Here are some more tips written by riders for riders. Every month, we sort through the tips you send us, and publish a selection here.
We invite you to write a tip for us. Winning submissions are awarded a new pair of protective riding gloves.
Take it to the Track (Video)
Clarence Vigo (2009 rider safety tip competition winner)
Group riding (Video)
By Wendy Reynolds
Get Trained, Stay Alive (Video)
By John Rigoni
Practicing Wet Weather Riding (Video)
By Neil Relph
Think you know how to ride?By Sandy Burgoyne
Learner buddiesBy Shaun Lennard
Ride Smart - just finished itBy Martin Drought of South Melbourne
I did it over about a week and have had several rides during the time. I am quite amazed that I am actually noticing stuff I would have never seen prior to doing the modules. The CD congratulated me for getting 76%, I personally was somewhat disappointed with such a low score.
I went to the Mornington peninsula over last weekend and couldn't stop myself from looking for driveways, side roads, kids on bikes etc and each time I found myself smiling at the results. Thanks for the great job you did in producing such a quality program.
Marty (60 years old and still loving my bike)
Notes from a returned riderBy Glen Roberts of Reservoir
Reasonably new and back into riding, I use my bike daily to commute to work and home again. I leave around dusk or shortly after and ride home again in peak hour rush in the morning.The majority of my riding is at night and I thought I might pass on a couple of tips I've picked up on the way.
• Always prepare yourself for the conditions you ride in and unexpected conditions as well.
• I leave home knowing that by the following morning weather conditions may change so I always include wet weather gear.
• Before you leave give the bike a once-over, it's easier to do at home in the light of the garage than on the side of the road in the dark.
• People tend to think riding in cooler conditions at night means that you don't suffer from the elements as you would on a hot day.This is a misconception, it may be cold outside but because of the clothing you're wearing you may overheat,so it doesn't hurt to have a drink of water prior to leaving and to ensure that you also wear gear that will keep your body temperature even.Don't over-cook yourself and don't freeze. This knowledge comes with time and you'll soon work out which clothes to wear under your protective gear for various weather conditions.
• At anytime you feel uncomfortable, pull over somewhere safe and make the required changes, it only takes a minute or two.
• Wearing a reflective vest will help your visibility with other road users. If you haven't got a vest you can purchase rolls of the reflective tape and sew it to your safety gear.
• Visibility is a critical factor when travelling at night, so do what you can to ensure others can see you.
• Keep out of blind spots. If you see a car is waiting to pull out move the bike a few inches to one side,this slight direction change makes your headlight move and if the car driver's vision was impeded by a sign or power pole it will help catch their attention.
• Adjust your headlights for maximum effectiveness, there is no use having it blazing up the road when your mainlighting source is coming from streetlights as once you get into the smaller side streets you will find that you can't see.
• If you have a blackened or an iridium visor, carry a clear pair of safety glasses (wrap around type)that you can lift your visor and still have protection for your eyes from the wind and the elements.You can normally pick them up for around $5 at hardware stores. Otherwise, change to a clear visor.
• Always remember that at night, and in colder climates your tyres take longer to warm up than during the day, so it takes longer to reach maximum grip. So wipe of a few Ks and give yourself extra room and time.
• During dusk and at night, dew tends to settle on the road making white lines, painted parts of the road and tram tracks extremely slippery. Take care when approaching these hazards.
• Last but not least arrive alive, don't speed, take your time arrive a few minutes late. It's better than not arriving at all.
Water is a LubricantBy Gary Piper of Wodonga
It's not just that water lubricates the road, but the change in harmonics from a dry to a wet road affects tyre grip too. All those little holes fill to an extent with water, and the vibrations set up in the tyre change. Wet roads can drop your tyre's grip by in excess of half its dry "stickability".
siishshshsh, zzzzzz, bang - it's a sound no motorcyclist ever needs to hear. Safe riding all.
Arriving aliveBy Nathaniel Hally of Westmeadows
It was in the far North West of Qld that I almost came amiss. It was at least 40 degrees, my bike was fully loaded, I was drinking more water than my bike petrol and yet the heat still got to me.
On this particular leg of the journey my eyes were extremely heavy. There was no shade to be seen to take a break, so I continued riding. On one occasion I closed my eyes for a split second and found myself on the opposite side of the road. I had to pull over and rest. With no relief from the sun, I laid next to my bike, leather jacket for a mattress, camel pak (water backpack) for a pillow and made the most of the shade from my front wheel. I sleep for about 20 minutes and continued my journey safely.
