We’re sure that you won’t need any of us here at Sportex to remind you what makes the summer such an alluring time for motorcyclists. With the daylight hours getting longer, the roads being drier and the views around those challenging bends clearer, you’re probably itching to clamber aboard your motorbike so that you can make the most of the changing of the seasons.
However, the summer seemingly feeling like a carefree time when you’re relaxing in the garden at home, doesn’t mean you can be just as casual when riding on two wheels.
Indeed, the admittedly fabulous conditions of this season can leave some motorcyclists with a false sense of security, which could cause them to neglect their comfort and safety on the bike – with potentially extremely serious consequences.
So, here at Sportex, we thought we’d run through a few tips for how to prepare to ensure you responsibly and safely enjoy your summer on the open road.
Make sure you have the right kit
Given that motorbike clothing is our speciality, you might have expected us to mention it first here – but there are also some very serious points we have to make.
When it’s hot and sunny outside, it can be so easy to abandon all sense of caution and find yourself out on your motorbike, feeling the cooling wind against your skin, while wearing little more than a T-shirt and shorts. But that’s a really bad idea, as anyone who has ever had an accident in such a state and found themselves spilling across the tarmac – and lived to tell the tale – can tell you.
Yes, motorcycling clothing can be hot and bothersome. But that’s precisely why you should be taking the time now to invest in the gear that is specifically designed for the hotter and sunnier time of year, such as a vented jacket and summer riding gloves like our own Sportex Alpine Summer Glove or Monza Gloves.
Inspect your bike regularly
Hopefully, we won’t need to emphasise to you the importance of having your motorbike regularly serviced – but don’t forget to keep checking it between services, too.
Taking just a few minutes on a routine basis to look at the tyre pressures and fluid levels, and keep your eyes peeled for any new damage, will help ensure you don’t suddenly become aware of any emerging problems with your motorcycle at the worst possible moment.
Also make sure before you set off that the lights and brakes work well, the chain tension is right, and there’s nothing loose that ought not to be.
Always check the weather forecasts in advance
The summer might seem to be the ideal time for hour after hour of riding – and in many ways, it is. However, the likelihood of long journeys is also why you need to carefully plan them in advance, accounting for not only the weather forecasts for the areas you intend to ride through, but also the potential for unpredictable changes in conditions.
After all, even TV weather presenters aren’t always right. Even on the hottest and sunniest of days, there can be short and sudden thunderstorms – so it pays to be prepared, both mentally and physically, for what might seem unlikely.
Plan journeys around the probable traffic
So, you’ve got that aforementioned breathable jacket and those summer riding gloves on, and you’re ready to take on that classic road on your two-wheeled pride and joy. But then as you turn up at the location, it becomes clear that an awful lot of other people have had the same idea.
This is something to be especially mindful of during the summer, given how many people – on two wheels and four – will be inevitably heading to popular beauty spots in picturesque areas such as Devon, Cornwall or the Lake District.
Don’t forget, too, all of those caravans and combine harvesters that can pop up when you least expect to see them, just as you turn a corner.
Summer motorcycling can, of course, be hugely rewarding – but it is also not without its risks and possible problems. Apply the above lessons in good time, though, and you can be more confident of this summer being one you will remember for all of the right reasons.