The snow is starting to melt, and you can almost smell the spring flowers. You know what that means—it’s time to ride! Before you take your motorcycle out for its first spin this spring, it is important to take the time to get everything road ready.

Your Motorcycle

Getting your bike ready to ride is one of the most satisfying signs of spring. Since this past winter has been especially long and cold, you might need to do a little extra work than normal to get your bike ready for riding season. Depending on where you stored your motorcycle and how well it was winterized, you may need to do extra work on:

  • Fuel system – This is the biggest step if your bike was not properly winterized. You may need to dump out old gas that has left performance-affecting varnish.
  • Tires – Weather can be rough on a bike sitting in the elements.
  • Battery – It may be dead and need to be replaced or recharged.

Your Equipment

Just because your bike is ready doesn’t mean you’re ready to go. Take the time to make sure other essentials are ready as well, including:

  • Proper riding gear – In particular, you may want to pack rain gear for the spring.
  • Helmet – Take a quick look to make sure it survived the winter well and will perform properly in the case of a Maryland motorcycle accident.
  • Emergency supplies – Take stock and replace any on-the-road tools, flares or other supplies you feel might be useful in the event that you become stranded.

Your Skills

Riding a motorcycle is a little like, well, riding a bike. It’s not something you forget easily. However, it’s still a good idea to take a few short spins around town before heading out on your first motorcycle road trip on the Maryland Beltway. In addition to making sure that your motorcycle is running correctly, you may also want to give yourself a little refresher on a few of the finer skills that can become a bit rusty after months of going unused:

  • Hand signals – Motorcyclists often need to signal much more than a simple turn—especially if riding in a group. Take five minutes to review the most common hand signals.
  • Basic maintenance – Whether you’re looking at a cracked hose or needing to repair a tire puncture while on the go, it pays to take a few extra minutes to make sure you know what to do should a problem arise.
  • Defensive driving – This is always a must, but can be even more critical in the spring when uncertain road conditions and oblivious car drivers threaten to wreck your ride.

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