Do some safety checks before heading out on the bike
The summer is well and truly upon us. The weather is glorious and the skies are clear – well apart from today but here's hoping it's a temporary blip.
And with hot weather comes the fair weather riders, filling country roads on sunny days.
But before you take your bike out for a tour this bank holiday weekend, or especially if you're just dusting off the cobwebs for the first time this year, it is important to go through a few safety checks.
If your beloved bike has been confined to the garage since the final warm days of October last year, it may be worthwhile inspecting the fuel tank as a first job. If there is a build up of residue or any decay, drain the tank then clean the fuel lines.
Old fuel can cause clogs so this is an important step, remember to fill it with new fuel before you set out though or you won't get far.
Next check your battery. Like cars, bike batteries can go flat or corrode after periods of inactivity.
Your tyres are an essential step. Look at the tread depth and pressure in the tyres but, most importantly, look for any cracks, bulges or lumps in the tyre. Rubber can deteriorate if tyres are left unused in off-seasons.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests that to avoid missing anything important remember the acronym T-CLOCS. This stand for tyres, controls, lights, oil & fluids, chassis and stands.
Taking the time while you're doing this health check to apply a thin layer of wax will help protect your bike over the summer from dirt and bird mess.
If you haven't ridden since last autumn, now is the time to take a safety check yourself to prevent encountering danger on the road.
Do not set straight out after an extended period away from your bike, instead spend some time reacquainting yourself with the feel of it.
It may even be worth considering taking a refresher course if it has been a very long time since you reached for your motorbike, even if you once were an experienced rider. Taking the time to properly prepare makes you and other road users less likely to end up in an accident.
Start slowly and ride with caution, giving other road users plenty of time to see you and staying clear of vehicle blind spots.
Motorbikers also need to be extra vigilant for animals in the summer as there are more pheasants, rabbits and general wildlife around and, therefore, near the road. Hitting something even as small as a rabbit can lead to a crash, so stay aware.
With injury avoidance in mind, remember the importance of high quality clothing and accessories. If you've had a crash in your helmet, even a minor one, or suspect something else may have undermined its integrity get a new one. A flawed helmet will not provide you with the protection you need.
Although the weather may be hot, that is no excuse to leave the leathers at home. If you really cannot stand being wrapped up in them, invest in some light weight riding gear.
This is especially designed to keep you cool without causing you to rely on jeans and a T-shirt. As a bare minimum you need a helmet, long trousers, a long-sleeved jacket, gloves and boots that provide ankle protection.
Looking out for on your arms and hands are vital as these are usually the first thing to hit the ground when you come off the bike.
Most importantly get out on your bike and enjoy the good weather while it lasts.