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National Ride Safety Officer

Fall Riding Tips

fall-picture

October 23, 2016
From 
 Tim “Sarge” Ruland,  Ride Safety Officer, MD-5      

Fall Riding Tips

Fall riding season is here.  Depending on where your Chapter is located the exact conditions may be different, and while many may already be contemplating getting your ride ready for the long winter, Mother Nature is still giving us some decent weather at times.  Here are five tips to remember as you enjoy the crisp autumn wind in your face as you enjoy the remaining rides.

Watch out for Dry or Wet Leaves

The autumn colors are spectacular to see as you ride, but they can be dangerous as they start to fall, causing a few different hazards for which you need to stay alert. Dry leaves can collect on the road and cover potholes or other road conditions that can impact your ride. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware of the conditions, especially on roads that you aren’t familiar with.  Leaves that get wet from rain or morning dew can cause slick pavement. Try to avoid these situations and if you can’t be extra careful when you do ride through them.

Deer Season

Deer season is on us. Deer are more active in the fall season as they are looking for food or moving away from hunters.  Deer are everywhere, even in urban neighborhoods, so be alert. Meeting a deer up close and personal on your ride can really ruin your day.  Wear your protective gear and always scan the sides of the road, especially during dusk and dawn.

Appreciate your Leathers

Fall is a great time to ride, the cool, brisk air is always more comfortable than the searing heat of mid-summer.  If you haven’t got a good set of leathers, now is the time to look at them. They can protect you from the wind in addition to providing you the protection if you do have an accident.  Besides,  a rider in leathers just looks good.

Dress in Layers

Weather can be very unpredictable this time of year.  It will go from chilly or darn right cold in the morning, to warm and sunny in the afternoon and then back down quickly as the sun sets.  Remember to dress in layers or bring extra layers with you when you ride, especially when it will be a long ride. Have a good set of rain gear as well, cold and wet can ruin a great ride and at this time of year can potentially lead to hypothermia. No one wants that to be the culmination of their ride.

Frost and Ice

 Fall nights can lead to morning frost. Remember, be aware of this if you start out early in the morning. That think layer of ice on the road will force you to loose traction and nothing good comes after that happens. Shaded areas will frost up first so know where you are riding and be prepared.

Bottom line, autumn is my favorite time of the year to ride, the scenery is fantastic, traffic on the back roads is often less and as the leaves start to drop the landscapes and views become more open. Enjoy this time of year, just remember to be prepared and above all…

RIDE SAFE AND HAVE FUN


Riding In Hot Weather-Keeping Cool On Your Bike


Source: Fix.com Blog


May 10, 2016
From National Sr. Ride Safety Officer 
Christian “Cloner” Cloen

Well it’s May and riding season has begun.  As I look at meetup I see numerous organized rides for chapters as they get out and support our mission and growth.  As you are out there, please be aware of a few things so that you both enjoy your ride time, fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and most of all return home safely at the end of the day.

Remember, when we ride in a group, we ride staggered. Keep a distance of two bikes between you and the bike in front of you.  Do not be the person who causes the slinky effect, meaning you go slow, then throttle down to catch up.  This causes many problems, but one of the biggest is that you are failing to maintain the two bike space rule and essentially taking away another riders escape route should something happen that requires them to act fast to avoid a hazard.

Before each ride check over your bike.  Make sure all nuts and bolts are tight, nothing is hanging that could fly off and hit the person behind you, your tires are good, your breaks are good, all saddle bags and tour packs are closed, and all lights are in working order.

Finally, remember, cars are not used to us being on the road quite yet, therefore as they talk on their phone, eat their cheeseburger, put their makeup on, or just drive along daydreaming to the music on their radio, they are not looking for you and will change lanes into you, pull out in front of you, and cut you off without caring or realizing they are doing it.  So when you are out riding, either on an organized ride, with a group of friends, or by yourself, ALWAYS RIDE ON THE DEFENSIVE AND LEAVE YOURSELF AN ESCAPE ROUTE TO AVOID ANY HAZARD THAT MAY TURN UP!

Review the ride safety guide and know your hand signals!

Keep the rubber side down, the shiny side up, and enjoy the wind in your hair!

