Advice to new riders from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
Get the right gear. British weather changes very quickly and you can often find yourself wet, cold or hot which isn’t ideal. Invest in a four-season kit and keep an eye out for the weather. Invest in the best-rated crash helmet you can afford and don’t be tempted by unknown second hand ‘bargains’
No headphones. The temptation to listen to music whilst riding will always be there, but it is important to hear what is going on around you. You need to be aware of other traffic and other road users for your safety, and in this day and age – security
Sat-nav is becoming a commonplace on touring bikes now but be aware that it still poses a distraction threat; the screen tends to be small and in sunshine or rain it can be hard to see. It helps to have an idea where you are heading and if you are unsure, pull over safely to check
Keep it safe. We recommend locking your bike on something that is fixed and not moveable. If your bike is to be kept outside and you have a suitable area, consider fitting a ground anchor to lock it to. Even a really expensive lock is cheaper than replacing your bike
Remember that maintenance is key. Whatever your riding plans, commuting in winter or touring the countryside during summer, regularly cleaning and servicing your bike will help keep it in good condition and allow you to spot any potential problems early on
Even if you currently have an A2 category licence and are restricted to riding bikes with no more than 35kW maximum power, remember that your bike will still have much quicker acceleration than the vast majority of cars. This can, of course, be an advantage in many situations but, be sure to take the time to get used to the performance.
Don’t feel obliged to ‘keep up’ with other riders. Have the confidence to ride at your own pace, and make your own decisions, especially when it comes to overtaking and filtering.