Article By: Doug Quinn, Motorcycle Underwriter for Progressive Insurance
Originally Published In The June 2011 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
With the snow finally meting away, it’s time to get our bikes out of storage and on the pavement again. Here are a few tips from Progressive Insurance to keep you and your bike on the road. Riding your motorcycle is a great way to get out on the open road and see the countryside. While most of the time everything goes as planned, occasionally your trip can be derailed by a breakdown or accident. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to help maximize your time on the road and minimize your time on the shoulder.
Maintain Your Tires
Check your tires before each ride. Look for any excessive wear, imperfections or damage, so you can avoid a blowout. Remember to roll your bike forward to check all tire surfaces. Take your bike to a repair shop if you find problems with a tire. Also keep in mind that the life of a car tire is not the same as the life of motorcycle tire. On a motorcycle, the majority of the weight is at the rear. That means you will usually replace the rear tire two times before you replace the front tire. Check the tire pressure on your motorcycle before each ride. If your tires aren’t inflated properly, they can wear faster. Check your tire pressure when your bike is cool, before you start riding. You can find the proper tire pressure for your motorcycle on the side of the tire or in your owner’s manual.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Maintain your ride with regularly scheduled fluid and filter changes. When you fill up your gas tank, check your bike before continuing on your journey. If your bike has a belt or chain, take the opportunity to check the tension when you change the oil in your motorcycle. Regular maintenance can save you money down the road because small issues won’t become bigger, more costly problems.
Be Ready To Make Easy Repairs
Pack the necessary tools to repair your bike. Make room in your tank or saddle bag for a tire repair kit, spare fuses, plugs, extra bulbs, chain links, basic tools and a flashlight.
Bring Extra Supplies
Bring sun block, lip balm and a spare key. Pack a first aid kit with bandages, disinfectants, gauze, latex gloves, alcohol pads, scissors and tweezers. Having the right gear means you’ll be able to spend more time on the road and help you avoid minor issues that may come up along the way.
Be conscious of traffic and weather conditions. Make sure drivers can see you by wearing bright clothing and using reflective materials. While you’re on the road, position your motorcycle so other drivers can see it.
Make Sure You Have The Insurance You Need
Review your insurance policy to make sure you have the right coverages for you and your ride. You should feel confident that your insurance company will be there for you if you need it. Consider adding roadside assistance for a helpful addition to your motorcycle coverage. This is useful when you’re far from your garage and a shop you know and trust. Regardless of where you are, a call to Progressive gets your bike to the closest qualified mechanic and back on the road to the rally. For less than a dollar a month, you get Roadside Assistance coverage and you won’t pay a penny on the shoulder or at the repair shop. Just sign a receipt, and you’ll be back on your way. Consider adding trip interruption coverage if you take long motorcycle rides far from home. At Progressive, this coverage pays for expenses if you get stranded on a trip at least 100 miles from home. And it only costs $5 a year when it’s paired with roadside assistance.