Semper Pro

Fraternally,

Chris “Cloner” Cloen

National Sr. Ride Safety Officer


Winter Safety Tips

January 19, 2016
From National Sr. Ride Safety Officer 
Christian “Cloner” Cloen

Winter has finally decided to make its arrival both in the Great Lakes area and now the East Coast.  Now that the cold upon us, the rain is now turning to ice and snow.  With continued lake effect snow in the Great Lakes area, and now, projected snow storms along the east coast, I wanted to take a minute to remind everyone the importance of driving safely in the winter time.

Snow on the ground means making the transformation from 2 wheels and open air, to 4 wheels with doors, windows, and metal around us.  However, just because you are surrounded by a cage, it doesn’t mean that you should be any less safe in how you handle your vehicle and your surroundings.

Here are some tips to remain safe in the winter time:

  1. Leave your vehicle with 2 wheels in the garage;
  2. Place an emergency kit in your 4 wheeled vehicle with the following items:
    • A blanket;
    • Jumper cables;
    • Flairs or safety triangles
    • A small shovel
    • A small bag of kitty litter
    • Non-perishable snacks
    • Water (yes it will freeze, but it will thaw in the heat of your vehicle and come in handy if you get stranded on the roadway)
    • A charger for your cell phone
    • A set of warm clothes (if you get stuck in a situation where you have no heat, layers is the key to staying warm)
    • Anything else you can think of that can help you get through at least a 12 hour period while waiting for help to arrive;
  3. Always drive in accordance with road conditions, just because the speed limit says 55 doesn’t mean you have to do 55;
  4. Always maintain a safe following distance, increasing the distance in poor weather and road conditions;
  5. Never Slam on your brakes, if you find yourself sliding, pump your brakes creating the same effect that ABS has;
  6. If your vehicle has ABS, it does not mean your car cannot go into a skid;
  7. Just because the road may look clear of ice does not mean that it is, this is the time of year where black ice is present when you least expect it;
  8. Overpasses ice over quicker that the road surfaces;
  9. 4 wheel drive does not mean 4 wheel stop, the traction and handling in a 4 wheel drive vehicle is great in the snow, however, you do not know if there is a layer of ice underneath that snow;
  10. Drive within your abilities, it doesn’t matter who is passing you (most likely you will pass them in a ditch), drive at a speed in which you feel comfortably in control of your vehicle while maintaining the ability to react quickly in an emergent situation.

This of course is not an all-inclusive list on how to safely drive in the winter time during snowy conditions.  They are just merely suggestions and reminders to go along with the things you already have learned through years of winter driving.

Remember, safe driving while in your car or truck ensures that you will be able to hit the open road on 2 wheels once the weather warms up, the snow and ice melts, the salt has washed off the road surface after a good rain, and the sun is shining up high in the sky!

For those of you who find yourselves in an area where lake effect, winter storms, or nor’easters are forecasted at times, when the storm hits, the safest thing to do is stay inside by the fire (if you have a fireplace) and watch the snow fall through your window from the warmth of your home!

Enjoy your 4 wheeled vehicles, but I can’t wait to see all of you on 2 wheels in the spring!

Fraternally,

Cloner

National Sr. Ride Safety Officer


FALL RIDING SEASON IS UPON US

FALL RIDING SEASON IS UPON US

September 01, 2015
From National Sr. Ride Safety Officer 
Christian “Cloner” Cloen

Some bikers put their motorcycles away after Labor Day weekend, but many look forward to what can be some of the best riding weather. If you’re planning on riding during autumn, make sure your bike is safe and ready to handle the change of the season.

Here are a few safety reminders to help you stay safe and avoid an accident, even as the leaves begin to change:

Check the Mechanics

After the summer riding season, your bike may need a tune-up. Check that all parts are functioning correctly and that you have good tread and air pressure in your tires. Make sure your fluid levels are good and that all controls are working properly.

Wear Proper Clothing

Autumn has many temperature changes. It can be quite chilly in the morning and still reach the mid-70s or 80s in the afternoon, depending on where you are. The best thing you can do to adjust to the changes is to dress in layers. You should never wear cotton as a base layer. Use thermal underwear or something with a synthetic blend as your base layer. On top of the base layer, wear comfortable riding attire. Don’t wear a hoodie, but rather a zip-up sweatshirt or shirt.

