Imagine the following scenario.
You are about to fly off on a much-needed holiday to the sun. You have boarded the plane, stowed your luggage in the overhead bin, fastened your seatbelt and started to flick through the in-flight manual looking for the list of the films that will be playing. Over the loudspeaker comes the pilot. He’s out of breath, panting as he explains – “Sorry for the… err…delay folks… only my kids were late getting up this morning, then the cat puked on the carpet, my car wouldn’t start and the traffic was… awful. So I’m running a bit behind… would anyone object if I skipped the pre-flight checks and we just took off?”
What would your reaction be?
If, like me, you’d probably say “Whoa, hold on a minute! Just run through the checks and we’ll just take off a few minutes late!”
Why is that? I suspect it’s because we don’t want anything to go wrong with the plane because we’d die.
Now switch to you leaving your house to go out riding your bike. What pre-ride checks do YOU do?
The risk of dying if something were to go wrong with your bike is probably not as high as the plane example, but it is still likely that you’d get hurt. So a simple, 2-minute pre-ride check would be worth it, surely?
Now here’s a simple way to remember those checks – and trust me, they won’t take more than 2 minutes. And they could save you a great deal of pain!
For the machine checks, remember POWDERS:
Petrol – do I have enough or will I need to stop? (don’t want to start an overtake only to find I run out part-way past!)
Oil – a simple glance at the sight-glass (if the bike has one) and a check for leaks around the engine and brake hoses
Water – if the bike is water-cooled, check for leaks and a glance at the level in the expansion bottle will suffice
Damage/Drive – check nothing has worked loose and check the chain is oiled (a dry chain can snap!)
Electrics – switch on the ignition and check lights, indicators and horn (bearing in mind Highway Code rule 112!
Rubber – quick check of the tyres, looking for embedded objects and any sign of damage (see notes below)
Steering/Suspension – quick check the steering moves freely from lock-to-lock and the suspension isn’t leaking
Notes – these are the minimum pre-ride checks, you should still frequently check oil levels, tyre pressures, etc more thoroughly!
But don’t forget to check you are ready to ride too – remember I’M SAFE!
Infection – I’m not ill and unfit to ride!
Medication – if I’m taking any, I need to ensure it won’t make me drowsy or unfit to ride
Sleep – I need to ensure I’m adequately rested – don’t want to fall asleep at the bars!
Alcohol – riding under the influence is a no-no!
Food – am I likely to be distracted by my belly rumbling?
Emotion – I don’t want to ride unless my mind is fully on the job, so best avoid riding angry!
Hopefully these 2 simple words – POWDERS and I’M SAFE – will help you remember to do your pre-ride checks, you never know, they could save your life!