With the first warm day of spring not too far around the corner, motorcyclists nationwide will be dusting down their helmets and leathers and getting ready for the riding season.
If you’ve not used your bike over the winter period though, you may be tempted to just fill up the tank and take off, but you need to ensure your bike is properly prepared before taking it out.
This includes washing and waxing it, performing a visual inspection to ensure everything is in working order, and re-checking all fluid levels.
For the first few rides, you need to bear in mind that your riding skills may be a bit rusty, so leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front, use the brakes gently and early, and aim for smoothness on all controls.
As a motorcyclist, you may have missed the pleasure of two wheels over the winter months - and the benefits that can be gained by travelling by bike.
Given the ever-increasing pressure on car owners caused by soaring motoring costs, such as rising fuel prices, higher insurance premiums, road tax and congestion charges, more and more motorists are being tempted to get out of their cars and onto a bike.
In fact, many people are now shifting to motorbikes for daily transport - and especially city commuting - because of the huge savings that can be made in fuel, repairs and taxes.
Lower your emissions
A motorbike is generally more eco-friendly and environmentally sound than a car, although there are vast differences in carbon emissions between models.
The key is to look for a bike that uses unleaded petrol - as this is far less polluting - and which has a high miles-per-gallon ratio, as this will be far more fuel efficient.
Get through the gridlock
The daily commute to and from work has, for many of us, become a frustrating experience due to excessive congestion.
But by jumping on your bike, you can breeze through traffic jams and grid-locks, using your time efficiently and minimising frustration as you don't have the stress of sitting in stationary traffic.
Pay less for your parking and petrol
Not only is a motorbike a more efficient way to manoeuvre through city streets, you may also be able to benefit from other perks such as cheaper - or even free - parking.
The popularity of biking is also linked to petrol prices, as significant savings can be made by swapping four wheels for two; the same applies to vehicle excise duty.
Another advantage of travelling by bike in the capital is the fact you don't have to pay the Congestion Charge, as two-wheeled motorbikes are exempt.
Cut the cost of cover
Motorbikes do come with their own dangers - something which has not escaped the eye of the insurers - and in some cases, insuring a motorcycle can be equivalent to the cost of insuring a small car.
However, as with car insurance, motorbike insurance depends on certain factors, such as your age, driving record, and the size of the engine.
Fully comprehensive cover is the most expensive, but can also be the most cost-effective, and there are simple steps you can take to drive down the cost, such as signing up online, taking an advanced training qualification, and claiming further discounts for claim-free riding, limited mileage and secure overnight garaging.
The level of cover and optional extras offered will vary between insurers, so make sure you do your research - and compare features on a like-for-like basis.