Beat the Wind With Leather

It might be too hot to wear leather during the summer, but it’s perfect for fall. Leather motorcycle jackets or chaps can protect you from the wind and keep you more comfortable while riding. They usually also have removable liners.

You can wear riding boots with synthetic liners and wool socks. This combination will let your feet breathe in case they get warm.

Finally, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of synthetic glove liners underneath your leather biker gloves and pack fingerless leather gloves in a storage compartment. You’ll be able to switch in the afternoon when you get too warm.

Switch to a Half- or Full-Visor Helmet

Cold air can be harsh on your eyes, so switch to a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.

Bring Your Rain Gear

A raw, chilling rain can cause hypothermia quickly, especially if you’re not wearing the best riding attire. Always pack your rain gear, just in case.

Watch for Riding Hazards

Fallen leaves can be very slippery and cause accidents, and many deer are more active during autumn – especially during dawn and dusk. Keep your eyes out for any riding hazard so you have time to react.

Following these guidelines can help you make the most of your fall riding season and enjoy the weather before any snow sets in.


Safety Safety Safety!

July 20, 2015
From National Road Captain Gil “Seeker” Blankenship

By now many of you may have already heard about the I-85 accident which took out 6 motorcycles – killing 1 and wounding 5 members of the Black Eagle Ryders MC. Take a moment to read this article and watch the video about the accident.

Remember – SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY. Unless you absolutely have to, do not pull off on the side of the highway. Find a safe place to pull off. Take an off ramp, find a parking lot if at all possible.

I know that it isn’t always possible to do this. Bikes break down, people have to pull over for one reason or another – this is why we do not pull the entire train over. Leave one brother or sister with the bike and the rest travel on to a safe location, using the bread crumb method.

http://wtvr.com/2015/07/18/holmberg-details-emerge-about-richmond-bikers-involved-in-horrific-i-85-wreck/

This is also why it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that RCs have a sign-in sheet of all riders and passengers.

Remember that ride reports, sign-in rosters and accident reports are required to be filled out for each event, reported at your monthly meeting by the RCs and RSOs then forwarded to your State Officers who will then forward copies on to the National for record keeping.

RSOs – please cover this story at your monthly chapter meetings. Ensure everyone is trained on hand and arm signals as well as procedures to take during rides, including taking appropriate rest (food, water, gas) breaks, and the breadcrumb method.

Semper Pro!

“Seeker”

National Sr. Road Captain


Bike Inspection for Riding Season

The season is upon us, so Let’s Ride!  But before we do, let’s make sure our iron steeds are road ready.  If you follow the simple steps outlined below, you will know that you are ready for the road, if not you may just be guessing.  I have also attached an inspection checklist.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends using “TCLOCS” as a pre-ride inspection reminder: check Tires, Controls, Lights and Accessories, Oils and Fluids, Chassis and Chain, and Kickstand before each ride.

  1. Check your tire pressure. Under or over inflated tires can translate to poor handling and stability.
  2. Operate the throttle, clutch, front and rear brakes and shifter. Make sure they are all working properly.
  3. Check your brake lights, turn signals and all other electrical equipment and switches, including the horn.
  4. After warming up your motorcycle, sit it up straight, remove the oil tank cap and use the dip stick to check the oil level. Add oil if necessary.
  5. Unscrew the fuel cap and make sure there’s plenty of fuel. Many tow companies can not tow motorcycles and running out of fuel is not good for your bike.
  6. Make sure your drive chain or belt is adjusted according to specifications.
  7. Turn the handlebars to make certain your bike is turning smoothly and properly.
  8. Look for any oil, gasoline or hydraulic fluid leaks.
  9. Check your suspension system and chassis.
  10. Check that the side stand is operating properly.

Download the T-CLOCKS Inspection Checklist

– Manny “Rev Man” Perez, National RSO


Tips for Group Riding

With the riding season upon us, the National RSO would like to share these important safety information “Tips For Group Riding” from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Please click here and familiarize yourselves with these helpful and informative riding tips for group riding. This document can also be found under the H&H DOCUMENTS link on the left hand side of every page in this web site.

– Manny “Rev Man” Perez, National RSO


Quick Tips to Prevent Motorcycle Theft

Every year more motorcycles are stolen because owners become complacent or we get a false sense of protection.  Don’t let yourself be victimized.  Here are a few tips to protect you:

Follow these basic tips to help avoid becoming a victim of motorcycle theft:

  • Lock your ignition and remove the key. Most bike thefts occur when the ignition is shut off, but not locked.
  • Lock the forks or disk brakes with locks that have large, brightly colored tags.
  • If traveling with other riders, lock motorcycles together when not in use.
  • If riding alone, lock your bike to a secure, stationary object that can’t be easily dismantled, such as a light pole.
  • Add an audible alarm to your motorcycle.
  • When traveling and spending the night at a hotel, locate an outdoor security camera and park your bike in the camera’s view. If this is not possible, park your bike close to your room.
  • Keep an eye on your bike. When parking at a public event, check your motorcycle periodically, especially immediately after leaving your bike, to make sure there are no suspicious individuals lurking about.
  • If parking in a garage, block your bike with automobiles, close the garage door and make sure it is locked.
  • Don’t store your title in your bike’s storage compartment, tank bag or saddlebag. The safest place for your title is at home.
  • Uniquely mark and then photograph your bike. If thieves take your bike, note its unique markings to law enforcement using the photos you have taken.
  • Keep your bike registration and insurance identification card on you when you ride.
  • Be careful about giving out private information on where you live, work or play.

Keep the Shiney Side Up!
Rev Man
Hogs and Heroes Foundation
National Ride Safety Officer


Tire Safety

When was the last time you inflated your tires?  For many people the answer is never.  The unfortunate consequences of not monitoring your tire pressure on a regular basis (at least every couple weeks) are reduced fuel economy, unstable handling and accelerated tire wear.

With a simple tire gauge you can transform the handling and performance of your scooter or motorcycle.  How do you do this?

Step 1: Research what your tire pressure should be.  You can usually find this information on a sticker on your vehicle, in the owner’s manual or online.

Step 2: Buy or borrow a tire gauge.

Step 3: Check the tire pressure when the tires are cold.

Step 4: Pump up your tires using a portable pump or you can often pump them at a gas station or your favorite shop.

Step 5: Remember to replace the caps onto your tire valves.  Also use the opportunity to remove rocks from your tire tread, check for tire wear and inspect that you do not have screws, nails, glass or staples in the tires.

– Manny “Rev Man” Perez, National RSO


Safety Tips for Riding Season

The Riding season is upon us, so Let’s Ride! But before you do lets make sure that our bikes and ourselves are ready.  If you follow the simple steps outlined below, you will know that you are ready for the road, if not you may just be guessing. I have also attached an inspection checklist.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends using “TCLOCS” as a pre-ride inspection reminder: check Tires, Controls, Lights and Accessories, Oils and Fluids, Chassis and Chain, and Kickstand before each ride.

  • Check your tire pressure. Under or over inflated tires can translate to poor handling and stability.
  • Operate the throttle, clutch, front and rear brakes and shifter. Make sure they are all working properly.
  • Check your brake lights, turn signals and all other electrical equipment and switches, including the horn.
  • After warming up your motorcycle, sit it up straight, remove the oil tank cap and use the dip stick to check the oil level. Add oil if necessary.
  • Unscrew the fuel cap and make sure there’s plenty of fuel. Many tow companies can not tow motorcycles and running out of fuel is not good for your bike.
  • Make sure your drive chain or belt is adjusted according to specifications.
  • Turn the handlebars to make certain your bike is turning smoothly and properly.
  • Look for any oil, gasoline or hydraulic fluid leaks.
  • Check your suspension system and chassis.
  • Check that the side stand is operating properly.

Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Riders can improve their safety on the road by following some simple safety tips:

  • Wear a U.S. DOT-approved helmet, face or eye protection and protective clothing.
  • Know your motorcycle and conduct a pre-ride check.
  • Be seen. Wear reflective clothing and put reflective tape on your protective riding gear and motorcycle.
  • Use common sense by riding sober, obeying all speed limits and allowing enough time to react to dangerous situations.
  • Practice safe riding techniques and know how to handle your motorcycle in adverse road and weather conditions. Road conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces that usually pose minor annoyances to motorists are in fact major hazards for motorcyclists

Safety Tips for Motorists Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

  • Look out for motorcyclists – be aware that motorcycles are small and may be difficult to see. Check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections. Large vehicles can also block a motorcycle from a motorist’s view and a motorcycle can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
  • Allow more following distance – leave at least four seconds when following a motorcycle.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Respect a motorcycle as a full-size vehicle with the same rights and privileges as any vehicle on the roadway. Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width as the motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely in all types of road conditions

