If you are an experienced Open Road Girl, you have a great opportunity to take pride in helping new riders learn and refine their skills. And remember, none of us ever stop learning. Every ride is a great opportunity for all of us to grow and develop our riding skills. If you are a new rider, the best thing to do is find a more experienced friend to go on a ride with. The best way to learn and improve is to watch how an experienced Open Road Girl handles the open road.
Other tips to keep in mind:
- Be Seen!
Don’t blend in. Make sure you wear bright and safety/neon apparel. Check out the Open Road Girl’s hot pink pullover hoodie (an Open Road Girl favorite to make sure you are SEEN).
- Never Ride When You Are Tired
Don’t push it. Set a rule for stopping & stretching to refresh yourself at least every 100 miles.
- Keep A Cusion Between You and Other Riders
Leave 20 feet between you and any other rider.
- Wear Gloves That Are Best For Your Hands
If you have smaller hands, it can be harder to work your clutch. In an emergency situation, this is important. Thinner gloves will give you more control. They don’t keep the cold out, but you can buy heated grips.
- Ride With Other Open Road Girls and People You Trust
Do not ever ride with someone who is drunk, a show off or who doesn’t know how to handle his/her bike. It is safer to ride alone.
- Light on the Clutch for Turns and Slow Riding
To avoid tipping your bike, “feather” your clutch when you turn into a parking lot, make a “u-turn” or need to slow ride.
- Straighten Out Your Curves
If you start at the outside of your lane, move to the inside of the lane in the curve and then back outside, it narrows the curve.
- Be Ready to Save Yourself
When you pull up to a traffic signal and stop, keep your bike in gear and an eye on the traffic coming up behind you. Always know how you will escape an accident.
- Don’t Look Where You Don’t Want to Ride
Look for clear spots, look through your turn, and keep your eyes on where you want to go next. This will maintain your confidence and prevent accidents. Don’t look at a curb because you may hit it. If you are riding the edge of a cliff, don’t look over it because it might scare you and cause you to go over the edge. Staring at the back of a car may cause you to hit its rear bumper. Keep your eyes on your destination.
- Be Careful Driving Around Large Vehicles
Delivery vehicles, semi-trucks and construction equipment can make it hard for others to see you. They can also cause wind currents. Try to always stay within the view of the driver’s mirror. Don’t ride next to them and pass quickly and safely when the coast is clear.
- Wear the Right Boots
Be sure to wear solid, over-the-ankle boots to prevent your foot from slipping or your ankle giving way in an emergency. Make sure they have good cushion in the soles for comfort.
- Don’t Use the Front Brakes First
When something jumps out in front of you, or you are about to miss an exit ramp, never hit your front brakes first! Train yourself to always reach for the rear brake first so you don’t spill.
- Look for Sand, Dirt and Debris in the Road
Avoid driving over sand, gravel and other debris. Pay special attention around construction sites and stay out of the shoulders of the open road. If you can’t avoid it, go through it slowly and smoothly. And if you are riding with others, be sure to point at it.
- Wear a Helmet
Many states mandate that riders must wear a helmet for safety. If you are in a state that doesn’t mandate it, it is your choice Open Road Girl. You have to choose between the freedom and feeling the wind in your hair versus that added layer of protection for your beautiful brain.
- Don’t Drink and Drive
Even a couple of drinks can slow your judgement and impair your reaction time. The best policy is to avoid alcohol until your bike is safely parked for the day/evening.
Contributed by Lisa Lundmark (aka Lisa Lake)