Monday, January 08, 2007

Long Distance Tips

Iron Butt Tips: (reprinted w/o permission in part as published @ ).

Pack wisely; keep personal supplies handy.

While many riders use a tank bag, what they pack in them is not always well thought out. Sun screen, skin lotions, eye cleaner, eye lubricant, a flash light, a tire gauge, maps and other essentials should all be kept in a handy location. If these items are not on-hand when you need them, you won't use them. That can lead to costly mistakes like missing a road because you didn't want to find your map or roasting your face and then facing painful sun burn for days into a trip (ever try wearing a helmet over a sun-burnt head? - do it once and you will never forget to pack the sun screen where it is handy).
On the other hand, things like registration and insurance papers should be kept in a secure water tight area of the motorcycle. Assuming you probably will only need these items while talking to the Law, having them stowed away gives you time to talk to the officer and convince him you are human and not some crazed-biker - that could work to your advantage.
Upgrade your tool kit. The tool kit in most motorcycles are at best junk. Use the tool kit as a guide and purchase quality replacement tools from Snap-On or Sears' Craftsman. Also add a compact digital voltmeter (Radio Shack sells a pocket model for less than $20) and a ratchet and socket set.
In May of 1997, the late, great Ron Major published to the LD Riders list what is undoubtedly the most comprehensive tool listing ever devised:

In my leather Travelcade tool bag, 4 X 5 1/2 X 11 inches:
10 in. Channelock pliers
6 in. Channelock pliers
6 in. needle nose pliers
5 in. flush cutting wire cutters
5 in. wire strippers
6 in. locking surgical forceps
4 in. 1/8 flat blade screwdriver
4 1/2 3/16 flat blade screwdriver
4 in. 00 Phillips screwdriver
6 in. #1 Phillips screwdriver
7 1/2 in. #2 Phillips screwdriver
7 1/2 in. 1/4 in. flat screwdriver
Xcelite four way driver
Magnet, general use, small
6 in. Crescent Wrench
Short 1/2 - 9/16 in. open end wrench
M 10 X M 11 open end wrench
M 12 X M 14 open end wrench
M 10 X M 11 box end wrench
M 12 X M 14 box end wrench
M 17 X M 19 box end wrench
MAC combination six point Flex Box End/Open End, M 10, M 12, M 14, M 17 wrenches
4 oz. ball pien hammer, with handle shortened to 7 in.
M 5 hex key - short arm
M 6 hex key - short arm
M 5 Ball end hex key - "T" handle - 8 in.
Machinist's scribe, self storing point
6 Straight edge razor blades
6 C.C. tube of Locktite
6 Oz. tube of RTV clear silicone sealer
Two Tube 5 Minute Epoxy
Zip-lock bag of Anti-Seize Compound
Zip-lock bag of rear spline lube, Honda 60% moly paste (for rear tire change)
The two above items stored in 35 MM film containers, clean, dry, protected!
Top quality padlock - with keys
2 spare electric vest wire connectors - wired
12 feet of two conductor electric wire
35-40 small zip ties - 3 1/2 in.
12 medium zip ties - 8 in.
8 in. Tire Iron
6 electricians tapes, roll ends only, very easy to carry/use
12 Pre-Packaged alcohol wipes, for general clean-up
6 Pre-packaged "Handy-Towels" for your hands, etc.
clean up towels, terrycloth
ALL - Snap-On, Craftsman, Mac, Xelite, etc., PROFESSIONAL TOOLS!
Not In The Above Kit:
Stock ST1100A Honda Tool-kit
siphon hose, 5 /16 in. I.D., 6 feet long
1/4 in. Nylon rope, 15 feet long
12 in. Crescent Wrench
M 5, M 6 long arm, ball end hex drivers
Spare fuses for "EVERYTHING"
Re-chargable, 2-D Cell flashlight
AA cell Maglight, on neck lanyard, for walking bonuses/back-up
Two AAA cell Maglights
Eye glass repair kit
Sewing kit
Safety pins
Lensatic, Engineer Compass
2 Magnifying glasses, 2X, and 5X
Small mirror
Swiss Army Knife
Wavetek, DM78A Digital Multimeter
Digital tire gauge
Spare keys for "everything"
6 new Micro-Point ball point pens
MANY spare batteries for flashlights, clock/timers, shaver, Screaming-Meanies!
Buck TITANIUM locking blade knife, 3 3/4 in. blade
Spare headlight, driving light, license plate, and other bulbs
Spare throttle cables
These items are ALWAYS in my ST1100!
The Skill, Knowlege, and Ability to use them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ron, well prepared, Major
P. S.
You should see my "First Aid Kit", and other necessary things, such as three different tire repair methods, and two means of inflation!
P. S. S.
We must have an un-scheduled "TANK BAG SHOOT-OUT" someday!!!!! Many eyes would be opened, for sure, if they saw what the "Old Timers" actually carried in their tank-bags!!!!! This is very private, and personal, like a LADY's PURSE!
My $0.50 worth.
- Ron Major

Long Distance Tips
Camp gear - packing bike
Copied w/o permission as published @ URL:

Aside from three pairs of socks, one pair heavy wicking and warm, the only other clothes were a set of cold weather UnderArmors. These are expensive, but they proved well worth the expense. They are extremely light and thin, warm, and wick away moisture from the skin very successfully. I slept in them the night on Mesa Verde when freezing rain, wind and snow bombarded me in the tent. They were warm and thin underneath my insulated riding gear and excellent for layering. The only days I did not wear them were 'off-the-bike' days and the last day on the road when temperatures were in the 90's. They wash up easily in the sink and dry quickly when hung.

