from essential journeys.
It has been tough there is no doubt about it, as I have really missed riding and space outside our village, but there will be time to have fun still though maybe a different way.
So although we may have checked our bikes over to ride earlier in the year, it is sensible to carry out those checks again.
Of many checklists out there, the ROSPA one seems to cover all known as POWDER which stands for:
P = Petrol
Is there sufficient fuel for the journey?.
O = Oil and lubricants
Is the oil level in the sump OK?
Do all the control levers and cables operate smoothly?
Does the choke -
Brake and clutch levers and throttle operation can also be checked.
In the case of chain driven machines, is the chain lubricated and is it properly adjusted?
Is the brake fluid level OK?
W = Water/Coolant
On some bikes it is no easy task checking the coolant level, but many do have expansion tanks that show the levels when the engine is cold.
If it is low on coolant what is the cause?
Walking around the bike, have a look underneath.
Are there any puddles of water or oil? If so, where has it come from?
It may be nothing serious but it is better to check it out at this stage than to have hot oil or water sprayed all over you, or the back tyre.
D = Damage
Make sure that nothing is loose or hanging off, make sure that all panels are firmly secured and there are no obvious signs of damage to items such as the wheels, headlight or mirrors. Even exhausts and footrests have been known to work their way loose.
E = Electrics
Do the headlights and stop/tail lights work?
Are the indicators working along with the repeater light on the dashboard?
Does the horn and the headlight flash work? What about the engine kill switch?
Do all the panel lights illuminate that you would expect to illuminate?
Does everything work with the engine running as well as with it off?
R = Rubber
Not only does this include the obvious such as tyres, but also items such as footrest rubbers and handlebar grips.
Checking the tyres is not just about making sure that they are set at the correct pressure, but ensuring there is a minimum of 1mm of tread that will last the length of your journey.
Also check for signs of cracking or any foreign bodies, which could affect your safety.
There are also items that would be worth checking that have not been mentioned such as fork seals, ensuring that there is no oil around the stanchions, if you have panniers fitted, are they securely fixed to the bike, are your mirrors secure? Even things we take for granted, like is the seat located properly on the frame?
These simple additional checks can usually be carried out as you walk around the bike.
You could also add "S" to the acronym so it becomes P O W D E R S.
S = Suspension
Covering both the front forks and also the rear suspension. Again, check that there are no leaks and that everything looks and feels as it should do.
Now this may seem a lot but currently with no date to play, we can take time to check, I would especially say check the battery has enough power, and the tyre pressures.
I am sure there will be a massive surge to go out and enjoy, so please remember there will be many others heading out on bikes, cars, bicycles etc and they may not have checked their vehicles, or desperate to see great aunt Agatha with a car full of kids etc so beware.
Where will I head to first I don’t know, I have found some nice routes away from main stretches where I may even find a windmill or two.
I look forward to meeting up with friends new and old when we can get out and about, stay safe all and see you soon.