– Joe “ JOKER “ Babylon,  National Ride Safety Officer


Tips on Riding in the Rain

  1. Choose a rain suit that incorporates a breathable membrane such as Gore-Tex, Reissa, Hipora or similar material.
  2. Pack your rain suit on top, not at the bottom of your saddlebag.
  3. Watch windshield wipers of oncoming cars to see if it’s raining ahead.
  4. Put your rain gear on before the rain starts.
  5. Wear bright colors for increased visibility to others.
  6. Transfer wallet, keys, and other essentials to waterproof outside pockets.
  7. Your windshield should be low enough to look over, not just through.
  8. Use four-way flashers in heavy rain or fog.
  9. Increase your following distance, and watch for tailgaters.
  10. Avoid standing water as it can hide potholes and debris.
  11. Check tire pressures periodically. Underinflated tires are more likely to hydroplane.
  12. Tap rear brake in advance of normal braking distance to alert followers.
  13. Gently apply brakes periodically to wipe rotors of water/mud/debris.
  14. Watch out for painted lines, arrows, etc. as they can be particularly slippery.
  15. After the ride, don’t pack your rain gear away until after it’s dry.

Another tip also added by Michael “Bighead” Abbott of Thunder Roads Magazine…

IMPORTANT – UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU EVER PULL OVER UNDER A BRIDGE. OTHER DRIVERS WILL SEE YOUR TAILLIGHTS AND THINK THAT’S WHERE THE ROAD IS AND PLOW THROUGH YOU. If you must pull over, pull off the highway and look for gas station or bank with a drive through.

– Joe “ JOKER “ Babylon,  National Ride Safety Officer


Post Summer Season Safety Tips

Some bikers put their motorcycles away after Labor Day weekend, but many look forward to what can be some of the best riding weather. If you’re planning on riding during autumn, make sure your bike is safe and ready to handle the change of the season.

Here are a few safety reminders to help you stay safe and avoid a motorcycle accident, even as the leaves begin to change:

Check the Mechanics

After the summer riding season, your bike may need a tune-up. Check that all parts are functioning correctly and that you have good tread and air pressure in your tires. Make sure your fluid levels are good and that all controls are working properly.

Wear Proper Clothing

Autumn has many temperature changes. It can be quite chilly in the morning and still reach the mid-70s or 80s in the afternoon, depending on where you are. The best thing you can do to adjust to the changes is to dress in layers. You should never wear cotton as a base layer. Use thermal underwear or something with a synthetic blend as your base layer. On top of the base layer, wear comfortable riding attire. Don’t wear a hoodie, but rather a zip-up sweatshirt or shirt.

Beat the Wind With Leather

It might be too hot to wear leather during the summer, but it’s perfect for fall. Leather motorcycle jackets or chaps can protect you from the wind and keep you more comfortable while riding. They usually also have removable liners.

You can wear riding boots with synthetic liners and wool socks. This combination will let your feet breathe in case they get warm.  Finally, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of synthetic glove liners underneath your leather biker gloves and pack fingerless leather gloves in a storage compartment. You’ll be able to switch in the afternoon when you get too warm.

Switch to a Half- or Full-Visor Helmet

Cold air can be harsh on your eyes, so switch to a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.

Bring Your Rain Gear

A raw, chilling rain can cause hypothermia quickly, especially if you’re not wearing the best riding attire. Always pack your rain gear, just in case.

Watch for Riding Hazards

Fallen leaves can be very slippery and cause accidents, and many deer are more active during autumn – especially during dawn and dusk. Keep your eyes out for any riding hazard so you have time to react.

Following these guidelines can help you make the most of your fall riding season and enjoy the weather before any snow sets in.

– Joe “ JOKER “ Babylon,  National Ride Safety Officer

– Joe “ JOKER “ Babylon,  National Ride Safety Officer


Motorcycle Safety Tips

1.) Be Ready: mind, body, and bike.

There are three ways riders should ready themselves for a ride. First, there is mental readiness. Before taking your bike out, your mind should be clear and drug and alcohol free in order to focus on the ride you have ahead of you.