All clothing went into Coleman Space Saver bags, much like Seal-a-Meal bags where the air can be compressed out the bottom by a one-way exhaust. These bags significantly reduced the volume of my clothes into two tightly rolled bags that fit very well into the side cases.

Nearly all the camping gear, including battery-powered portable air pump, went into two dry bags lashed onto the pillion seat. The only items in a side case were the mummy bag (in a compression bag) and the Big Anges inflatable pad. I was also able to store the insulating liners for my riding jacket and pants in the dry bags. My mesh gear, both jacket and pants, were in a horizontally compressed nylon bag also in a dry bag.

One of the dry bags and two sets of webbed straps with D-ring extensions were ordered from Helen2wheels. The cord-close dry bag accommodated all the tent components, including ground cloth, the portable air pump and one of the outer gear liners. The straps were a godsend. I will be ordering more of those and an extra set of the D-ring extenders; in bright yellow!

The dry bag contained the long compression bag of mesh gear, a folded Therma-rest pad, the Big Agnes sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, and anything else that needed a 'home'. As you can see from the photo, the bright orange increases visibility; I also added a length of reflective tape on the black bottom of the bag.

Both bags were strapped to the bike in front of the Storm case with the webbed straps and one heavy duty bungee cord. A cargo net on top completed the attachment. When I stopped overnight without camping, I left these two bags strapped on to the bike and removed the laptop case and sidecase liners with contents. When camping, everything came off the top of the bike, but most of the contents of the sidecases stayed in.

An essential part of any journey, often a journey unto itself, is the preparation. Most previous posts describing preparing the bike are titled ‘The Continuing Education of Whee.’
Seat: The sheepskin pad from the cruiser was put on the seat to increase comfort and moderate temperature. And it is very successful no matter what the temperature: hot or cold.
Handguards: These are worth their weight in gold! I chose Probend guards on the recommendation of a KLR rider; they allow for ample room of hands and levers and have interchangable shields. They deflect the wind and rain, helping to keep the hands warm.
Electronic gadgets: Several of these are on my list: voltimeter, outlet for hand or vest warmers, and cruise control would be super! First order modification is installing a power distribution system before any other electronics are added.

GPS: I don't necessarily mind being lost, but it seems that getting lost at the wrong time was the rule. All four times were when I was pressured to ride to a destination quickly due to inclement weather conditions or encroaching darkness. Being lost at night is not fun.

These useful gadgets can also supply useful travel information such as riding speed, average speed, altitude, total mileage, average daily mileage, and so much more. It's like a miniature cockpit in a box on your handlebar.

Thoughts on the Road: Personal Grooming and Necessities:
A coffee cup is a necessity. Starbucks insulated mug that also serves as a small French Press. All one needs is coarse grounds and hot tap water. I did pack a washcloth and small hand towel. I discovered I needed lots of Chap Stick, and stuck a stick everywhere I could: in my camera case, tank bag, and hygiene bag. I also used a small miniature jar of facial cream, prolifically covering my face morning and night to ward off the drying effects of the sun and wind. Even then, my nose and lips burned and peeled through most of the journey. A tooth brush & paste. I also added a small tin of mints in my tank bag. Not only does it mask travel mouth, but it also stimulates saliva production reducing dry mouth. Liquids: one can never have enough of that. The Camelbac is the greatest invention; I can’t imagine a road trip without it. There is no way to accurately predict the weather, so I packed one item for cold and hot weather for the two halves of my body; jeans and fleece zippered jacket, T-shirt, tank top and shorts. By the time I reached Taos, I realized the tank top and shorts would not be needed, so I sent them back home. I spent most of my time on this trip in riding gear anyway, but I was thankful for the T-shirt and jeans when off the bike. I also packed my lightweight sandals, which I wore anytime off the bike to give my feet some breathing time and boots a chance to dry on the inside. Except for the last two days of this trip when summer reappeared, I wore the UnderArmors and
insulated gear. Clothing for off the bike was minimal.
rocketbunny: Copied w/o permission as published @ URL:
I also bought a few new accessories for the road.
• Battery powered toothbrushes have really come down in cost. I picked up an OralB for $5. I used to hate the feeling of using a manual toothbrush when on the road, instead of my deluxe rechargeable. Now my teeth should be squeaky clean morning and night.
• Adapter cord for charging electronics. BMW uses a funky power socket, so while I have one built in on the bike, I couldn’t actually use it. Until now. I’m thinking that my old Giant Tank Bag ™ is going to get strapped to the rear seat and get used as a charging station for all my various goodies. With the ST’s giant saddlebags, the tent and sleeping bag should no longer take up seat space.
• I also acquired a cheap bullet camera for taking onboard video. I’m not going to hype it until I see how it does.
Loose Ends:

Among the stuff that will have to wait for last minute:
• Business cards with rocketbunny information to hand out to people I meet. I’ve been meaning to do this for a few years. I have a design in mind and the pre-cut cards to do it with. I just need to sit down at my graphics computer and do it.

