As a new motorcyclist, you’ll come to understand that there are obvious things you’ll need for your new ride, like tires and routine maintenance. But there are also some less obvious things that you should think about as you take that first step towards becoming a Woman Rider.
Insurance. Bad things happen. Good insurance will help you repair your motorcycle in the event of a crash or replace it if it can’t be repaired; it will also help protect you financially if you’re found to be at fault in a multi-vehicle accident. Some policies will also help with medical bills if you, your passenger or someone else is injured due to your actions. Some insurance companies have garnered a better reputation than others for their quality service towards motorcyclists, so do your research. Ask friends who ride about their insurance company experiences, and shop around for the best rates and coverage.
Rider Training. You’ll enjoy riding your motorcycle more if you know and understand how to make it turn, stop quickly without locking up a wheel, or swerve when you want it to. Advanced training can help you learn how to negotiate obstacles you’ll encounter on the road or trail. Knowledge is power and control. And a safer ride, too. Some insurance companies even give a discount to riders who have completed a certified training program.
A Place to Call Home. If you’re thinking about getting a motorcycle, have you given any thought about where you’ll keep it when you’re not riding? Motorcycles don’t like to sit outside in the blazing sun, pouring rain or blowing snow. Sitting out unprotected will dull chrome, age rubber and plastic parts, and increase maintenance costs. A cover will help but it’s best to keep your motorcycle inside when you’re not riding it. Do you have a garage or sturdy shed? If not, think about renting a storage unit designed for motor vehicles. Besides being at the mercy of the elements, an unprotected motorcycle is more likely to be stolen, damaged by vandals, or even become an attractive nuisance drawing unwanted attention. (More reasons to have insurance.)
A Good Service Department. If you’re not mechanically inclined, and even if you are, you’ll need to find a shop that has a good service department to perform routine maintenance or to fix problems. Even if you’re able to do some of your own maintenance, today’s motorcycles have complex electronic items like ABS and traction control that require diagnostic equipment to maintain and repair. It’s better to find a good service department before you really need one. Ask your riding friends where they go for service. When you go into a shop, how are you retreated? Is the staff knowledgeable? Are they genuinely helpful by offering you options and explaining things so you understand?
A Place to Store Stuff. Acquiring the motorcycle is just the beginning. You’ll also accumulate riding gear and accessories like saddlebags, tail bags, covers, cleaning supplies, tools, manuals, etc. You’ll find that having a place to keep all of these things together and organized is really helpful. Then you won’t have to spend time looking in the garage or the basement or out in the sunroom for a tank bag or your favorite sheepskin saddle pad, or between the hall closet and the bedroom closet looking for the insulated liner for your jacket. Looking for stuff cuts down on your riding time and can add to your frustration level, which is something you don’t need to be when you’re about to take the bike out for a ride.
Do you have a suggestion for an often-overlooked “thing you need?” Let us know in the comments below!