No one celebrates the end of this long, cold winter as bikers do. As the time to put your bike back on the road approaches we’re all eager to feel that first ride. But little do we know that that first spring ride can be one of the most dangerous ones.
Older bikers already know what to watch out for, but a reminder or two never hurt anyone, and new bikers should consider all these hidden dangers before they go out for their first ride this spring.
Traction-aiding substances such as salt, sand or gravel have been covering the roads over the winter. They stick around for the first few weeks after the snow has melted and they tend to gather in corners and intersections. The consequences of hitting this stuff can be really tragic, so watch out for it at all times.
We’ve had heavy rains and so much snow this year, as we all remember too well. Erosions can occur after snowmelt and they can undermine the footing of roads, especially at places where there’s little road maintenance (some of those places tend to be bikers’ favorite roads). Pay special attention if you’re headed for a mountain road, and keep in mind that previously firm ground can crumble away at the edges of asphalt and the verges.
Snowmelt, along with busted water pipes, can create powerful steams of water running across road in random, unexpected places. Even if there is no actual water present, the previous flow could have swept debris across the road.
Potholes are created over the winter. They are formed as water expands and contracts with freezing. Small ones aren’t dangerous, as long as you don’t hit one while braking or cornering. Pay special attention if you’re riding somewhere in the Northeast because potholes over there can get big enough to swallow a truck, let alone your bike.
With spring come animal babies and with animal babies comes migration in search for food and water. Pay attention if you ride near bodies of water during dusk and dawn hours. We don’t want to kill a baby duckling now, do we?
We know you’re eager to start riding again, but you are going to need to take extra caution. Even with the winter gone, it’s still darn cold out there in some regions, and your sportbike tires are simply not designed to work at temperatures below 50 degrees. Besides that, you are going to need to dress accordingly. Spring is awesome, but it’s not summer yet. Going down with a cold after your first ride is never fun.
After a long winter without riding, it’s not just your skills that might be rusty. Watch out for other bikers, especially on popular riding roads. They’ve all waited for the first signs of spring to take their bikes for a ride, and many of them need a ride or two to get their skills back to the fullest.