The open road beckons

We can go riding again…

According to the updated rules, we can go out for pleasure rides. Is that sensible? What should you consider?
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As of Wednesday 13th of May, the UK government has eased the lockdown rules for England, meaning that it is acceptable to go for a ride (or drive) for non-essential reasons. Here is the guidance in full. Note: the rules for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales remain unchanged.

According to the new rules, “people may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people
outside your household.”

I chose not to go out today. I had other stuff to do, the weather wasn’t great, and I wanted to let all those with pent up frustration have at it first. I may go out on the bike tomorrow. If you are going to go out for a pleasure ride:

Perform pre-ride checks

It’s likely your bike has been stood still for a while. Do your POWDERSS:

  • Petrol. You don’t want to be doing the walk of shame, do you? That would be some real exercise. Seriously, though: how old is that fuel? Is it pre-winter? Old fuel degrades. Do you have enough?
  • Oil. Check levels, viscosity and colour.
  • Water. Check coolant levels. While you’re at it, check other fuels such as brake fluids.
  • Drive and Damage. Has your chain got rusty? Give it a clean. Has it developed tight spots? Give it a lube. Check slack. Did the bike get dropped while you weren’t looking? Any cracks on the fairings? Any signs of corrosion or brake fluid leaks? Can you pull all the levers? You don’t want your brake lever to snap just before that bend, all because there was a crack in it from a drop…
  • Electrics. All lights working? Headlights, high beam, indicators, brake lights? Horn?
  • Rubber. Check your tyre pressures. Any cracks, etc?
  • Steering and Suspension. Steer from side to side. Is it notchy? Anything catching? Is the suspension nice and bouncy? Have you double checked the preload and damping settings?
  • Self. Are you anxious? Stressed? How are your emergency skills (swerving, braking etc)? Likely to be rusty. Please take it easy to begin with.

Consider whether this is really necessary

I know we’re all itching to go ride. But be honest: is it really necessary? What happens if you have an off? You’re likely to put strain on emergency services, or potentially end up in a hospital with a higher risk of infection. Are you really going out to exercise? Couldn’t you do it closer to home?

Please be sensible and avoid putting yourself and others at risk.

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