- Travel and Places
Best Gifts for Motorcycle Riders.
Great Gifts for Motorcycle Riders Along With Some Not So Great Ideas
RIDING TIP # 99
Never Leave Your Helmet Upside Down
on Your Handlebars!SNOW IN HELMET Photo by me: Williams, Arizona May 2011, Run For The Wall, Snowstorm.
I have ridden over 150,000 miles on a motorcycle in the last 13 years. That may not sound like very many miles to someone who has ridden motorcycles all their life, say 30 or 40 years, but it's a lot to me. I didn't learn to ride until I was 51, and a Grandma. My first bike was a Harley Davidson, Heritage Softail Classic. This is my Softail after I customized it in Olive Drab and put Rosie the Riveter on the front fender. I sold it in 2007 to get a Yamaha FJR 1300 for touring. Loved my Harley, but the Yamaha has been an amazing touring bike and so much more comfortable for these old bones.
We have left home for as long as 6 weeks, on the bikes, with camping gear loaded up to the max. We haul two sleeping bags with sleeping mats, a tent and a shade canopy, all our cooking items and food, our clothing - oh and yes, there are two folding chairs in the mix. We are piled pretty high going down the road, but we love motorcycle camping. I'll review some of the gear we use and some great gift ideas for riders that we have tested and tried. But I'll also let you know some of our mishaps and failures.
But first a funny story:
We were in Beckley, West Virginia, on a road trip. We had camped in the hills, where else, it's West Virginia.
Our campsite was in a little valley, so I had Russ park my bike up on the road for me to load it. It was on a pretty severe lean on the kickstand. I loaded my gear and had everything tightly strapped down, threw my right leg through the opening over the seat, swinging my body in, while at the same time grabbing the handlebars to lift the bike from it's severe left lean - all in one motion.
In seconds I was rolling downhill with all my gear
and my bike was following closely behind.
With the wind knocked out of me and scared out of my wits, the severe lean onto my kickstand had been overcome by my own strength, and the weight shift of my gear along with the momentum of my "getting on" style, thus taking me head over heels down to the right rolling on a steep hill.
Very little was bent or nicked on my bike, and I had on so much riding gear the only thing I damaged on me was my ego!
But what happened next was kinda sad!!
Russ's bike was still at the campsite in the little valley. He was also packed and getting on his bike, ready to ride out the gravel path to the campground entrance where he had parked my bike. He saw me getting on my bike, so he got on his raised his kickstand to start his bike, and saw me fall and roll downhill. I was probably 20 yards away. He was tethered to his bike's sound system, and in full riding gear when he jumped from his bike to rescue me. He dropped his bike, busted his left mirror and all his packed gear shifted.
Replacing the mirror was our mission the next several days.
With egos doubly wounded, knowing the campers next to us saw the entire comedy of errors, and after such a shaky start, it took me awhile to stop trembling from the fall, we repacked on more level ground, then found ourselves laughing riding through the hills of West Virginia, about an hour later than we planned. Later that day we both ached like crazy, but were thankful we arrived at our destination in North Carolina safe and sound and only a little bruised.
Riding is our Mission
We Have a Long History of Riding Experience, Plus ...
I was a passenger on the back of my husband's bike for years, and enjoyed riding on short and long trips. In 1999 I got my own bike and in 2000 we started a National Motorcycle Ministry called HonorBound. We've crisscrossed the USA Mexico and Canada for 13 years on two bikes, now I get nervous as a passenger. He just doesn't brake when I would, or take off from stops the same either.
This was our first bike after we married, while Russ was in the Army. Riding in California.
For 10 years we have packed for a 10 day cross country ride for Veterans, Run For The Wall. This ride requires a lot of planning for our packing and changing weather needs. Last year we were in 116 degree weather and 28 degree weather on the same trip, so we utilized our cold weather gear and our heat gear. I've written an article on packing a motorcycle for a long trip.
I've listed many of our favorite, can't live without packing items,Amazon carries other brands not just the one's I've listed.
Top of the List? GPS, Cold weather heated gear, and hot weather cool vests, rain gear and waterproof bags.
Not such good ideas: See the list.
Let's Talk Motorcycle Saddlebags and Liners.
When talking about packing, one of the most convenient items I own is a liner for my saddlebags.
When I had my Harley, Heritage Softail, I had leather saddlebags that were stock with the bike. They were great unless I went through a lot of rain, then I had damp clothes. So I learned to wrap my clothes in plastic baggies to keep them dry, and eventually went to waterproof bags for the passenger seat for my clothing and non-essentials in the curling up leather saddlebags. When I customized my Harley, see photo above, I ordered retro saddlebags that were hard cases.
I sold my old saddlebags on eBay.
When I went to the Yamaha FJR 1300 the saddlebags are hard cases that have liners. The liners are like textile suitcases that fit right into the hard case, fully packed. Love it!!