I can't stress enough how important it is to stop when tired and take a break. Do it even if the conditions aren't perfect, as mine weren't. I arrived alive.
TouringBy Brian Beardon of Narre Warren North
Planning your trip is essential. Touring maps are readily available from many different sources and are available on the internet for download for free.
Once you have planned the route it's always advisable to contact an organisation such as motorcycle touring club, association or the RACV to find out the availability of fuel and road conditions. There's nothing worse than at the end of the day's riding finding out you have to complete a 60km journey on dirt and gravel road.
Your bike preparation is an integral part, ensure that it is serviced and a safety check is advisable. Packing your bike with all the necessary bags and stuff will alter the handling and suspension setup of all motorcycles. A good idea for this is to pack the bike previous to the trip and go for a quick ride, test how the bike fully loaded corners, handles and brakes and try different suspension adjustment to make this as smooth as possible.
Packing for a long trip I would recommend including items such as wet weather gear, first aid kit, cable ties, electrical tape, tools, puncture repair kit, sunglasses and a mobile phone.
Due to the variable range of a motorcycle you usually will need to fuel up every 2 to 3 hours. This is an ideal time also to eat, drink and have a good 15 minute rest period. It is always a good safety thought to lube your chain every 400km. Given it takes approx 10 to 20 minutes for the chain lube to set it's a great time for a rest period.
Night time country riding would be the hardest as the headlights on motorcycles are not the greatest. Sit in the middle to right hand side of your lane to avoid animals merging from the road side. Also when overtaking a car allow for the car to follow your headlight across into the other lane, this is a normal issue for many drivers to follow headlights at night time.
Upon arriving at your end of day location it's always a good idea to call someone to inform them you have arrived safely at your destination, and to check on up the next day's weather condition.
Some other good points:
• Make sure you get a good night sleep before heading off
• Don't drink alcohol during your riding periods
• Limit a day's riding to approximately 600km
• Take regular breaks
• Ensure you drink sufficient fluids to avoid dehydration, particularly in the warmer months
• Give your visor a good clean at each stop, to ensure good visibility
• At each break, do a safety check of your bike, tyres, suspension etc.
• Check with the Local Police, RACV (or similar) or Service Station about road conditions ahead
Suggestions from the high countryBy Jolene Doller of Dartmouth
I'm just a typical country girl originally born and bred in the Goulburn Valley, also known as the 'Flat Land. I moved to the Legends, Wine and High Country in North East Victoria two years ago, but in the last 12 months I've been shocked by the amount of fellow bikers visiting Albury/Wodonga outpatients.
I learnt a few heart thumping lessons early in the piece, so here are a few handy tips before you come to visit.
• I remember my dad saying before I'd head off on long trip, 'have you checked the weather forecast?' Yeah yeah... with the opinion that if you can't ride in the rain you weren't really having a go... but rain up here means a hell of a lot more. When it rains, we get rock slides. When we get wind, we get trees, debris and rock slides. When we get storms we get all of the above plus stray cattle and increased heavy traffic. My suggestion: don't just rely on national weather forecasting, call a local pub and ask them road and weather conditions...preferably around noon, before the amber liquid clouds their vision!
• Critters! Well we've all probably crossed a critter or two over the years, but in hilly territory you'll find an abundance of fat large multicoloured wombats, roos, foxes, rabbits, domestic and wild dogs... My suggestion: during the day keep in mind road kill and farm dogs, Dusk and dawn...take it easy! Fog, critters and tight corners which literally don't see the light. While you're on the phone to the pub ask about them too!
• Many people are not aware that Dartmouth and the Mitta Valley do not have mobile coverage and it's fantastic! But in the event of a mishap... My suggestion: have a destination. Take a mate with you, or if you're after a solo escape, phone ahead with an approximate arrival time.
• Finally, probably the most terrifying encounter you could ever have...the bloody local! My suggestion: avoid at all costs, anticipate every possible move they might make...stopping for no reason, throwing a can out the window, driving anywhere at anytime on the road, and don't presume they have seen or heard you.
The great part about Dart...one road in and one road out...a sealed road with it all...
Hope you come to visit soon! Happy Trails!
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Spokes offers motorcycle riding tips and advice for motorcycle riders by motor cycle riders.