8. Know how to make your bike ready to go

Motorcycle Cable Maintenance

Your throttle should snap back to the stop when you let go of it, and the engine it’s connected to should respond to it and run reliably 99.999-percent of the time. Your brake lever should be firm. Your clutch should work smooth and easy and your shifter should go click-click-click like a well-oiled machine. Your suspension should suspend, not just bounce. Go into a dealership and work the controls on a new bike. That’s how yours should feel no matter how old your bike is.

Befriend somebody with tools if you don’t have any (these things can all be done with very few simple ones), and learn the basics. Lube your cables and controls. You can even buy new ones! In the age of YouTube, there is no excuse not to know how to do this stuff. Riding a motorcycle well is largely all about fine hand movements – and you can’t execute them if your throttle cable’s all dry and stictiony or if your brake lever’s half frozen and hasn’t been lubed since 1988.