No, that isn't something dirty! Some of us have been riding for decades, some of us not nearly that long. But however long you have been riding, one thing to be aware of is how your bike "feels" while you're riding it.
Getting a feel for your bike is noticing how it's handling while running, idling, in curves, coming to a stop, and taking off. For example, does your bike "wobble" when going into curves or taking sharp turns? Do the brakes feel spongy or soft? Taking off from a stop, is it rough or smooth? At idle, does your bike shake more than normal?
Often, these little clues can help you diagnose something going wrong with your ride before it ends up turning into something costly...or fatal. Be aware of how your bike handles at all times and don't brush something off. It could save you money in the long or, more importantly, your life!
A short PDF that details some of the top dangers to riding a motorcycle. Some of these will be addressed throughout the coming year.
Everyone should have heard of T-CLOCS when taking their basic rider course. Proper pre-ride inspections can save you time, maintenance costs, and, most importantly, your life! While there are quite a few items that are covered in the official MSF T-CLOCS Safety Inspection Checklist (provided below), checking your tires (pressure and tread), brakes (pads and grab), oil level, lights (including your turning indicators), and controls should be the bare minimum.
"I didn't see them!"
How often have those words been uttered after a motorcycle-car incident? How often have you been riding down the road at night and not seen something in the road, or have something "pop" up on you from the sides?
One of the most important things you can easily do yourself is upgrade your lights. The image above shows a general comparison between stock lighting (on the right) and LED lighting (on the left).
In the past, this upgrade could get quite costly, especially for touring bikes with auxiliary or passing lights. Replacing all three front lights could cost you over $800...in the past. With recent advancements and mass production (due to increased demand), this upgrade is now a LOT more reasonable and you can easily pick up all three for under $150. And the majority of these setups are a plug-and-play installation.
I can attest to the effectiveness of these. Coming back from a trip to Austin, and riding at night, Kris and I went thru some iffy roads, including hitting a pothole - a LARGE pothole - that "snuck" up me because I couldn't see it with the stock lights. It was at that point that I decided to upgrade our lights, no matter the cost. And we've never been disappointed. As a matter of fact, the first thing we have done on all of the bikes in our garage is to buy LED headlights and passing lamps (if needed).
The difference is literally night and day, and the LEDs punch through the dark as well as providing excellent visibility during the day and the tricky sunrise/sunset situations.
Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. The spasms may be more intense and more prolonged than are typical nighttime leg cramps. Fluid and electrolyte loss often contribute to heat cramps. Muscles most often affected include those of your calves, arms, abdominal wall and back, although heat cramps may involve any muscle group involved in exercise.
If you suspect heat cramps:
Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
If you suspect heat exhaustion:
If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature or higher.
Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher.
Heatstroke requires emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles.
Symptoms of heatstroke include:
If you suspect heat exhaustion:
Often, other riders are the first folks on the scene or there when an accident occurs. As such, we are the "first responders" in a motorcycle accident. But, do you know what to do in an accident scenario?
In September 2019, several Fort Worth HOG Members took part in ASM training - basic and advanced. These courses covered the basics of motorcycle trauma care and what to do - and not do - in case of an emergency or accident. There were two parts to this weekend-long event...the Basic Course and Advanced.
2019 Basic Course Participants - Katherine Amerine, Kristen Washok, and James Washok
2019 Advanced Course Participants - Bill Anderson, Lee Ann Barnes, Steve Bosser, Richard L. Greene, Carlos Jones, Robert Martinez, Tiffany Mueller and Geneva Putman