With the cold weather ebbing its way out of the air, and the dead branches and bushes resurrecting from their dormant winter dressings, spring brings life to the world and to the heart of the biker. Its the time of year your buddies all start asking if you can come out and ride this weekend, and the time you start to make long ranging plans to wander the mountain roads and desolate deserts on your two wheeled stallion.
5 TIPS TO MAKE SPRING RIDES AWESOME
1. IF YOUR GONNA DO IT, "WEAR PROTECTION" -
Protection comes in many forms, gear, riding in a group, planning your route, making sure people can see you. When it comes to spring riding make sure to keep in mind that most cage drivers have forgotten that you exist during the winter, it takes a while for the average driver to remember to watch for motorcycles. So have some fun with it, wear bright colors.
Even though the weather is warm, going down on the asphalt wearing nothing but a T-shirt can yield some pretty messy results... so wear the right clothing to be on a bike, boots jacket and jeans at a minimum.
Although a lonesome ride in the mountains can be enjoyable, spring is a great time to ride in a group and there is safety in numbers, don't be a loner... call up your brothers and ride together. For the last four of five years my group has taken to riding with SCALA or other intercoms, it makes communication way easy and believe it or not it has saved my bacon a few times when my buddies have warned me of obstacles, idiot drivers and speed traps.
2. A killer Play-List
Im an AC -DC to Zeplin kinda guy, but whatever your flavor is make sure you have some tunes for the road. I get into conversations all the time about what the best music for the road is... and I'll be honest I'm not sure thats a question that has a single answer. Ride with what you love (Even if its Taylor Swift).
Here are a couple of links to some great lists
3. Don't Plan Your Route! - Entirely
OK you have to have some idea of where you want to go ... or else you you would end up stuck in traffic in china town (maybe not such a bad thing). My point here is that destinations are only one point in what can be an entire journey or an adventure. So if you are going on a ride to enjoy spring give yourself a direction but then get out there and explore the places you haven't been, find that road your buddies never new existed with the perfect curves. Stop in at the restaurant you would never have thought existed with the worlds best double baked potatoes.
The most fulfilling part of being a biker is exploring the world around the roads and enjoying what is behind every curve. Like Bugs Bunny its ok to miss that turn back in Albuquerque, because there's a lot out there you never new existed.
4. Never come home the way you left -If you can avoid it -
I have found that its never a good Idea to take the same route back home that was used to get to where I was going. For whatever un-explicable reason rides are always a little bit more boring when you are simply looking at life in reverse. If you plan your ride in a loop, you will spend the entire ride looking forward, which has a phsycological effect on the way you feel about the experience.
Moreover, if your ride is a loop rather than a down and back you will not experience the feelings of "Now its time to go home" - which is like being called home from dinner by your mother - always a downer moment.
5. Stop and smell the roses... or eat some instead! - KEEP THE ROUTE ALIVE
Ok not many of us are going to pull over to the side of the road and eat some rose pedals but the meaning is hidden inside the phrase. Life is too short to stick to the normal way of doing things, and as a biker you kind of want to break the mold. Find new ways of looking at the road and the world around you and try to find experiences that will help you see the world through new lenses.
If you are going to experience spring, find a meaningful way of doing it. Finding small missions for your ride are helpful. A great example come from a buddy of mine... He decided that on a ride through the sierras he was going to stop at as many country stores as possible or was reasonable and present himself as a lemonade taste tester. He challenged each store to present him with the best possible lemonade and he would judge them on a grade from 1 - 10. It was silly and many of the stores didn't even have a lemonade other than the bottled stuff. Regardless we had a blast doing it - and it kept the route alive for us.
Find your own way to make your rides meaningful by thinking outside the box or by running the box over with your motorcycle ... whatever you do make it meaningfully unique and you will have a blast.
Here are a couple of fun ideas:
- Decorate your helmets with your biker names - or some steer horns
- Follow the route of a famous figure ( Pioneers, Pony Express, Bonnie and Clyde)
- Stop along side the road and have a race, arm wrestle, bike challenge... make the looser wear an embarasing T-Shirt or Sign.
- Pick a destination meaningful to your family history or past
- stop and skip rocks, or roll boulders off a cliff
- If you ride with your wife or girlfriend, make up your own road game
- Go hunting for Big Foot, Chupacabra, whatever.
- Find a hidden restaurant and put it on the map
The best ideas you will come up with at some random spur of the moment time... JUST RUN WITH IT and live a little.