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Preparations for a Safe Ride on a Mountain

Many of my most fond memories on a bike are aboard my Harley Davidson Softail and cool air flowing past my face with the buzz of the engine drowning all woes. Seeing the dotted yellow lines looking like a single solid strip is always a bliss. Imagine experiencing all these on a mountain, it’s therapeutic. The mountains have extreme weather changes, 1000 ft. drop-offs, long arcing curves, sharp shoulders, and a scenic view. The breathtaking view always awes me regardless of the times I have taken the trip.

Riding on the mountains is more risky than regular streets, but you get a more rewarding sense of achievement. As a rider, you owe yourself a ride on a mountain. However, to be able to come back and tell the tale you have to be mentally and physically prepared. Let me share what I have learned over the years.

Get prepared

You have to check the mechanical fitness of your bike and select the proper riding gear. It is safer finding a problem before you begin the rid rather than on the trail.

Brakes and Fluids

Well, I have always emphasized on good brakes and having the right braking techniques. A mountain has steep passes that can take you up to 30 minutes going downhill. Your brakes will definitely heat up if you don’t modulate brake applications or downshift to lower gears. Brake fade isn’t something you want on a mountain trail. Check your brake lines, rotors, and fluid levels. Harley brakes can be replaced at any OEM Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts dealer.

Check your engine and coolant fluids. Don’t make an assumption that they are fine.  A mountain trail is similar to waging war on the road and you don’t want to be fighting fluids as well.

Electrical and tires check

Your horn, blinkers, and beam headlights should be checked. You need your lights in the mountain as sunset comes early in the mountain. Your tires are the number one companion on this journey. Ensure they are on point. At the end of each day check for cuts, cracks, nails, and correct inflation.   

Chains and drive systems

It’s the right time to lube your chains. Ensure they have the correct tension and inspect your drive belts as well.

Riding gear

I always go for a quality riding jacket with armor that keeps me dry, warm, and protected while riding. Then I layer under my jacket. Normally I have a turtle neck t-shirt and a hoodie or something made of fleece. Neoprene type masks are more effective for your face than cotton bandanas. Rain gear and good quality gloves are a must.

I am grateful for the heated gloves, socks, and vests as my core is kept warm. Remember temperatures drop rapidly in the mountains so keeping warm is key to the success of your trip.