As you know, spring is a great time to take care of those familiar household to-dos—like cleaning windows and checking smoke detectors. This not only helps promote safety, it can also help cut costs by making your home more efficient. Here’s a reminder of some of the things you should do around your home on a regular basis:
Entries for March 2010
You dream of hopping on your motorcycle and carving your way along Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway—but you live on the West Coast. Your friend lives on the East Coast but yearns to cruise all 123 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Renting a motorcycle gives riders the freedom to tour the country's most scenic routes. Use these motorcycle rental tips to kick off your dream ride.
Find a rental shop
Rule No. 1 of motorcycle rental is to reserve early—especially if you're renting near a popular touring location during peak season. And thanks to the growth of motorcycle rental and touring, finding a rental shop can be easy. Depending on where you rent, your options might include a national rental chain, locally owned outfit or even a dealership. Rental shops may ask you to take a skills test, and many have a minimum age to rent or even a minimum experience level.
Price it out
Like with car rentals, the cost to rent a motorcycle varies depending on the size of bike you rent—larger ones are usually more expensive—as well as the make and model. Knowing how you'll use the bike and how far you'll ride can help you choose the best option for you. If you know you won't be riding far, consider asking whether the shop offers an alternative pricing structure. If they do, you could rent a bike for a lower daily rate, then just pay an additional per-mile charge.
When you get your rate, ask about discounts, too. For instance, some shops will discount your rate if you belong to a motorcycle club like the Harley Owners Group or the American Motorcyclist Association. You might also get a discount for attending a specific rally.
To lock in your rental, you might be charged a security deposit, which you'll get back when you return the bike, as well as a reservation fee, which will be applied to the final rental fee.
Ask and bring the right stuff
So, you've found a place to rent a bike, and the price is right. How, then, do you navigate through the actual rental experience? For starters, ask in advance about rental equipment like helmets. Do they meet national safety standards and cover at least three-quarters of your face? If not, you may want to bring your own. Also, consider asking whether motorcycle jackets and gloves are available if you'd prefer to leave yours at home.
Be sure to read the entire rental agreement before you sign to avoid unexpected fees. For instance, rental companies might charge you for returning a bike with an empty fuel tank or for exceeding a certain number of miles.
Then, plan on getting to the rental shop early to give yourself plenty of time to pick a bike, get fitted and complete your paperwork. Make sure to bring your motorcycle driver's license, too. And if you need a ride from a nearby airport or another location, ask if your rental shop provides complimentary transportation.
Should you buy the insurance?
While you aren't required to buy temporary insurance for your rental bike, it's wise to have coverage. In some cases, your current motorcycle insurance policy covers your rental. If you're a Progressive policyholder, just log into your policy to review your coverage. Or, you can quote a Progressive motorcycle policy that includes coverage for rental bikes.
If you don't have coverage for rentals through your motorcycle policy, or don't have enough, there are two common temporary coverage options: supplemental liability insurance, which can cover you if you're involved in an accident that causes damage to another vehicle or injuries to others; and personal accident and personal property insurance, which can cover your personal belongings. Consider asking whether the shop offers a loss damage waiver, too. This covers damage and theft.
Inspect your rental
Reputable shops make sure their bikes are in tip-top shape. However, you may want to perform a quick check of your own using the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's T-CLOCS checklist: tires, controls, lights, oil, chassis, and stands.
Here are some specific tips:
- If the bike has a windshield, polish it.
- Turn on the ignition to check that the high and low beam headlights, as well as the left and right signals, are working.
- While the ignition is on, squeeze the brake levers to make sure the brake lights are functioning properly.
- Explore the body of the bike for loose items like plastic, bolts and antenna mounts.
- Ask whether the tires, oil and other fluids are at appropriate levels.
Have you rented a motorcycle? What tips do you have?
The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation.