What do we mean by a riding plan?... this is some simple, common sense problems that you may encounter on your bike at any time on your journey. Please remember that these points are not intended to frighten you, simply to make sure you stay alert to the ever changing conditions on the roads depending on the weather, the time of year or even what type of rural environment you may be riding your bike in such as if elderly people are around, please consider some may have difficulty such as basic mobility or hearing problems so may not be aware you are there until you are very close, or if it’s early morning please remember some people may be in a hurry if they are late to get to work & perhaps also feeling a little delicate in the mornings because they are not as awake as they think.
What can be seen?
Plan your ride on what you can see ahead. Above all keep your eyes on the road ahead & stay alert to dangers on the road.
The first thing you have to think about when beginning a trip or commute (no matter how long or how short) is how much time you have and where you want to go. Take into consideration your previous riding and how many miles you think you have done/can do in a day. If necessary allow some extra time for your journey or pick a time when riding conditions may be better. Also think about what possible problems may occur such as congestion at rush hour, bright sunshine in your eyeline, will it go dark before i get where i’m going?… or even if it’s been raining & the road drying out, there may be water still in the shade or in hidden places.
What cannot be seen?
Danger can exist on every hidden section of road; expect the unexpected! Concealed junctions, driveways, around the bend.
The road conditions can change as often as every 2 seconds, even on roads you may be familiar with.. ask yourself, how do you know a pothole hasn’t appeared since the last time you were on the road or there may be a child you’ve not seen about to step into the road, plus as above be wary around certain times such as school holidays, farming season etc as this can determine what hazards you may be likely to expect along the way.
What might happen?
Think about the warnings you get. Junction signs warn you that someone may pull out on you, loose hedge clippings or straw in the road might mean a tractor is around the next bend… always be aware what other drivers and riders might do. Ride within the limits of what you can see, and always have a ‘Plan B’.
Always ride to expect the worst.. always wear proper riding attire & maintain your bike as much as possible to prevent mechanical failures.
If you are unsure of anything, always check the weather & perhaps even listen to the traffic & travel reports on local radio or even using some of the many free mobile phone apps out there. There is always plenty of information available just by asking friends, neighbours or colleagues if they know what the roads are like & if there are any road works or accidents along their route which may well affect your journey, so you may well be able to take action by selecting an alternative route or perhaps riding a few miles out of your way just simply so you can stay safe on the roads & out of danger. Minimise the risk to yourself whenever possible.
It may seem bizarre but many advanced driving instructors or police riders will often suggest to riders who are training to do a commentary to themselves while driving – basically talking to yourself out-loud on what you are doing & the driving conditions ahead – because if you can see it, you can say it & it helps you think of what can come ahead better because it helps keep a driver / rider focused… try it, it may help.
If you feel you need some additional help or tuition why not consider doing a course such as Bike sense or come along to one of our bikers breakfasts & have a chat with some police riders or seek the advice of an expert motorcycling tutor who will happily dispense free advice when asked.