Tour of Duty

The Bike

When you wake up in the morning and breathe in the air, fill up at the gas station and then pull out the map to decide where you will go, the feeling is only exacerbated by the knowledge that you have packed your toolkit and toothbrush. A few other tips to add to your spare pair of leather motorcycle gloves.

Number One:- It pays to know your bike. Whether it's a full on touring bike like a Gold Wing Tourer or a versatile 4-in-1 Ducati MultiStrada or a genuine sport tourer like the Daytona Speed Triple, if you're touring in summer, you're going to chew through the rubber! Fit harder rubber than usual. You can always refit the racing slicks for the track when you get back! Sport tourers are a hybrid between sport bikes and tourers with more emphasis on handling and speed than normal tourers.

The Gear

The rules of packing a bike for touring are easy - spare motorcycle gloves, cell phone and credit card! It makes packing and unpacking easy as well! But if you must unpack from panniers, then divide everything into inner bags.

Number Two:- Remember, tools are heavy and will play havoc with balance of the bike. Place them as low to the ground as possible. Wrap your spare motorbike gloves around them, in a separate inner bag. Most motorcycles are limited for storage capacity. Unless you're riding an all-out tourer like a Gold Wing with numerous hard cases for extra clothes and gear, then you are going to have to be ruthless in what you pack. Top boxes for most sport tourers can be obtained as factory accessories. The most important tool is getting your bike serviced before you go!

The Plan

Bike trips require more planning than car trips. Although it's easy to hit the road and just follow your nose. Don't forget, you are vulnerable to the elements, so prepare yourself with wet weather gear.

Number Three:- Keep a change of underwear in a plastic bag. There's nothing worse than water sloshing around your crutch after riding through a rainstorm. Keep a pair of dishwashing gloves to place over or inside your leather motorcycle gloves, as well as the spare pair or motorbike gloves. Use plastic bags as socks to keep your feet dry during that rainstorm. Keep your GPS dry too! It doesn't take long to ride from from one climate to another.

For a long trip, plan your gas strategy. Sports tourers don't have the gas capacity of full-on tourers. Fill up often.

Riding a motorcycle is not like driving a car. You need to be physically fit to ride any great distance. Rest often. It requires more physical input after you slip on the motorbike gloves, to keep alert of all conditions happening around you. Don't plan a trip beyond your body's or bike's limitations.

Well, so you're ready to go! Get on ya bike then and ride off into the sunset. When you come back you'll have stories to tell that will be serious, funny, dangerous and dirty! It will be such an exhilarating experience that you'll be planning the next trip while you're unpacking from this one!

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