Wear earplugs. Seriously.

ear plugs
The ear plugs I use have a 33 decibels noise reduction rating

Hearing protection is one of the most overlooked safety precautions when it comes to motorcycle riding. It’s not uncommon to meet older bikers who have tinnitus or have suffered some sort of hearing loss due to the constant wind noise while riding. Ear plugs have two distinct benefits for beginner riders:

1.  The noise reduction is very calming while learning. It wasn’t until my 2nd week of riding that I tried them out, and they made the learning process much less stressful. I didn’t realize how much the wind noise was bothering me.

2.  It’s a good habit to start using them early, and they will save your hearing in the long run.

I prefer the long mushroom shaped plugs; they’re easier to remove from your ears. The brand I buy has a 33 decibel noise reduction rating, which I equate to riding inside of a newer car with the windows rolled up. You can still hear sirens, your own bike, other vehicles around you, etc.

Spring time is here – time to ride again

Angeles Crest Highway
Spring time on Angeles Crest Highway

With winter officially behind us, it’s time to dust off your motorcycle again and start enjoying the dead bugs on your helmet. Just a few reminders for those of you new to riding:

  • Check your tires if you haven’t ridden in a while! Check air pressure and make sure the rubber isn’t too old or cracking.
  • Take it easy – you’ve got all spring, summer and fall to get in some great rides.
  • Be careful if you’re riding the canyons or mountain roads; if it’s been raining a lot in your area, the roads may still be dirty.

Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle

Catching the rare green countryside in southern California
Catching the rare green countryside in southern California

Anytime I take my motorcycle out for a ride, I’m hitting a back road in the southern California countryside. Fortunately it’s not that far of a ride before I’m away from the city and in some beautiful area that makes me forget I live in a huge metropolis. If you want to ride some nice back roads yourself, here are a few tips before you head out to unfamiliar territory. Continue reading “Riding the Back Roads on your Motorcycle”

Older Sportbikes Still Aren’t Good Beginner Bikes

My 2005 Yamaha R6 - still not a beginner bike
My 2005 Yamaha R6 – still not a beginner bike

It’s weird; some bikers that have been around for a while tend to think of older sportbikes as good beginner bikes and will even recommend them as such. If a bike wasn’t good for beginners when it was new, why would it be good for them 10 years later? If they were hard to ride in 2005, they’ll be hard to ride in 2015. Continue reading “Older Sportbikes Still Aren’t Good Beginner Bikes”

Video: Beginner Motorcycle Rider Crashes on Canyon Road; He’s Okay Though

A new rider crashes on highway 33 near Ojai, CA
This beginner rider crashed on highway 33 near Ojai, CA. He was not hurt and the bike’s okay.

It was a beautiful Saturday as seven of us rode out to Ojai, CA. My brother and I stayed in Ojai for lunch while the other five rode up Highway 33, one of the best motorcycle roads in all of southern California. To my surprise one of the riders was still a beginner; he had only been riding for four months or so and was brought along by a more experienced friend.  Continue reading “Video: Beginner Motorcycle Rider Crashes on Canyon Road; He’s Okay Though”

It’s Spring, Time to Ride Again

snow.
It’s been a long tough winter for some riders.

Spring is finally here and it’s time to start riding again, that is if your region has adequately thawed out. If you haven’t ridden your bike in a few months, may I suggest the following:

  • Check tire pressure
  • Get some fresh gas in the tank
  • Clean and lube the chain
  • If your battery’s dead, get a trickle charger to bring it back to life

For those of you thinking about a first bike this year, we’ll have an updated list of our preferred beginner bikes for 2015 soon. Stay safe out there.

 

Lane Splitting Update – California’s DMV and CHP Remove Guidelines from Websites

lane splitting
To split or not to split? That is the question.

Both the California DMV and California Highway Patrol have removed any language pertaining to motorcycle lane splitting from their websites and printed materials, in what appears to be an effort to distance themselves from any perception of endorsing the practice. California is the only state that allows (or rather, doesn’t disallow) lane splitting or lane sharing by motorcycles. For the record, I still split lanes on occasion but do so rather conservatively. You can read the article I wrote about it a few years ago here:

Lane Splitting — Time Saver or Insanity?

Source: Los Angeles Times

Video Guide To Riding Angeles Crest Highway

I’ll be posting a full written guide to riding a motorcycle on Angeles Crest Highway soon, but in the meantime I was able to put this video together to help the uninitiated get an idea of what The Crest is all about and how to ride it safely on a motorcycle.