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Group Riding: Planning Ahead

When you’re new to motorcycle riding, you might want to find a community to enjoy your hobby with. Group riding is a popular pastime for many, especially as you’re getting used to riding regularly. However, there are a few simple rules that you might want to follow in terms of group etiquette…

Group Riding: Make It Easier

Meet ahead of time

Before doing any kind of group riding, it helps to meet up ahead of time. Riding with just one other person can become confusing if you aren’t on the same page. As you’d expect, the more people you add in the group, the more of a problem this becomes.

Having everyone meet up beforehand will ensure you all know what’s going on. That way, you’ll know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. This is also a good time to coordinate any stops, to ensure that no one ends up lost or out of the loop.

Watch your group size

It’s also important to watch your group size when doing group riding. Having too large of a group can end up being a safety hazard. What you’ll find is it’ll be hard for everyone to keep up and have enough space, increasing the chances of someone either splitting from the group or getting into an accident.

In general, it’s good to max out your groups at seven riders. Anything more than that, and you should consider making subgroups instead. Be sure that the most experienced riders lead and sweep the group from the back, to help keep everyone else together.

Stagger your formation

Group riding is all about making sure everyone has enough space. Bunching up will make it harder for everyone to react safely to changes on the road. In turn, you could end up in a pile-up due to everyone being too close together.

A staggered formation can help make sure this sort of situation is avoided. The leader will ride on the left side of the lane, and the second rider will ride a few motorcycle lengths behind on the right side. Repeat this pattern for the rest of the group, and go into single file if the road is curvy or conditions get dangerous.

Road Rash Treatment

It’s important to protect your body while riding your motorcycle. Your bike leaves your head, limbs and skin exposed. That means losing control of your motorcycle can result in your skin ripping across the pavement. While road rash isn’t the most dangerous of motorcycle injuries, it’s still important to know how to treat it. 

Road Rash​ Treatment: Avoiding Infection 

Wash Your Hands to Wash the Road Rash Wounds

When tending to road rash, it’s important to wash your hands. If you’ll be touching the wound, you want to be careful not to transfer germs. Even when you can’t see them, your hands carry plenty of germs and bacteria. So, it’s important to wash them to prevent transferring the bacteria to your wound and causing infection. 

Remove Debris

After washing your hands, work to remove the debris from the wound. In most cases of road rash, there may be pebbles and dirt left in your scratches. Removing this can be a delicate process–especially if your wounds are still sore. Therefore, you may want to use a tool like tweezers to be precise. However, you need to make sure to clean any tools before using them. Just like your hands, tweezers and other instruments can carry germs to your wound.

Change the Bandage

When treating road rash, it’s important to keep things as clean as possible to prevent getting an infection. One way to do this is by washing your hands and cleaning the wound. But another way to do that is to make sure to keep the bandage clean. 

​For the most part, it’s okay to change your covering twice a day–morning and night. However, if your bandage becomes wet or especially dirty, it may be a good idea to change it quickly. By keeping your covering clean, you are taking another step to prevent any infection.

In short, treating road rash is important because the wound can become infected. If that happens, a few deep cuts and scratches can become a serious injury that needs medical treatment. So, be sure to treat your wounds quickly, cleanly, and with care.

Motorcycle Crashes: Identifying and Reducing Risk

Riding a motorcycle can be an invigorating experience. However, when motorcycle crashes occur, that experience can quickly become dangerous and deadly. After all, mistakes and accidents can always happen. But, when you’re aware of the dangers around you, you might be able to take precautionary measures that might reduce your risk. That’s just what we’re here to do…

Motorcycle Crashes: Common Causes

Lane Splitting

Maybe you’re stuck behind a slow driver on either side. You have plans and places to be. So, you decide to ride the line and split the lane. However, in lane splitting, you put yourself at a high risk of danger. When you cross into this area, you are quite often in the blind spot of the vehicles around you. Therefore, when they don’t take the time to check those blind spots before merging, you are at risk of a motorcycle crash.

Driving Under the Influence

This one typically goes without saying, but it’s absolutely worth the mention. Motorcycle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers made up a full third of all fatal bike accidents according to the NHTSA. Riding drunk, just like driving drunk, puts you at major risk of DUI, injury, and even death. While these factors are well-known to most drivers, the danger is that much more when you’re riding a motorcycle and more susceptible to the elements and roadway issues.

Speeding

Speeding is one of the top 3 causes of motorcycle crashes. We understand that feeling. Wind in your face, the open road, and that freeing feeling of flying down the roadway. However, the higher rate of speed, the higher rate of impact. While this is true of any vehicle, it is especially true of motorcycles. As we mentioned previously, you have less protections in place on a motorcycle versus a passenger vehicle.

Car Doors

This one might come as a shock, but car doors can actually lead to a hearty list of injuries when it comes to motorcycle crashes. Think of this scenario: You are driving down a two way street in a neighborhood or metropolitan area. There are cars parked on the side of the roadway which you aren’t giving too much of your attention. Next thing you know, someone whips open their car door and you go barreling into it. Alternatively, maybe you swerve to miss it.

In either scenario, you have the high possibility of sustaining serious injuries. In one, you slam into the car door at a decent rate of speed. There is broken glass, you’ve flown through the air, and potentially landed in traffic. In the other scenario, you might have swerved into another vehicle, fallen into oncoming traffic, or laid your bike down. No matter the specific situation, motorcycle crashes are likely to happen.

