It’s a well-known fact that the weather in Britain can be fantastic one day and then thundery the next. And due to its position between the coldest and hottest two seasons of the year, spring can be particularly unpredictable. Due to this, riders must be extra vigilant; even if the sun’s beating down, there’s a chance that it may have rained heavily the day before and made the roads wet and slick. So, with all this in mind, we’ve come up with a few spring riding tips.
Inspect your bike
If you prepped your bike for use during winter, then you may not need to change a lot to get it ready for the spring months. However, if your machine has been in hiding throughout the colder months, then it’s important you get it ready for spring riding. After giving your bike a good dust-off, you need to check the battery, oil, tyres, brake fluid levels, pads, drive belt/chain, lights and so on. There are plenty of spring checklists on the Internet that can be used as helpful guides.
Consider your clothing
A quick glance out of the window will tell you what you need to wear – but bear in mind that spring’s weather is temperamental and can change dramatically at the drop of a hat. If it’s looking bright and dry outdoors, wear what you like, but always pack a thin set of waterproofs just in case. Getting wet and soggy on a ride is a sure-fire way of getting cold, which is likely to impact on your concentration level.
On warmer days, you may want to wear your favourite summer gloves. If you do, pack a pair of standard PVC catering gloves to wear underneath the gloves if the weather turns inclement. It won’t stop your gloves from getting wet but it will offer a layer of protection for your skin, which will prevent you from developing frozen and immobile fingers that can’t feel or operate bike controls.
It’s also important to consider temperature changes that could occur on your ride. If there are plenty of hills on your planned route, remember that the temperature can drop significantly at altitude and so dress/pack with this in mind.
Watch the road
As mentioned previously, when riding in spring months you should be extra-cautious of slick, wet roads. The roads are most dangerous after brief spells of rain, as the dirt and oil that has risen to the surface wouldn’t have been washed away. If it’s been a particularly wet week, there could be a lot of standing water, so be careful of this, too.
Generally, roads in Britain worsen over winter and unfortunately this can carry through into spring as well. In early spring particularly, watch out for cracks and potholes, and bear in mind that when you approach a puddle, it could be hiding a large pothole underneath it. It may seem pretty obvious, but it’s important to always watch the road ahead of you so that you can spot any upcoming, potential hazards.