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So we’ve planned our route, organised the stops and are ready to meet up the group. Now is the time to stop and take a moment. The building excitement of those last few minutes as we roll the bike out of the garage and prepare to leave means that we often neglect to carry out those simple little checks that can save our lives.
The last minute walk round before mounting your bike achieves a couple of important things; it focuses the mind on what we’re about to do when we ride out on our powerful two-wheeled machine, and it enables us to take one last careful look at those little things that can go wrong. Watch an airline pilot doing his checks before take off – he does this every single time and logs every check. Whilst we may not be hauling a couple of hundred people a mile up into the sky when we go for a ride, we are putting ourselves in a place where the risks are high.
So what are we looking for? Remember that this is largely a visual check; put the bike on the centre stand (if you have one of course) and check the surfaces of both tyres….all the way around. You’re looking for anything stuck in the tread, unusual wear patterns or cracks in the sidewalls. Check the fork stanchions for leaks around the seals. Is the chain sagging? Is it lubed? Turn the engine on and check the lights – especially the brake light.
Little things, yes, but every one is a potential hazard if not spotted early. Be safe – take that minute to walk around every time you ride. It could save your life!