If you’re new rider who has just passed your bike licence test, you’ll be eager to get out on the open road. But the costs of doing so can sometimes spiral out of control if you’re not careful, what with the costs of purchasing everything from a bike to your actual riding kit.
There are some things that you can spread the costs on according to your budget – but one thing that does remain priceless – and something you do not want to risk – is your life. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, offers some helpful tips and advice.
Choose the right bike
It’s vital that you choose the right bike to suit you. Do you really need a big tourer or a superfast sports bike for the daily commute? Take a little time and advice from a good dealer to make sure you choose the bike that’s right for your level of skill, experience and budget.
Get the right gear
British weather changes very quickly and you can often find yourself wet, cold or hot which isn’t ideal. Invest in a four-season kit and keep an eye out for the weather. Invest in the best rated crash helmet you can afford and don’t be tempted by unknown second-hand ‘bargains’.
The temptation to listen to music whilst riding will always be there, but it is important to hear what is going on around you. You need to be aware of other traffic and other road users for your safety, and in this day and age – security.
Now that sat-nav is becoming commonplace on motorcycles (and scooters), be aware that it still poses a distraction threat; the screens tend to be small and in sunshine or rain, it can be hard to see. It helps to have an idea where you are heading and if you are unsure, pull over safely to check.
Keep it safe
Lock your bike to something that is solid, fixed and not moveable. If your bike is to be kept outside and you have a suitable area where you can regularly park it, consider fitting a ground anchor to lock it to. Even a really expensive lock is cheaper than replacing your bike.
Remember that maintenance is key. Whatever your riding plans, commuting in winter, or touring the countryside during summer, regularly cleaning and servicing your bike will help keep it in good condition and allow you to spot any potential problems early on.