WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and many are taking to the road as the weather gets warmer.

22News learned about what you can do to stay safe, and how one local motorcyclist used those skills in a cross country race.

“It’s kind of like a wind therapy. It’s another hobby to just clean your head out,” said Kanjana Kankhuntod, Motorcycle Cannonball 2021 Participant.

Kanjana Kankhuntod has worked at the Indian Motorcycle of Springfield in Westfield for about nine years, and last September she got to put her skills to the test in the ultimate cross country race. The Motorcycle Cannonball is a cross-country race where participants take part in driving from Michigan to Texas in just 16 days. All while riding a nearly century-old bike.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but the safety checks she took are the same the owner and President Deniss Bolduc said you should take with your bike.

“I tell them number one be familiar with your motorcycle, understand your motorcycle,” said Bolduc.

Kanjana said they did several tests on the motorcycle before she took it on the roughly 3,700-mile journey. The race started out with 88 participants and ended with just 33. Kanjana became the first woman from Thailand to compete and finished with a perfect score.

But even a seasoned motorcyclist can run into challenges on the road like when she was driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains over in Tennessee. They reached tunnels with no lights, and multiple motorcycles crashed.

“Everything was pitch black and we’re in the rain, foggy, slippery that’s when I get out the turn and slid and hit the whole guardrail and slid two hundred feet,” said Kanjana.

Amazingly she was able to keep going with just a dent on her bike, which she credits to wearing her gear. Dennis said that also protected a motorcyclist this weekend when he hit a bear in Granby, Connecticut.

“He’s one of those guys that’s always wearing good boots. He’s also got a great helmet on. He’s wearing a jacket and all the protection,” said Bolduc.

Ultimately Dennis said when you’re out on the road, whether you’re riding a motorcycle, or in your car, being aware can save lives.