Motorcycle Repair Tools: The Bare Necessities

When you have a recreational vehicle of any sort, you are probably going to need a tool or two from time to time. Owning some of common motorcycle repair tools that are get regular use will help for future projects or adjustments. After all, you don’t want to have to take your motorcycle into the shop for every little thing, do you?

Motorcycle Repair Tools: Commonly Used Equipment

Torque Wrench

A torque wrench comes in handy all of the time, making it a must-have for your tool box. This wrench works on everything (not just motorcycles) and helps keep you from stripping or breaking your bolts. A torque wrench is also one of the motorcycle repair tools that will keep you from over-tightening your bolts.

Breaker Bar

Almost opposite of a wrench, you’ll need this to loosen bolts. This tool should be used with great caution, as it can sometimes lead to rounding off fasteners. The breaker bar can be one of your best motorcycle repair tools, or it can be your worse enemy. The key to being successful with this tool is to learn how to use it properly first.

Magnetic Stick

A magnetic stick is a moveable, sometimes extendable, magnet. That’s all. This tool helps in garages, in homes, in cars, and anywhere you might lose small items. This is another of the motorcycle repair tools that you can use for things other than bike repair.

Screwdrivers

Having a full set of screwdrivers can really be a lifesaver. Since screws come in all sizes, screw drivers are not one-size-fits-all. This set of motorcycle repair tools will save a headache when you keep missing the screw because your driver is too big!

Other Items

Other items that are handy to have are things like extra oil pans, drop cloths and rags, and disposable gloves. Gloves will really come in handy (pun intended) when doing work on chains and other parts of the bike that have thick lubricant. The plus side is, most repair tools also serve other purposes. 

To finish this off, we will just say: yes, you need to add these tools to your collection. Having your own motorcycle repair tools will save you a ton of money when it comes to doing simple work!

New Motorcycle: Breaking it In

It’s always exciting to get a new motorcycle. It’s also important to break in the bike properly. However, there’s a lot of debate out there over the “right” way to break in a bike. As it turns out, there is a way to do so which will benefit your bike in the long run…

New Motorcycle: Getting Used to It

The break-in period

First, it’s important to know what the break-in period for a new motorcycle is. Generally, this period is during the first 500-1,000 miles your ride on the bike. However, it’s always a good idea to check the bike’s manual to see what the manufacturer considers to be the bike’s break-in mileage.

Breaking in your new bike is important to help get your bike running at it’s full potential. The friction in your engine is at its highest during this period. This is because the components haven’t been “bedded in” yet, so you’ll have lesser engine performance until they are.

What to avoid

According to some riders, you should break in new motorcycle aggressively. They claim this style of breaking in your motorcycle will prevent the engine from being too weak. However, this style does more harm to your engine instead.
The increased friction in your engine produces more metal shavings than in a broken-in bike. These shavings can then get into your engine oil. Given enough time, and you could end up with these shavings clogging up your oil filter. They could even make their way back into the more crucial parts of your engine! 

Break-in properly

Instead of the previous method, the best way to break in a new motorcycle is by keeping your throttle low. Try to avoid going over 3/4th of your throttle during those first 500-1,000 miles. You should also avoid high engine speeds, so don’t take your bike out on the highway just yet.

You’ll also want to ride as safely as possible. That means avoiding hard stops, fast starts, and rapid acceleration as best as you can. While you can increase your engine speed to the rev limit for a short period of time, you should do this in quick, one-off goes. Don’t make it a habit to constantly rev your bike up all the way while breaking it in.

Tire Replacements: Motorcycle Maintenance

Your tires are an important part of your motorcycle’s performance. However, how do you know when it’s time to consider tire replacements? Knowing the signs can help you get new tires before your old ones completely go bad…

Tire Replacements: When Is It Time?

Depth of tread

Checking your tires’ depth of tread is the most obvious sign if you’ll need tire replacements. Too much wear on your treads can lead to safety issues and even blowouts. However, it’s actually pretty simple to check if your tread has gotten too low. The least amount of acceptable tread on a tire is 1/32 of an inch, or 1 mm.

Therefore, you can actually use a penny to check your tread levels! All you need to do is find the most worn part of your tires (usually in the center). Place the penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head going first. If any part of the tread reaches the head, you have at least 2/32 of an inch. Knowing these handy tricks are key to timing your tire replacements.

Damage

Damaged tires are unsafe tires. If there are major flaws on your tires, it’s probably time to consider tire replacements. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly check your tires for any flaws. Keep an eye out for any bumps. broken cords, or uneven wear. These are some of the more harder-to-spot signs of damage than holes or tears. If you notice any of these flaws, then you’ll know it’s time to get new tires.

Age

Tire age is also something you should keep in mind when it comes to tire replacements. Even if the tires have only a few miles on them, they can still deteriorate over time. This can be seen in some obvious and not-so-obvious ways. If your tires are becoming “weather checked“, then that’s a good sign they’re getting up there in age.

However, some tire manufacturers put anti-oxidants in their tires to help prevent this. Still, the integrity of your tire could still be at risk if it’s too old. If you know it’s been quite a while since you got your tires, you should consider getting tire replacements. 

Having good tires is an important aspect of proper motorcycle safety. Older tires are more unsafe and more accident-prone than their newer counterparts. If you notice those signs of wear or age on your tires, try to get some tire replacements as soon as you can.