Global Navigation

Ride Smart!
Ride Safe! Ride Often!

Main Navigation



Rust Proofing

In my part of the world, it's getting to that time of the year when the darkness doesn't go away until after I'm at work and it returns before I head back home. When I can see the daytime sky, it is often gray and bleak with chilly blasts of Artic winds blowing across the land.

The forecaster of weather speaks of coming snow and the salty residue of icy storms may soon be covering my roads. My riding days are winding down for the season, to be renewed again when the powdery white roads are cleansed of their salt by the first cold rains of spring.

"The challenge we face is making sure we're ready to ride when the weather cooperates again."

Whether it’s the icy winds of winter or the blistering summer heat that forces us off the bikes, many of us face a time when we can’t ride for an extended period. For some it’s only a month or two; for others the non-riding season may be longer. The challenge we face is making sure we’re ready to ride when the weather cooperates again.

Obviously we need to take care of our bike so it’s ready to purr when we bring it back out. We make sure it has clean fluids so it can rest comfortable without getting acid indigestion. We give it a bath and find it a quiet place to sleep before we tuck it in. Every month nourish its battery so it has the strength to turn itself over after its nap.

But what about us? What can we do to ensure we’re ready to go when the riding season begins anew? We may have polished our scoot and fogged its engine before putting it to bed so it doesn’t rust. What are we doing to make sure our riding skills don’t get rusty? Is it fair to make our well-prepared iron horse carry an unprepared rider, even if it’s only for the first few rides? So how do we make sure we are as ready as our bike is for the new season?

One way is by reading. There are many good books about motorcycle safety that we could read during our off-season. Many motorcycle magazines have excellent safety articles, often regular features. Just reading about riding more safely forces us to think about our riding skills. Because our mental skills are such a large part of our safe riding, reading and thinking about our experiences can help keep our skills from rusting.

We can also play games as we drive our four-wheeler during the off-season to keep our skills sharp. We can pretend we are riding our motorcycle and think about how we would respond to the situations we face in our car if we were on our bike. We may play “What If” as we drive, thinking about what we would do if that driver does this. Using our mental skill as if we were riding will not only keep our skills finely honed, it may also improve our driving skills.

We can’t afford to let our skills get dull during our riding hiatus. We’ve got to be as sharp as we can be for that first ride of the season. That’s often before everyone else is expecting us to be out there again and when he or she are least likely to be looking for us. That’s not the time for us to be brushing the rust off. We’ve got to be as ready for that first ride as our bike is. Keep using your mental skills during the off-season and you’ll have the edge on your first ride.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!