If you are heading out for a long motorcycle road trip, you have to be careful in packing your gear.
You want to keep the weight low and close to the center of the bike and you also need to make sure that both sides of your saddlebags weigh approximately the same.
Secure loose items with net or stretch cord and stow your lightest gear in the rear rack and tank bag. You never know what will happen on the road, here are the first five of the top ten motorcycle road trip essentials:
Tool kit: Tire repair equipment, air pump, a metric hex wrench set, screwdrivers and lockable pliers, ratchet wrenches and a multi-purpose hand tool.
For simple electrical repairs include a flashlight, rolls of duct and electrical tape, a mini voltmeter, spark plugs, wire, a wire stripper, fuses and spare bulbs.
Personal gear: Dress in layers to save weight, use synthetic underwear and socks for easy maintenance. A good rain suit that has reflective stripes and a mesh lining for an extra layer of protection from moisture.
Foam ear plugs are important to use no matter how quiet your helmet may be: wind turbulence can cause hearing damage and drains your energy.
Identification: Make photocopies of all of your documentation: emergency contact information, driver’s license and registration, bike and health insurance and road service cards, use a plastic page cover and store in a waterproof bag.
Communication: Having a fully charged mobile phone along with an extra charged battery helps you stay connected and is invaluable in times of emergency.
- First-aid: A bottle of antiseptic, pain tablets, sterile bandages and an elastic bandage for sprains.
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The importance of constantly improving your riding skills cannot be overemphasized. Many bikers take the mandatory course to get their license and ride for years without taking another course.
You can always become a better rider by learning tips from professionals that can improve your ability to avoid an accident.
Defensive riding serves the same purpose as like defensive driving; it makes you less likely to have accidents. Defensive riding technique focuses on improving your ability to:
- Be alert and observant
- Ride at a speed that will enable you to slow down and stop in good time
- Position yourself in the best place
- Overtake safely
- Take a ‘lifesaver’ glance over your shoulder before carrying out maneuvers
- Wear gear that makes you easy to be seen and recognized
Protective and reflective motorcycle gear is a must for night riding. You should always wear:
Keep your motorcycle helmet visor or goggles clean
- An approved helmet that fits securely
- Protective clothing; jacket, trousers and boots. Wear something fluorescent during the day and reflective at night.
Keep in mind that there are four steps in the response process:
- Decision to react
The goal is to help the driver to use less time to move through the recognition process. The question is: what’s the best way to be easily recognizable on the road? Answer: Use the colors that make drivers take evasive action.
Drivers are accustomed to seeing the colors red and white in railroad crossings. The color white is highly reflective, in fact it is five times more than red, but red is used to represent danger and signals the need to stop.
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Motorcycle riders have to take road safety very seriously, especially at night when visibility is reduced. In a car dominated world, being conspicuous is not enough, you have to be easy to recognize by drivers as well.
Some bikers focus solely on making themselves visible at night; some use strobe lights on their helmets, but that doesn’t help much to make them recognizable.
A better way to use lighting to make you and your motorcycle easily recognizable is by installing LED accent lights as seen in the photo. These lights are available in several different colors specifically to highlight your bike on a night road. Check out the details at De-Luxcycle
Night riding can be dangerously deceptive: in the dark, what you might think is two motorcycles could actually be the headlights of an oncoming truck: the result of that false judgment would not be pretty.
It is not size that matters on the road, it is providing accurate information to drivers that make the difference. Reflective markings have been proven to provide more safety because it eliminates confusion: it allows the biker to be easily recognized.
When a bike and a car are both in motion, every second counts and the less time used in the process of identification, the more time there is to avoid danger. In the next article we will look at the recognition process and how to make it work for you to keep you safe while riding your bike at night.
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The word is out for the millions of automobile drivers who are looking for a way to beat the skyrocketing gas prices. They are finding that for just a few thousand bucks they can get a motorcycle or scooter that will give them 50 miles to the gallon or better.
They are discovering what many bikers already know: you may not be able to ride it across country, but a scooter can sure be a cool cruise around town. Business is booming all over the country for motorcycle and scooter dealers which has a whole lot of people are smiling these days.
Nationwide, sales of scooters are up more than 23% just in the first quarter of this year. And Kymco, says its business has doubled in the Washington State region alone. In the motorcycle division, Q-link Legacy 250 has reported that the sales for their automatic motorcycle are up by 35%.
With gasoline at $4.00 a gallon and prices still rising, many drivers who are looking for a more economical way to navigate their daily commute are buying new scooters. Scooters start at a couple of thousand dollars new, and head north from there.
But scooter fans say you can quickly make that up in fuel savings, some owners report saving as much as $2500 over the last three years.
For those drivers who prefer to own a road hog, used motorcycle can be found in the $3000 price range and sales of bikes are also rising due to increased new rider safety awareness programs that are driving the point home to start with a low powered bike until they become experienced.
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McQueen’s Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon is an up-close and personal look at a motorcycle and car racing enthusiast who also just happened to be a movie star: Steve McQueen.
It’s fitting that a book about Steve McQueen should have an introduction written by his son, Chad McQueen who offered this quote:
“When we got home from the motorcycle races every weekend, it wasn’t dinnertime; it was time to hose down the bikes, clean the air filters and tighten all the nuts and bolts. We always put things away clean, tight and ready to ride the next weekend. Then we ate dinner.”
Readers get a behind the scenes view of Steve McQueen as a man who loved his family, loved motorcycles, cars and racing. The book has many photographs from his travels, races and movies that illustrate his love of bikes and cars as well as providing insights into his life storie through their histories.
Steve McQueen was the owner of many cars, airplanes and motorcycles including two classic motorcycles which recently were sold at auction for record bids: a 1937 Crocker “Hemi-head” V-Twin and a 1920 Indian Powerplus Daytona.
Best known as an actor for movies such as “Bullitt” McQueen’s Hollywood career was filled with wild car chases and mad motorcycle dashes and soon he became known as the “King of Cool.”
Author Matt Stone reveals initimate details about McQueens’s amateur racing career: no other movie star has enjoyed the same publicity for their love of motorcycles and cars. Although there have been other books about this actor who is famous as master of the ride, “McQueen’s Machines” tells his story from a biker/driver perspective and it’s fascinating.
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