Left your motorcycle unridden during the raining season and concerned that you may be a bit rusty? Relax – you're not alone.
First, assess your physical fitness – you'd be surprised how much your reactions will be affected if you not been on a motorcycle for a few months. And if you haven't had your eyes checked for a while, it's worth getting them done – you want your vision to be good.
It's important to dial yourself in slowly – you will be rusty, so take your time. Start with a road you know and take it steady. It's best to go out in good weather, so you're not distracted and the road is as grippy as it can be. Maybe go out with a like-minded motorcycle friend, so you can give each other feedback.
But be disciplined – having a race would rather defeat the object. You need to be thinking about your riding technique, not chasing speed. The speed will come back if your riding technique is right, but you don't want to go crazy on your first ride out. You need to readjust to the brakes – and make an effort to get the best out of them. Most of us spend something like 98 percent of our time on the throttle, so the feel for that will come back reasonably quickly. But getting used to the motorcycle's brakes again takes more time. Find a quiet, straight, dry road so you can safely practice stopping hard, building up from 30km/h to 50, 80, 100 – maybe even 120km/h emergency stops.
The next thing to consider is your depth perception and how you read bends. You need to get used to looking further ahead, scanning around you and looking for the vanishing point to read corners. Get used to moving about on the motorcycle – turning your head to look through corners, dropping your shoulder and bending your inside arm for each bend. We're not talking about massive hang-offs, just getting comfortable with being flexible on the motorcycle again.
And finally, take things steady on your first few rides, but don't be timid. Make sure you get up to speed where you can – don't dawdie along with fast cars crawling up you exhaust pipe. Be positive with the throttle and build your confidence. Remember, concentrate on your technique and the speed will come when you're ready.