How To Make 2018 Your Best Riding Year Ever

We all yearn for more saddle time, and here’s how to get it

motorcyclist overlooking san francisco
San Francisco is a top destination for motorcyclists. Come get some in 2018.Rachel Norton

“Drink in your summer, gather your corn The dreams of the night time will vanish by dawn And time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me And time waits for no one, and it won't wait for me No no no, not for me....” Time Waits For No One, Rolling Stones It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

For many of you, 2017 was an amazing year on the bike. Several circumstances collided to allow you the time and energy to explore new roads and trails, and you grabbed life by the bars to make it happen. We know this because you shared it all on Instagram. Some of us were green with envy, while others huddled in our man caves with pals to sketch out a plan for 2018 as the temperature plummeted below zero last week. An obscure Rolling Stones song triggered some ideas of my own. Here are six tips on how to make 2018 your best riding year ever.

Attend An Event In Another State

Old Man Winter came in hard this year, and with spring a long way off, consider booking a flight to ogle custom motorcycles in another state, especially one with warmer temperatures. The visual feast begins soon, so check your calendar and put in for vacation time.

The One Moto Show
Portland, OR
Feb. 9–11

The Handbuilt Show
Austin, TX
April 20–22

The Quail Motorcycle Gathering
Carmel Valley, CA
May 5

Organize A Buddy Trip

If walking around old foundries and abandoned pickle factories looking at other people’s art-project bikes isn’t your thing, consider planning a weeklong trip with riding buddies. Several businesses rent all kinds of bikes to enjoy, so determine what scenery you want to drink in and make it happen. A few recommended destinations include Mendocino, California; Hollister, California; Kern County, California; and Baja, Mexico.

Attend A Major Race

A couple of years ago I started paying Dorna to watch racing on, but nothing beats the real thing. Experiencing the sights and sounds of top-level motorcycle racing in person is priceless, and with Valentino Rossi nearing the end of his racing career, this might be the last year to see him holding fast with Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco, and company. You can piggyback the Handbuilt Show, which runs concurrently in downtown Austin.

Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas
Austin, TX
April 20–22

If you have large ambitions, bite the bullet and get on that ferry to the Isle of Man to watch the 111-year race of gladiators.

One major benefit of attending World Superbike in California is the unlimited riding to enjoy before and after the big dance.

Learn A New Skill On The Track Or In The Dirt

Spend the lion’s share of your riding on safe asphalt? Consider taking your passion for speed to a track or in the dirt, where riders of all skill sets and experience have been flocking the past few years.

Former MotoGP and World Superbike racer Colin Edwards puts on a festive motorcycle camp on his property in Texas.

Want to learn proper motocross mad skills or get better for flat track? Do it on the famed Calistoga Half Mile in Napa, California.

Buy Another Bike

There's always room for another bike, right? Instead of sticking with the same brand or style, consider adding something that takes you places you hadn't considered before. There's a treasure trove of information in our Buyer's Guide to help you count the cost before making a decision.

Learn How To Maintain Your Bike(s)

A major hurdle for many new riders is feeling overwhelmed by how much maintenance their new bike needs. Stripped down to the basic preventative needs (oil, tires, rotors, brake shoes), taking care of your bike isn't impossible if you have the right tools and resources. Start with Cyclepedia, an online resource for training videos and service manuals.

If you lack space to work on your bike, seek out one of the many DIY shops across the country. For a nominal hourly rate, you get a lift and access to tools plus assistance from the owner of other customers. My experience at Moto Guild Silicon Valley has been nothing short of a miracle to keep my bikes rolling.

The major caveat to knowing how to maintain your bike is eliminating the fear of getting stranded. Most mechanical issues can be avoided with proper maintenance, and little things don’t have to become big issues.

Your best riding year ever begins today!