• Refresh my ebook collection. I carry a Ipaq loaded with ebooks for night and meal reading. I usually load at least 5 books. The pda is smaller than a paperback, so using it for this really helps save space.
• Load a backup MP3 player. I’ve been meaning to raid Dad’s classic rock collection. This will be for those times when the XM craps out due to canyon or tree cover.
• Oh, and my Givi trunk? It’s a mess. I gotta go in with a trash bag to make space for clothes and the laptop. Of course, nothing in there is really “meant” to be there, it just migrated through repeated use. At least the saddlebags are relatively neat right now.


Five minutes later I emerged from my room and walked down to the R1200ST. I’ve streamlined my packing over the last few tours to the point that I can carry all of my gear, toiletries, spare clothes, and the laptop/electronics bag from the hotel room to my bike in just one trip. I used the hotel ice machine to fill my camelbak and peered down the parking lot at Mike lounging by his FJR. He appeared slightly shocked that I was all ready to go so soon after coming out of my room for the first time that morning.
Acquired a new camping stove
At the end of a long day on the road, I usually can't face getting back on the bike and searching for a place to eat.

Therefore, on each multi-day tour or camping trip, I carry a backpacking stove, lightweight metal pot, and several packets of freeze-dried backpacking food. BTW: "Backpacker's Pantry" makes the best food. They have interesting, great tasting entrees. At the end of the day, I boil a couple of cups of water, pour it into the foil packet, and wait a few minutes before eating, usually accompanied by water from my camelbak. I've even done this in a hotel room, after a very wet day when all I wanted was to get warm and go to sleep.

Unfortunately. the camping stove I've used for the last two years wasn't actually mine, so I left it in California with it's owner.

No fear! This last weekend, REI had a 20% off one item sale for members. I've been eyeing the Jetboil camping stove system for the last few months. This was my opportunity to knock a significant chunk off the purchase price.

I haven't actually tried it out yet, but I unpacked it to see how it all fits together.

The neat thing about the Jetboil is that the stove, fuel canister, and pot (insulated metal cup actually) all fit together for light and compact transport. It will trim the size required to stow my cooking system by half! It's easy to use too, with an ignitor button and little black knob to control the flame. To cook, you just screw it on to the fuel can, turn the knob to get the gas flowing, and press the button. Presto! Hot water in minutes. Caffeine junkies can even buy an accessory that lets you brew coffee in the cup (not my thing).

The stove + a fuel canister came out to ~$60 with the sale. Check out Jetboil's Official Website for more info.
got onto cyclegadgets and ordered a Kisan Headlight Modulator, reflective tape to make my saddlebags go nuclear at night, a medical information pouch that sticks to your helmet (+1 for dad), and a Formotion thermometer. I also need to take the time to install the hyperlights (blinky red led strips) that I pulled off the Yzf before selling it.

Copied w/o permission as published @ URL:
Tips on Technique and Equipment
I am often asked for long distance riding tips, or about the equipment I use. I am far from a expert on either subject. Most of what I know, I gleamed from other long distance riders. Applying, and keeping the ideas that worked. I also leaPacking
A 2 week trip will see me packing the following items. Lots of underwear, 3 sweatshirts, 2 sweatpants, 4 t shirts, 10 pair of white socks, 2 pair of long wool socks, 3 cotton shorts to wear under my Roadcrafter on warm days. For times when I am not on the bike, I have 1 pair of Khaki shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 2 polo shirts, and 1 set of Nikes. All my clothes can pack in the Tourmaster, strapped to my rear seat.
I carry almost all whites to streamline things on wash day.
My toiletries are packed in a Wallaby hang up bag. I carry it in my duffel bag.
The Moto Fizz carries all my clothes, DVD player, and chargers for my camera, Axim, and phone. I strap it to the rear seat. Lately I'm finding it too BIG so may do some streamlining before the the next tour.
The 1300 has slightly larger saddlebags than the 1100 so I moved my tent to the right bag. More space was opened up when I ceased bringing cooking gear, so I moved the tent from the H2W bag, where it was a hassle to stuff the inside.
The left saddlebag will be my cold weather armory. It will carry my gloves, thinsulate vest, and extra sweatshirts and pants. My National Geographic atlas will also be found here.
The right pocket on the Moto Fizz will find everything that has a wire. Phone charger, TV, Walkman, and flashlight, The left pocket houses my 3 pair of glasses, camera, aspirin and Axim.
All my gear packed and ready does not weigh 40 lbs. My goal of light weight travel is achieved with my current system. The ST still handles like a ST when I am riding cross country, and I have everything I need.
Learned a lot by trial and error.
Cross Country Packing Checklist

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