When It's Time to Go, Will You Be Ready?
So, spring is here, the flowers are blooming, the remnants of the harsh winter of snow and ice are just memories. While it is as warm as 75⚬ during the day, it can still get a little chilly at night…pack a jacket! And the spring weather can always catch you off guard…. rain , winds, just terrible times can add to some of your challenges.
But before you even think of heading out, a little preparation can make all the difference. Packing the bike is one of the most important tasks. That, along with maintenance prep, are the two most important efforts of your trip. Your bike should be in perfect shape…fresh tires, fluids, proper inflation, cleaned and lubed chain if present, all lights working, and most of all, good brakes. These maintenance and safety concerns are foremost for any rider.
While there are several motorcycle packing tricks, you should explore some of the following to make your trip more enjoyable. Of course, if you have hard bags on your bike, they are best. They are lockable, sealed from dirt and water, and many of them are removable and can be taken into the room at night. If not removable, don’t fret…there are available bag liners both from motorcycle companies and after-market, such as Givi. If you do not have hard luggage, you can get soft luggage from many companies such as Giant Loop or Wolfman just to name a couple. Motorcycle accessory company, Revzilla, offers a ton of options.
“Do you really need 5 pairs of jeans?” One fellow who traveled with me took 5 pair for a 3 day trip….think hard on just what you need to take.
You will find the best options are to combine a variety of hard case and soft luggage, or to go with just one or the other. The important things though are:
- Make sure what ever luggage you use fits securely to your bike. You do not want anything shifting around. Hard bags, top cases, tank bags…all should be very secure, and best if water tight and lockable.
- So, you have nice luggage, but what about your stuff? There are variety of zipper bags at Walmart and Amazon that can hold it all within your bags. Waterproof is best. Size depends on your stuff, but they do need to fit your luggage. All items should be kept in a separate colored bag, so they are easy to find when you stop, plus, the extra protection for important items is helpful.
- When you pull into a hotel for the night, the items should be in your bag liner or removable luggage, so you will not have to remove anything from bike except the inner bags.
- Next, make sure you take a couple of security items with you. I am amazed at how many people just leave helmets, jackets, and gloves just hanging on the bike. While no one likes to think their stuff will be stolen, and often it is safe. A little extra caution can save you some hassle.
At Lowe’s, there is a variety of cables and locking cables. When you think of a nice helmet costing hundreds of dollars, a nice jacket easily several hundred also, and even some gloves $100-$200, why would you want to leave the equivalent of $1,000+ just sitting on your bike. Fortunately, in most riding areas theft is not common…but why take the chance? A Lowe’s $20 cable and an $8 lock could save you a lot of hassle and loss.
Lastly, a lightweight bike cover is also a great option. If you don’t want your bike messed with at night or while you are indoors somewhere for quite a while, the cover seems to make the bike even more invisible to people. Fancy, shiny, chrome or painted plastic laden machines stand out in the parking lot. A drab grey bike cover makes it blend into the background. Also, it hides jackets, helmets, and gloves from view. Another safety benefit you receive.
Next we’ll discuss the joys of rain gear…if you’ve ever ridden all day in the rain, you’ll want to tune in.
Travel on a motorcycle can be an exciting adventure…don’t let failure of some upfront planning and packing make it troublesome for you.