It’s almost that time of year when you put the bike away till after the winter. If you’re gearing up for one last ride of the season, it’s important to keep safety top of mind. Here are a few things to remember before you set off on the final ride:
BEFORE THE RIDE
Check your bike: Do a basic inspection with every ride. Check your brakes, tire pressure, tire tread, fluids, brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and any loose bolts, parts, or mirrors.
Plan and prepare: The days are shorter and driving during twilight can be treacherous. Plan to get home before it gets too dark out. Temperatures can also fluctuate significantly in the fall, so you may start your ride feeling warm, but be prepared for the temperature to dip. Plan your riding gear to accommodate for this – think layers and extra gloves!
DURING THE RIDE
Ride Safe: Cold roads don’t have as much traction as warm ones do, and tires take longer to warm up this time of year. Some tires (such as sports or race compound tires) operate over a limited temperature range. Sliding is more likely with cold, hard tires on a cold, straight road. Also, keep an eye out for wet leaves, branches, or other fall debris on the road.
Headlights on at dusk and dawn: If you end up out at twilight, make sure that you have your headlights on. It may seem bright out, but visibility during these times is still lower.
Gas up: Refill your gas on the way home, as a full take minimizes the vapour area where condensation collects. This will help prevent tank rust.
AFTER THE RIDE
Shop the essentials: Stock up on essentials, such as fuel stabilizer, smart battery charger, bike cover and bike cleaner.
End of season clean: Clean your bike before you store it for the winter. It’s easier to deal with a dirty bike now than after it’s been sitting in storage for the next few months. Clean off any road salt, wax all areas except your tires, and warm it up to evaporate any residual water or condensation.