Pack everything into the liner, drop it into your saddlebags and move from hotel to hotel, and have everything you need for an overnight. I find that if I pack thee bags a little light I still have plenty of room to place a few items on the outside of the liner in my saddlebag.
Motorcycle Riders Who Ride to Work - Or Riders Who Need to Look Professional when they Arrive.
We've enjoyed this product for many years. If you have a lot of miles to go and need to dress up nice on your trip you'll want a few of these on hand.
The best shirt folder for packing on a motorcycle. We've folded sport coats, shirts, ladies blouses, sweaters. The rider will want more than one of these and several of different sizes.
Communting in winter on a motorcycle.
Layers are perfect, but the temperature can drop as much as 30 degrees when riding on the highway, so a 40 degree day could feel like a wind chill of 10 degrees. Riding in the cold with Gerbings cold weather gear is the solution.
Heated Gloves from Gerbings are the Perfect Addition for any Rider. - Cold Weather Happens.
The gloves are big and bulky, but riding with heated gloves makes all the difference when the temperature drops and you have miles to go before getting to that wood stove and hot chocolate.
Hot Weather Gear for the Motorcycle Rider.
In temperatures of over 100 degrees we have worn these amazing cool vests and they really work.
They work for about an hour, but if the humidity is too high they're worthless.
We stop at truck stops, and soak our vest in the bathroom sink, wring it out and put it back on. Lasts 45 minutes to an hour. It really works, we've used it at 116 degrees in Arizona and Southern California. It gets you down the road. We usually wear a long sleeve white t-shirt under them when trying to cool off.
A Wonderful Gift from a Friend - Harley Davidson Model Train Set
Years ago a friend gifted us with a Harley Davidson Model Train set. He kicked off a great collection and very relaxing hobby. Thank you Rich.
And What Lady Rider Would Refuse This Giant Coffee Mug? - This was a gift from my Mom!!
Huge Mistakes. Worst Motorcycle Items Ever.
And some dumb decisions.
Here is a list of items that do not work.
Off brand goggles. My goggles failed me the first time I rode in the rain, It was the 3rd day of a 3,000 mile trip. Every truck stop and lunch stop I looked for and sometimes purchased another pair. I had Harley brands, off-brands, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens. No goggles kept the rain from my eyes and the next 7 days were rainy, bad experience. I now wear a flip face helmet.
Any old brand gloves. I have finally found the perfect glove. They are racing gloves, mesh, Fox carries them and there are good off brands, mine are Olympia. I have had gloves wear blisters on my palms from rubbing. I have big hands for a lady and have to buy giant man's gloves for the length of my fingers, so they never fit right, but the textile gloves work great with a little stretch in them. Also, never ride with long fingernails, the ends of your fingers feel bruised by the end of the day.
Long Scarves. Never wear a scarf that flies in the wind - it will come around and slap you in the face just when you don't expect it.
Drawstring nylon jackets. The drawstring will come undone and beat you to death. The nylon jacket will blow you up making you look like the "Michelin Man" and make you feel like you may lift up into the air and float away.
Nylon Rain Suit. Not to mention the sliding all over your seat when you slow, stop, start, accelerate, etc., just thinking of nylon finally soaking through, then the sun comes back out, your nylon suit is soaked, you're sitting and sliding in a seat of rainwater, and now you're suffocating because it just went from raining and 70 degrees to muggy 90 degrees. Get the good stuff, textile rain suits or Frogg Toggs.
This rider didn't know snow was coming in the night?
Now This Bugs Me - No I've Never Had Bugs in my Teeth
Our schedule can become so hectic traveling from one event to the next, checking into a hotel and rushing to a church service to speak. Sundays are usually spent visiting churches and telling people about our ministry. Early in our ministry we depended on getting accurate directions from people who drove the same path every day, leaving us with landmarks like, "You, know, right behind where the old Esso Station used to be." Or, "Just turn when you see the old yellow Ford Truck on the corner about a mile before the T in the road."
Honestly, we got lost or turned around so much, and still arrived on time every time, because my husband was in the military and he's never late, he plans it that way.
But this particular Sunday evening headed to a small rural community in Georgia to speak at a country church, we were running late and LOST!! We arrived at about 10 minutes before starting time, and my husband was swept away by the pastor while I set up a display for our ministry in the foyer. Now the music has started and I'm ready to move from the foyer to the sanctuary. I had talked to several people about our ministry at our table while I was setting it up, so I took a tiny bathroom break before going into the service.
I was horrified when I walked into the restroom and saw dead bugs on my face. NO ONE had pointed them out, and my husband was in deep trouble for not noticing.
One of Our Favorite Motorcycle Gifts - Leather Hand Tooled Saddlebags.
I have used and used these items personally and would highly recommend each one for a gift for you motorcycle relative or friend.