Practicalities

Riding a motorcycle as a means of primary transportation has its rewards. But, what about days when conditions conditions are less than ideal? Or downright bad? What about storage and security? What about breakdowns?

These are all valid questions-many riders simply lock up their bikes and drive instead.

I hung up the truck keys 13 years ago in favor of riding my brand new 1999 Honda CB750 Nighthawk. I loved that bike (damn you Hurricane Katrina!). I quickly found that a brief rainstorm on the way into work could put a real damper on things at work; pun intended.

Rain gear was quickly purchased and strapped to the back of my bike. I found that the cheapest stuff works fairly well when used for brief stints. Problem solved. Until my shoes filled up with water! I discovered that waterproof boots or rain gators are essential when getting outfitted with gear.

The point that should be taken away is that riding reveals what is needed quite naturally. You can’t imagine what you need (or don’t) until you’ve experienced it yourself. Sure, lists can be made and advice given, but it isn’t until we get out there ourselves that we realize what we need to make ourselves comfortable on our bikes and what specifically makes it practical for each individual.

For example, I carry a laptop and ledger with me. These items simply  cannot get wet. There are a ton of options for solving this problem – rainproof rucksacks/backpacks/messenger bags (Kriega is a fave); soft luggage (Ventura, for ex.); and hard cases (Givi is a fine brand that I use). The benefit of hard cases includes lockable storage as well. It wasn’t until someone stole my rain pants that I realized this benefit fully.

Here is a list of what I currently use or carry with me on my 2005 Suzuki SV650:

Givi top case (hard case, copious and lockable storage, protection from the elements and thieves, easily removable) It accommodates my jacket and gloves while away from the bike.

Rain jacket, pants, gators

Pinlock equipped visor

Minor tools, micro air compressor, puncture kit

Extra clothing (if needed)

Laptop bag

Airhawk seat (a good example of identifying a specific problem and solving it with some research!)

Crash protection (frame sliders saved my bike from a tip-over while putting on rain gear)

Windshields (I have a variety that I simply mount for a given situation)

Heated vest (this is powered from the bike’s battery)

Ski pants ($10! from Academy – they have a bib that fits nicely under my jacket to minimize cold air intrusion – one of my faves!)

Waterproof boots (short and high versions)

Thermals for those cold days

Helmet Communicator (FM radio, bike to bike/passenger comm)

Balaclava (essential for cool/cold weather riding)

High-collared zip front pull over

And of course, the proper protective gear!

Your needs will vary. There is a solution for your problem – you simply need to identify it and go from there. Riding makes daily life fun when it might otherwise become mundane. Don’t let silly excuses prevent you from throwing your leg over the bike when conditions (or friends and family) say you should opt for driving. Heck, I love riding in the rain – all bundled up with my rain gear on – completely protected from the elements. The sound of raindrops falling on my helmet is nice. It also cools things off nicely when the temperatures swell!

Hopefully, this article inspires you to put the car keys away. I will post more about this subject in upcoming articles.

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© Copyright 2012nolarocks, All rights Reserved. Written For: Motorcycle Road, Track & Trail

About nolarocks

Life long motorbike rider from New Orleans with a passion for riding sportbikes, naked (cafe) bikes, dirt bikes, mini bikes and on and on and on. Throw in some Isle of Man TT racing, short circuit racing, and the glory days of 1950s-1970s English/Irish/Manx road racing and you are getting close. I can't get enough.
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