Riding motorcycles is fun, but it’s not just about having one. Once you buy one, insure it, put gasoline in it, you’re not done.
There are several things, some indispensable, that you need as a biker if you want to function properly.
Obviously you’ll need a helmet, maybe even two, jacket, boots, gloves and maybe even some good trousers. These are for safety, and although you can go without them (depending on where you live), it’s a good idea to protect yourself.
But that is not all. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting a few other things in your garage or with you on your bike. For example, when you finished a nice ride through the forest and fields, once you take off your helmet, you’ll notice all those bugs splatted over your visor and motorcycle. You’ll need to remove them pretty quick, since they are not good for your material. The bugs will start rotting and damage your fairings and helmet.
Bug remover sprays will work wonders on your motorcycle. Spray it on the bike where the bugs are, get a good cloth (you’ll need to buy one), preferably a microfiber one, and remove the bugs.
Your helmet can use a bit of the spray as well, but preferably not your visor. Helmet visors are a bit strange, remember that they let the light through, so you will need to be extra careful. Bug spray may stain the visor. The best way to remove stains from the visor is the old fashion way; soap and water. Window cleaner spray is the next best option. In my garage, I have a window cleaner spray and paper towels (or use special towelettes) right where I park my bike. The first thing I do when I arrive is clean the visor.
Next thing is cleaning your motorcycle. Depending on how dirty it became during the ride, particularly if you’ve gone off-road, the cleaning effort can involve high pressure water, or just plain running water. If you are using high pressure, remember not to aim it at joints, brakes, levers and anything that can move.
After cleaning off the dirt, you’ll want to wax your bike to protect it from the elements for the next ride. If you’ve got leather on your motorcycle, like saddles and saddlebags, a bit of waterproofing cream will go a long way.
After months of riding, even years, things on your motorcycle will wear out, and even fall off. Two of the handiest and most used items bikers often carry are HD-40 oil and duct tape. As the old saying goes “if it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape, if it doesn’t move and it should, use HD-40”.
Your bike probably has a small tool kit hidden somewhere. Usually the tools are for emergency repairs, but it makes sense to get a few tools that will add to the initial kit. Screwdrivers, pliers, Allen keys (make sure they are all the right size for your bike) are always welcome.
Depending on how much cargo space you have on your bike, carry a small first-aid kit. I always have one in my topcase, since you never know what can happen. Just a simple scratch that starts bleeding will require a plaster, and that is not easy to get right away.
If your bike has storage space for one or two helmets, great. But if not, you’ll not want to be carrying your helmet wherever you’ve gone, so a small chain and lock is handy to secure your helmet to your bike. A good chain can be used to secure your bike, but also your helmets.
The last thing you’ll always find on my bike is a tire pressure gauge. Tires should always be properly inflated, depending on the weight you are carrying (solo, with pillion, with cargo). Once a week I’ll check the tire pressure, just to be safe.
Next time we’ll look at the stuff you need in your garage.