Many of us didn't get to ride this winter (STFU S. California) and believe it or not, we won't be able to hop onto our bikes and be at 100%.
Hopefully you took the time when you put the bike away to winterize her properly. Her fluids were changed, her battery contently topped off by a trickle charger and all her surfaces protected. However, even if you went the full monty, it's still time to give her that thorough once over. I like the MSF TCLOCS sheet
. It's exceptionally thorough and makes sure that everything gets the attention it needs.
Now, remember those glorious months of binge eating and all those promises about losing that weight? Let's talk gear. Does it still fit? If so, how old is it? Gear doesn't last forever and every year there are phenomenal new updates that you should probably look into. If you're still rocking your 1970's bell helmet, I'm talking to you! Helmets shouldn't be older than 5 years old. Not only do their materials break down over time, but the enzymes in your sweat play a major role in that deterioration as well. This goes for your gear too. The road at 25 mph is like a big belt sander. If you're not ok with a belt sander touching you somewhere on your body, get gear to cover it (anyone wear chaps?).
Finally, there's you. Let's face it you aren't the rider you were at the end of last season. Time away from the bike means lack of familiarity, loss of our muscle memory and a slight detachment from reality when it comes to our "skill level". Before hitting the road, schedule some parking lot practice. Refine those quick stops, master those swerves and work on your overall bike control with some figure 8's and u-turns. I like the last 40-60 pages on the MSF riding tips booklet
It's a great place to start but obviously work on challenging yourself. Make the weaves harder, practice the perfect technique and remember you're not going to do it perfectly right away.
Want to work on becoming the best rider you can be? Sign up for a ridercourse. Hopefully you've already taken the Basic RiderCourse and the Experienced RiderCourse. Now it's time to look into other courses in your area. I highly recommend a Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, a stayin safe trip, the MSF Advanced RiderCourse- Sportbike Techniques. All three are open to all bike types and will give you extra tools in your toolbox for those quandries life throws in our way.
Good Luck and God Speed