As I write this month's article, there
are 39 days until Spring! Lately, it seems like Spring is already here
with the sunny days and mild temperatures our area has been experiencing.
I hope many of you have been taking advantage of this weather and riding!
Every year, starting in January with the
motorcycle show at the Javits Center in NYC, there are several motorcycle
shows to attend to keep the excitement of riding going until warmer
weather prevails. A self proclaimed gadget freak, I search the vendors
for that unique something that will make my days on the bike more comfortable.
Here are a few of the things I have found.
- Storage is a biggie. For
those who know me it has been difficult going on trips without bringing
the kitchen sink! I won't tell you how many bags I've bought hoping that
the right one will hold it all (not to mention the stuff I bought) and
not require 10 bungee chords to secure and a hand truck to move! My suggestion:
eliminate 90% of what you think you may need. Then almost any bag will
work. Keep a few bungee chords or a cargo net on your bike anyway.
A Beverage Holder -
Camel backs are great but I can never position it so it's comfortable.
Instead, I picked up a beverage holder that mounts on the handle bars.
Inside of that I put a neopreem sleeve to keep the bottle secure. Also,
fellow Club members who have horses use a small feed type bag that also
secures to the handle bars. I suggest water bottles that have sport
caps on them. I have been doused more than once when the road became
bumpy. And don't bother with a bottle of soda, the carbonation instantly
Ear plugs -
When I first started riding my Honda Rebel 250, there wasn't much of
a need. Then I moved up to the HD Heritage Softail with Screaming Eagle
pipes. Oh Yeah. I've used the kind you can buy at the home centers (sponge
type) and bought a pair off the internet that are made of bees wax (similar
to play dough) and mould to the inside of your ear. Both are OK. I kept
losing the spongey ones or they didn't rebound to fill the ear canal
after being squeezed.The the bees wax type would get way too soft in
hot weather and leave peices of wax behind. This year, I purchased the
type where you have the ear plug moulded to your own ear shape/size.
They were more expensive than the others but fit perfectly everytime
and keep their shape. Oh yeah, I also bought a small bag to keep them
- Very important! The weather can change at anytime no matter what the
meteorologists predict. I rode home from Wildwood one year without a
rain suit and it rained the entire 2 hours. By the time I arrived home
not only was I soaked, but when I took off my boots, water poured out!
I bought a standard rainsuit made of rubber. This worked out well for
several reasons. It not only kept me dry but cut down on the cold when
in higher elevations. However, I managed to melt the right leg on my
pipes and it can turn into a sauna on the warmer days. It is also a
bit bulky even when folded and takes up more space than I would like
in the saddlebag (less room for stuff!). This year I picked up a set
of Frogg Toggs. They are made from material like a handy-wipe, are light
weight and take up a lot less room.
Gel Pad and/or Sheepskin Cover
- These are your friends. No, really, short of a full body massage and
hot tub soak after a long ride, the gel pad and/or sheepskin pad makes
the ride more comfortable. I don't know about you, but I haven't met
anyone who has a motorcycle seat that by itself eliminated butt/back/hip
pain after a long ride. When we were in Sturgis last year, I bought
both a sheepskin pad sized for my bike seat and a large gel pad. I put
both of them on (gel pad then sheepskin over it) the motorcycle seat.
At first it seemed strange and I was elevated about 1 1/2", but
this combo eliminated the butt/back/hip pain about 95%. Getting off
the bike and walking around and stretching worked out the kinks.
- I know, this isn't that unique
but trust me you need at least a combo screw driver (flat/philips),
allen or torque wrenches that fit the bolts on your bike, a pair of
channel lock wrench/pliers, duct tape and a few plastic zip ties. Bolts
and screws loosen over time and will never fall off the bike while it
is sitting in your driveway. Duct tape is truly your friend and can
be used to tape over your friends mouth for saying "why didn't
you check the bike before we left" after about the third time.
These are just a few suggestions. Believe
me, it has taken awhile to find what works for me. Everyone else out
there will have a different idea what you need or don't need. You decide.
Have an idea or suggestion for something that makes riding better? Email
me and I'll include it in next month's column! Take it easy!