Second, you must be physically prepared. Protective gear is a must in protecting your body while riding a motorcycle. Protective gear includes: a good fitting helmet, gloves, eye protection, jacket, long pants, and sturdy boots or shoes. Note that reflective or bright colored protective gear will help you stand out in traffic. Physical fitness will help your riding in countless ways including, comfort on longer rides and better and sharper reflexes. Also, try some stretching exercises before you ride.

Third, you must check the condition of your bike. This includes fixing the parts that break, as well as regular maintenance, such as: regular oil changes, properly adjusted controls, a properly adjusted chain and suspension, good tires, working turn signals, and checking of tire pressure. A quick walk around the bike before riding could point out leaks, loose bolts, tire problems, or anything else out of place.

2.) Be smooth.

It takes plenty of concentration, but smooth control of your ride has plenty of specific benefits. Your fuel economy improves dramatically and you are less likely to lose traction due to an overzealous use of the throttle.

Smooth riding includes matching the engine speed to the proper gear and road speed. Having your bike in the right gear keeps the power for accelerating or engine braking close at hand, while also keeping the bike running along smoothly. You maintain your best traction when your inputs are smooth, including your steering inputs. Harsh or abrupt pressure on the handlebars can upset the suspension. Smooth, firm counter steering keeps the bike on your desired line and creates little instability in the suspension. Your tires, brakes, suspension, and bearings will last longer, too. Smooth riding makes for less wear and tear on your bike.

3.) Know where you are.

Being aware of what is in your immediate space cushion will always help you guide your ride safely. Failure to be aware of your position in relation to those around you can cause dire consequences when faced with the need to make a quick lane change. Pay special attention to what’s in front of you, especially oncoming traffic. It’s easy to disregard traffic traveling in the opposite direction but that is where the greatest threat lies.

4.) Use Your Head To Look Where You’re Going.

This may sound slightly remedial but it is an under-appreciated habit of a skilled rider.  As you round a turn, keep your head and eyes up, looking through the corner as far as you safely can, at least three to four seconds ahead. (If you can’t see that far ahead, you need to slow down until you CAN see three to four seconds ahead).

5.) When your line of sight or path of travel becomes restricted, reduce your speed and use great care.

Simply put, if you can’t see, slow down. Rain and fog are examples of situations where less speed = more reaction time = safer riding. Curvy forest and mountain roads’ sightlines are shorter; you need to reduce your speed to be prepared for surprises like deer or big rocks.

6.) Before proceeding through any intersection, check left, check front, check right, then check left again.

As you enter an intersection, whether turning or proceeding through, you need to know what your hazards are and where they can come from. The highest priority is to check your left. Why left? The left is the highest priority because that is the lane of traffic you first cross and therefore would be the first to impact you. After the left you continue to check the intersection in a clockwise pattern, and then check left again. You check the left twice because in the time it takes to check all other directions, the situation has probably changed to the left.

7.) Check your rearview mirror before you slow your speed.

Too often, what is out of sight is out of mind. As you slow down for any turn or a stop, you need to be aware of what is happening behind you. At the moment you begin braking or rolling off the throttle, you need to check your mirrors. (Your attention up to this point has been primarily in front of you, so once you start braking, you are already minimizing any hazards in that direction). This is part of your general awareness of what is happening in your surroundings on the road. The habit to acquire is to check your mirrors every five to seven seconds, and also any time you roll off the throttle. Combine that with gentle application of both brakes and rarely will a stop be anything more than routine.

8.) Keep a 2-4 second following distance.

When traveling on a highway, the minimum distance to keep between you and the vehicle in front of you is 2 seconds, but that is the bare minimum. Keep in mind two seconds is the distance needed on clear sunny days. At night or during inclement weather you need to increase your safety margin to four to eight seconds. You should maintain these cushions as best as possible including the time you find yourself riding in traffic or with a group of motorcycles.
To figure your distance correctly pick a point on the road, like a sign or a seam in the pavement, watch the vehicle ahead of you pass it and count the seconds it takes you to reach that point. The number of seconds you count is your following distance.

9.) Ride with a great attitude.

When you ride, you are an ambassador of motorcycling and the Hogs and Heroes Foundation to the general public and it is your responsibility to ride accordingly. On anything other than wide open country roads, you have a choice while riding: ride with the flow of traffic, or fight it. In order to maintain a good image for fellow motorcyclists, as well as keeping yourself safe, please always use your best judgment while riding.

