Riding a motorbike is a special experience that can foster feelings of freedom and bliss. But, before you get to that calm and peaceful driving level, its important to prepare yourself, both physically and mentally, for the demands of the road.
Check the Motorbike
- Check the brakes, lights, blinkers, gas tank and meter, tire pressure, chain, mirrors
- Consider taking it to a trusted mechanic so he can give it a look
- Take a test drive, preferably with someone who has ridden a bike before so they can also assure that the bike runs smoothly and is working properly.
Know which side of the road to drive on
- Most of us have been raised in one country for the majority of our lives and are naturally conditioned to keep to one side, so, it’s important to engrain in your mind which side traffic proceeds. Its easy to forget when you hop on the bike the first couple of times—especially in chaotic, bustling towns!
To name a few:
Left side: Australia, Indonesia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, England, Fiji, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, India, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa
Right side: USA, Argentina, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Myanmar, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Dubai, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Spain
Notice your physical and mental state before you ride
- If you feel uneasy and lack confidence, better to postpone the first ride.
Make sure the streets are dry and rain is not in the day’s weather forecast
- After it rains, the streets are slippery and it is easy to fall. Better wait till the water dries.
- If it begins to rain on your ride, go slow, always use your blinkers and headlights, hand signals. Better buy a rain poncho at a local mart.
Get a proper helmet & always buckle it!
- A full-face helmet is ideal because it protects your chin, jaw, and neck, more than an open face helmet.
- Make sure the strap works properly and you are secured.
- Always buckle it! What a bummer it would be to get into an accident while wearing your unbuckled helmet that’ll be flying through the air away from your falling body.
Know the road you plan to drive
- Are there any potholes? Are small children or animals running around? What sharp corners will you be rounding? Be in the know!
Always be looking ahead
- Be aware of any possible situation that could occur
- Stay on your toes, one step ahead of the person in front of you. Anticipate the drivers move and be aware of which way they are looking. People forget to use their blinkers often
- Take it slow. Better safe than sorry!
Adjust your mirrors before you start riding
- You’ll want to see who is behind you or possibly passing you on either side so that you do not lean into them possibly causing an accident
Choose appropriate footwear
- Sandals and slip-on shoes are not secure.
- Make sure you have boots or close-toed shoes with ties or Velcro.
Know the motorbike laws in the country you’re riding in
- They all vary
- Some places have particular lanes for motorbikes. Be aware.
Add this as the last point: Lock your bike! – Ask the renter or someone nearby how to lock the steering wheel or request a chain to lock around the back tire. – Bikes can easily be stolen and can cost a pretty penny. – Take precaution early on! – Most bike steering wheels can be locked by turning the wheel car left and twisting the key one notch down past the off slot.
Riding a motorbike is a thrilling experience when you are confident and aware of all the rules of the road. Expertise comes with time. Taking it slow is essential in the first few weeks as you adjust to this new style of driving. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. The motorbike community is almost always supportive and helpful.