- Check your tire pressure either with a gauge (digital is a good option) or with your bike’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
- Check the condition of your tires
- Check your engine oil level
- Check the condition of your chain if your bike has one
- Ensure your luggage is securely attached
- Check that your control levers and throttle are all working as they should – moving freely with no binding
- Do a walk-around and make sure you don’t see any parts hanging off or fluids under the bike
- Check all of your lights
This last point is the only one on the list that, if you forget to do it, you can take care of while you are riding. When we are touring my wife Mary helps with the light check in the morning before we depart, but I keep an eye on all my lights as I ride (no, I’m not decked out in mirrors a la scooters in Quadrophenia). When you are sitting in traffic with some time on your hands, you can stay busy by checking your lights.
If you are behind a pickup truck, van, or even a car with lots of chrome, you can flash your high beams, verify your driving lights are working, and even check your signal lights.
The same goes for your rear lights. A vehicle with lots of chrome is a real bonus here so tap your brake pedal or pull on the lever if you aren’t already holding it. Turn your signal lights on and off.
All of this can be done in very little time and lets you carry on knowing your lights are functioning and helping you communicate to other drivers what you are doing as you ride.
You can also do this when you are driving in your cage.
Ride responsibly and enjoy your travels.
R. Bruce Thomas