10.) Practice.

The very best time to practice these habits is every time you go out for a ride. Spend at least a few minutes every ride concentrating on each of these habits and soon they will become second nature to you. Don’t focus so hard on practicing that you lose sight of the job at hand. Instead, integrate practice into your normal riding routine.

Taking any of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) courses is always a good idea. If you are newer to riding, the Basic Rider Course (BRC) will give you a good foundation of riding skills and help you break any bad habits. The Experienced Rider Course (ERC) is a great idea even if you’ve been riding a long time. Even people who think there isn’t anything left to learn about motorcycling come away with new, powerful knowledge and skills from either of these classes. The cornerstones to safe motorcycling are knowledge, training, attitude, and practice. They are what make a good rider.

Semper Pro

Christian “Cloner” Cloen

National Sr. Ride Safety Officer


Winter Storage -Total Motorcycle’s 10 Step Guide to Winterizing your motorcycle

Outside a single white snowflake falls… Disbelief falls on your face as another snowflake falls… Then you realize, another riding year over and it’s time to put the bike away for the winter. This is the time to get in that last few riding days and put our bikes properly away for the winter so they are ready for the next riding season to start again.

This would be the wrong way to store your bike for the winter.

This would be the wrong way to store your bike for the winter.

Storing your bike for winter

Well, it’s that time of year again! Soon the snow will be falling and the motorcycles will be tucked away for the winter

And each spring your dealer’s phone will ring off the wall with customers who did not store the ol’ bike properly and now wonder why it won’t run.

Some preparation now will ensure that you are out riding in the spring instead of waiting in the dealer’s lineup.


1. Location – where are you going to put it?

One solution may be to ask your dealer if he offers a storage program. This is ideal because he will often prep, store, and have the bike ready to ride when you are ready again. If you decide to store it yourself, you will need a place that is dry and out of harm’s way.

When possible, choose a location away from windows. The ultraviolet light can fade paint and plastic parts. Direct sunlight can raise the ambient temperature of the storage area which will promote condensation when the sun goes down, so cover plain glass with some sort of opaque material. Also, cover your bike with a specially designed bike cover not a sheet or a tarp. Why? Because a sheet absorbs moisture and hold it against metal surfaces and then rust forms. Also, damp fabric will breed mildew and this may attack the seat material. A tarp prevents moisture from getting in but it also prevents it from getting out. Moisture trapped will condense on the bike and then the rust monster is back!

A specially designed motorcycle cover is made of a mildew resistant material. The material is slightly porous, so it can breathe.

2. Change The Oil

Tip: Just like car, colder winter grade oil will allow your bike to start easier in colder weather. If your motorcycle runs ok with a cold winter grade oil (5w30) then changing the oil to this grade will help start up and running in spring.

Even if the oil is not due for a change, byproducts of combustion produce acids in the oil which will harm the inner metal surfaces. Warm the engine to its normal operating temperature, as warm oil drains much faster and more completely.

While you are at it, why not change the filter too? Add fresh motorcycle grade oil. Remember to dispose of the drained oil and old filter in a responsible manner. What to do with the old oil? Recycle it. Most stores you have purchased the oil from will take it back free of charge to be recycled.

3. Add Fuel Stabilizer and Drain Carbs

Tip: You only need to drain the carbs if your motorcycle will be stored more than 4 months. Otherwise just add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, run the bike for 10 minutes so it mixes and gets into the carbs.

Fill the tank with fresh fuel, but do not overfill. The correct level is when the fuel just touches the bottom of the filler neck. This gives enough room for the fuel to expand without overflowing the tank when temperature rises.

Shut off the fuel petcock and drain the carburetors and the fuel lines. Add winterizing fuel conditioner to prevent the fuel from going stale, and help prevent moisture accumulation. Stale fuel occurs when aromatics (the lighter additives) evaporate leaving a thicker, sour smelling liquid. If left long enough, it will turn into a gum, plugging the jets and passages inside your carbs!

4. Lube the cylinder(s)

Tip: You only need to do this if your motorcycle will be stored a very long time (6 months or more)

Because gasoline is an excellent solvent and the oil scraper ring has done its job, most of the oil from the cylinder walls have been removed since the last time the engine was run. If the cylinder wall is left unprotected for a long period of time, it will rust and cause premature piston and ring wear.

Remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon (5 cc) of clean engine oil or spray fogging oil into each cylinder. Be sure to switch off the fuel before you crank the engine or else you may refill the drained carbs! Also, ground the ignition leads to prevent sparks igniting any fuel residue. Turn the engine over several revolutions to spread the oil around and then reinstall the plugs. Refitting the plugs before cranking the engine could result in a hydraulic lock if too much oil was used in the cylinder.

5. Battery Storage

The battery must be removed from the motorcycle when it is in storage. Motorcycles often have a small current drain even when the ignition is switched off (dark current), and a discharged battery will sulfate and no longer be able to sustain a charge.

A conventional battery should be checked for electrolyte level. Add distilled water to any of the cells that are low and then charge the battery.

Battery charging should be performed at least every two weeks using a charger that has an output of 10% of the battery ampere hour rating. For example if the battery has an AH rating of 12 (e.g. 12N12A-4A-1 where the 12A is 12 amp hours), then the charge rate of that battery should not exceed 1.2 amps. A higher charge will cause the battery to overheat. Charge the battery away from open flame or sparks as the gas (hydrogen) given off a battery can be explosive. Elevate the battery and keep it from freezing. Exercise the proper caution appropriate to caustic substances.

6. Surface Preparation

Waxing and polishing the motorcycle might seem like a waste of time since you are putting it away and no one will see it. But applying wax is a very important part of storing a motorcycle. Wax will act as a barrier against rust and moisture.

Don’t forget to spray any other metal surfaces (such as the frame or engine) will a very light spray of WD-40. This will keep these areas shiny and protect from corrosion as well.

7. Exhaust and Mufflers

Exhausts/Mufflers are known to rust fast when they are not used. So making sure they are properly stored for the winter on your bike will save them from an early rusty death. Spray a light oil (such as WD40) into the muffler ends and drain holes. Lightly stick a plastic bag (shopping bag is fine) into the end of each muffler hole (to keep moisture from getting inside the exhaust). Then cover each muffler with another plastic bag to keep outside moisture off.

8. Tires

Check both front and rear tires with your air pressure gauge. Make sure each tire is properly inflated to the maximum recommend pressure. As it gets colder, air condenses in your tire so it is important to pump them up as to keep your tires healthy. Rubber is a flexible material and does not like to freeze (it cracks when it freezes). Placing 1/4″-1/2″ piece of cardboard or wood board under each tire will help keep the rubber raised up from a freezing floor.

DO NOT use a tire dressing on tires (such as Armor-All or tire cleaning foam) as this will make the tires hard and slippery.

9. Service all fluids

If the brake or clutch fluids haven’t been changed in the last two years or 18,000 km (11,000 miles), do it now. The fluids used In these system are “hygroscopic” which means that they absorb moisture. The contaminated fluid will cause corrosion inside the systems which may give problems when the motorcycle is used next spring. Be sure to use the correct fluids and note the warnings and instructions in the service manual. If you don’t have the experience to service these systems, contact your dealer, he will be happy to assist you.

If your motorcycle is liquid cooled, the coolant requires changing every two years or 24,000 kms (15,000 miles). Make sure that the engine is cool enough to rest your hand on it before draining the system and please dispose of the coolant responsibly. Coolant/antifreeze is available from your dealer and has been developed to provide the correct protection for your motorcycle engine. Mixed 50/50 with distilled water will ensure a clean system for the next two years or 24,000 kms (15,000 miles).

10. Cover it.

Now you can cover the bike with the cycle cover and look forward to the first warm day of spring.

Back On The Road

Before you head out onto the highway, there are a couple of things to do. First, remove the cover and put it where you can find it again. Talking of finding things, locate the (charged) battery and reinstall it connecting the positive (+) cable (red) before the (-) negative and covering the terminals with the plastic covers. Recheck all fluid levels and turn on the fuel. Check for anything wrong on the motorcycle (cracked tires, broken parts/plastic, leaking oil). Set the tire pressures back to riding specs and you are ready to fire up.

As you don your riding gear, remember that you’re riding skills will be a little rusty and the road surfaces will have changed a bit since the last ride, so go carefully. Sand/salt deposits on the edge of the road and especially at corners may be hazardous.


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