Spring Checklist: Or What Price Neglect?

Foolishness and neglect are the best of bedfellows and their moto spawn is all to often a concussion, at the least, and/or an addled and expensive hospital stay at next to worst.

Yesterday I went for what was for me an extended bike ride. On the return loop shifting gears got a bit wonky.  I dropped the chain into the gutter between the big chain ring and its  neighbor. I did it again…. and again. I left it in a medium low gear and made it home none the worse for wear. I laid the bike up and the following day, today, I sprayed up the works with chain lube prior to another ride assuming that the chain was just sticking. Chain lube is not holy water. Two blocks down the road at a light I stood on the topmost pedal and put my weight down on it to get me going. The chain jumped again – same spot and I went sideways over the bars and onto my back as the chain slipped and the pedal went sharply groundward. While I lay there part way into the intersection I was mostly surprised. All too often in an accident everything seems to slow down a bit. Not this one: push on the pedal, crunching noise , on yr. ass. Voila.

When I got the bike to the side of the road I looked it over closely. 4 of 5 bolts that hold the big chain ring on had worked themselves sloppy loose. They must have been a bit loose for a while and yesterday’s extended ride just worked on them and that is why the chain kept popping off. This is a foolish thing to have missed and a simple thing to rectify. I was already working up this post about checking your ride after the winter layup and this little safety vignette delivered itself to me in an awkward aerial ballet along with a bit of a stiff back.

There are some very good places to go on the intertoobz to get a spring checklist of things to attend to before you pull hibernating machine from its cave. I will list a couple at the bottom of this post and I welcome you to add yours. Read through them and then take the time to go through your bike. Cleaning it is often a very good way to start. Look it over.

Bring out the wrenches – tighten up bolts all around. Do you have leaks? Attend to it.  Fuel leaks, dripping oil – attend to it. Now is the best time. When the riding season comes in full bloom to your part of the world you won’t want to devote saddle time to nit-nit repairs. Do it now.

Tires: are they cracked? How much tread depth do you have? Are your wheels balanced and properly aligned in the frame. It doesn’t take much to check that out. Spoked rims? Are all of your spokes tight? Allow rims: any cracks?

Clutch and brake fluids topped off? Is this the year to flush the systems, bleed them and install new fluid? Are your electrics in order? All the lights and switches work? No frayed wires in the harness? Pull off the tank – take a look around.

In an upcoming post I am going to have a go at what tools and sundries are best to carry under the seat in the limited room available there. If you have tips and ideas for that post let me know. A CO2 cartridge tire filler device is already on my list.

Ok, try these links for spring cleaning and checkup ideas:

http://www.allaboutbikes.com/feature-articles/motorcycle-maintenance/6771-get-your-motorcycle-ready-for-spring

http://www.insurancehotline.com/spring-motorcycle-preparation-checklist/

 

Gerde Applethwaite

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