Getting on the bike again – Part two

Thinking of getting back on your bike this Spring after some time away?

If you are, there are some golden rules to follow if you are to do so in safety…

It may be as recently as autumn when you were last out on your bike – or it could be even longer than that. There are plenty of riders who love their bikes but give them up for family reasons, only to return to two wheels in their 40s and 50s.

Whichever it is, a few months or a few years, we want to get you thinking about what you need to do before you ride off on your first adventure. Here are some hints and tips…

Which bike?

If you are returning to riding after a few years away, don’t be tempted to think big when it comes to the bike you are about to ride. You may have been happy on a 500cc muscle bike in your twenties, but now you are in your 40s or 50s something a little smaller might be a better option. A bike with too much horsepower might not be as much fun as your remember, particularly if it wrecks your confidence and it proves too heavy to handle.

Start with a lightweight 125cc. These are powerful enough, easy to handle, manoeuvrable and lightweight. They’re also more affordable to buy and run. You can always get something bigger once you have gained confidence and sharpened your road senses.

Take a refresher course

The best way to build your confidence and improve your skills is to talk to the experts – on a bike refresher course. These are aimed at people with prior riding experience who just need some tips to freshen up their thinking and skills. Good courses will cover road position, handling, getting the best out of all traffic situations, riding techniques and changes in the law.

A half-day refresher will cost £150-£250 and a full day £200-£400.

That’s a bargain for what you’ll gain from the experience. Click to see some training options

Start easy to stay safe

Riding a motorcycle safely is great fun but comes with a lot of risks attached. No matter how skilled you are, you are very vulnerable out on the road and your margins for error are really small.

Returning riders – whether it’s been a few months away or longer than that – should start slow and build their confidence gradually. Plan your first ride back as a short trip, preferably in light traffic, in good weather. Cancel if it is wet and slippery, or the light isn’t very good.

Don’t push yourself or the bike and save any day-long cruising until your confidence and skills have returned.

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