Five things motorcyclists can do before winter

By: On: October 31st, 20090 Comments »Updated: July 20, 2013

Autum Motorcycle RidingAs the warm riding season ends for motorcycle or scooter owners,  many simply park it until next spring.  You don’t need to be one of them.

Autumn is a really good time to take care of some simple maintenance and to have some fun too.

Here’s a look at five things riders can do before you storing their bikes for the winter.

1.  Go on a toy run.  This is a nice way to help out less fortunate children and their families for Christmas.  Of course, Christmas is not just about toys, but why not give a kid a break by donating a toy, and at the same time, enjoy some late-season riding with other like-minded motorcyclists?  Last year,  I joined the Union County (NC) Christmas Bureau toy run, and will be doing it again on November 7th.

If you are not one to join a group ride, how about packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child and riding to your local Samaritan’s Purse drop off location with it?   If you don’t have a ride like this in your area, take the chance to organize one through a local charity.  I’m sure they would be happy to help you get started.

2.  Check your motorcycle tires and battery. First, check your tires for pressure and wear.  As the weather cools, you’ll likely see a drop in tire pressure.  Low tire pressure really messes up your motorcycle’s handling and is a sure way to get yourself in big trouble in turns.

The cold weather will kill a weak battery too.  Especially if you ride with heated grips or if you wear heated riding gear, make sure your charging system is up to the task.  A lot of motorcyclists use a battery maintainer, such as the Battery Tender, to keep their battery ready for action between the fall and winter stretches of bad weather days.

3.  Protect your chrome.  If you putting your bike up for winter, don’t put it away dirty!  Give your motorcycle a good cleaning and a coat of wax to help avoid pitting of the chrome, oxidation of the aluminum, and don’t forget to clean off the nasty brake dust from your wheels and suspension too.

If your motorcycle has a windshield, give that a cleaning too, but make sure you do it right or you’ll scratch it all up.  You can learn how by reading Motorcycle Windshield Cleaning 101 if you’re not sure.  Plexus plastic cleaner works great for this.  You can order it online from Cycle, or at other good online shops including Motorcycle Superstore and Bike Bandit.  It’s a good thing to do before you throw a cover over the bike for storage.

4.  Take a rider safety course.  Check at a community college to see if there are any openings left in their rider safety courses and sign up for one.  Often, courses are still offered when it is cold out. No matter how long you have been riding, you can not go wrong by sharpening your skills under the guidance of a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor.

Some motorcycle insurance companies will give you a slight discount on your rates, and some motorcycle shops will also give you a discount if you show them your MSF card that you get for completing the course.  If you have not got your motorcycle permit or motorcycle license yet, here’s your chance to do so.

5.  Go visit a motorcycle shop.  If you’ve been planning to buy a new motorcycle, scooter or moped, there probably has not been a better time to do so!  Sales of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds have dropped severely this past year.  Dealers are left with last year’s, and even the prior year’s models and are getting lots pressure for manufacturer’s to order the new models right now.

If you have more good ideas about how riders can stay involved with motorcycles and scooters before the bad weather hits this winter, let us know!

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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