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Spring is Sprung

Tractors and equipment have been prepared for a new season while the farmlands were covered with a thick blanket of gleaming white snow. Now the fields are getting turned and readied for spring planting in hopes of harvesting an abundant crop in the fall. The damp soil fills the air with a fresh earthy aroma and the winter wheat planted last fall gives fields a lively green look as the tiny plants stretch toward the warming sun.

With the snow gone and the salt off the roads, the throaty song of Harleys can be heard every day. The riding season is here and we are ready. Or are we? Our equipment was prepared during our winter hiatus and coated with a shiny coat of wax. Weíve made sure there is no rust anywhere on our gleaming steed, but what about on us? What have we done to get our physical skills ready for the new riding season? Perhaps a little time in the nearest parking lot just to blow off the winterís layer of dust and to make sure thereís no rust on them is in order.

Equally important is the condition of our mental proficiency and how weíve prepared it for a new year of riding. These skills are easier to keep honed during our seasonal layoff than the manual ones. If we imagined the snow as green grass and pretended we were riding our iron horse, we would have been continuously practicing our riding strategies. By identifying troublesome situations and thinking about what we would do if we were on our bike can help us keep our mind sharp and ready for riding.

Being mentally prepared for our early rides, especially the first one is critical to opening our riding season on a positive note. Many of the people driving their cars are still bundled up from the chill of springís fresh air. They havenít seen any motorcycles on the road for several months and have no expectation that anyone would be out riding a motorcycle this time of the year. They are not looking for us so we need to be extra cautious.

We also have to be careful during these early rides not to let ourselves become overconfident about how quickly we remembered everything from last yearís riding. Itís exhilarating to have our knees in the breeze again and we can easily find ourselves getting a little aggressive as we tool down the road. But when weíre out there on our bikes and drivers arenít prepared to look for or ready to recognize motorcycles in the traffic mix, we canít afford not to be on the top of our game.

Yes, the fields can be planted without plowing and dragging them. But the seeds have to fight harder to get a good start to the growing season and the results in the fall may not be a plentiful as hoped. Taking the time to properly prepare the fields for planting will pay off in greater yields at harvest time. The same is true for our early season riding. Recognizing that not everyone is ready for our season to begin and adjusting our riding accordingly can result in a fuller and more fruitful enjoyment of our passion.

Ride Smart! Ride Safe!

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