It’s Spring, and for riders from a northern clime, thoughts start to wander to the bike that’s been patiently waiting in the garage, basement, living room.

Getting ready for that first ride is mental and physical. It’s going over riding gear, over the bike, and preparing oneself for an experience fundamentally different from the four-wheel variety that he or she’s been used to since that first snow fall.

Going over the bike is step one. For one thing, the act of looking over the bike starts the mental process. You begin thinking as a rider as you check tire pressure, make sure nothing rattled loose last season (It probably did, so have your tools ready.) Top up your fluids, look at the spark plugs. How are those tires looking? The chain? Brakes? Get some fresh gas in the thing. And of course, lubricate, lubricate, lubricate.

Never underestimate the usefulness of wiping down the bike. Sure it might seem like vanity (I want my bike to look good for that first ride.) But potential problems can be found while polishing up the chrome.

People talk about getting one’s sea legs, the ability to get accustomed to walking, standing on a boat on water. The same thing goes for motorcycling. Sure, even after a long time off the bike, you know how to ride it, but it’s going to take a while to get that feel back, to be absolutely comfortable leaning into a curve, to get those motorcycling senses up and running. Are you watching for gravel on the road? loose items on that loaded pick-up truck ahead of you? Are you sure everyone at the intersection actually sees you?

So take it easy, do the prep work, don’t tackle the mountain that first ride, take the time to get your “motorcycle legs,” and of course, enjoy.

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