Friday 8 May 2015

Packing For A Weekend Solo Trip

An impromptu video recording, while I was packing for a solo motorcycle trip for a long weekend. Made the recorded clips into this video and hope it to be of help to new long-distance riders to identify and pack the essential items for their rides. A bit of dubstep was thrown in, to make it as much fun to watch as I personally had while making this video. Enjoy!!

Here is the summarised version of my checklist:-

1. Toolkit for motorcycle and wheel/ tire removal (e.g. tire iron, valve remover, patch stickers, etc)
2. Motorcycle Spares (e.g. headlight/break-light/indicator bulbs, extra tube, spark plug, clutch and throttle wire, fuses, electric insulation tape, a small torch/flash-light, engine oil (if old RE models
3. Air Compressor (e.g. Electrical, hand pump, foot/pedal pump, etc)
4. Good quality multi-tool (e.g. Leatherman, Gerber, Swiss Army, etc)
5. Bungee cords (either 2 simple ones or 1 X-shaped), for the luggage/emergency scenarios
6. First-aid Kit, hydration solutions (e.g. ORS, etc), and prescription medicines (if any)
7. Photocopies of documents (e.g. Driving License, Vehicle Registration, Emission Certificate, etc)
8. Toiletries, sunscreen, and a pack of wet tissues
9. Clothes for on/off the bike use
10. Climate-specific clothing (i.e. Rain gear, Thermals, etc) based on the weather and climate of the region of the ride
11. Gadgets: cellphone, camera, spare batteries, earphones/headsets, charging cables, etc (If the cellphone is used as GPS, keep a spare charging cable)
12. Water in bottles/hydration pack
13. Energy/Nutrition bars, energy drinks, chocolates, or other snacks [Optional]

Few points to remember while stuffing your things in the saddlebags. If you are like me and enjoy cornering and leaning on, in the twisties, then the bike must be well-balanced at all times, especially with the luggage tied to it.

A bike without luggage is well-balanced for the most part and is aerodynamic to some extent. However, when we add things like big saddlebags full of stuff or even a tank bag, we are not only affecting the center of gravity of the motorcycle but also changing the vehicle's dynamics. Without going too much into technical details (like the direction of shift of the center of gravity, aerodynamics, etc), if you ensure the following things, you would be just fine:

1. Keep heavier items (e.g. tools, spares, filled water bottles, Engine oil bottles, foot pump, etc) as low in the saddlebag as possible and split evenly into both sides.

2. Keep heavier items towards the center of the bike (i.e. towards the bike/wheel instead of outwards) as much as possible.

3. If you use a tank bag along with saddlebags, then it's a good idea to keep frequently accessed items (e.g. Camera, sunglasses, spare gloves, small towel, tissues, the mobile charging cable in case you have a charging point on your bike, etc) in it. This will help you avoid opening and shuffling items inside your neatly organized saddlebags, while on the road.

4. Ensure that the saddlebag and tank bag are completely secure and firmly tied to the motorcycle and there is no possible play when the bike leans to the sides or pushes up or down on suspension. Also, you wouldn't want the belts/buckles to get into the motorcycle spokes/alloys when you are rolling, that would be dangerous. So make sure there are no loose ends. If required use additional bungee cords to secure the bags on the motorcycle.

5. Try not to let your saddlebags bulge too much laterally, as that may touch other vehicles while maneuvering through tight spaces and especially in the traffic in cities in India. If you slot in the items smartly, the shape of the saddlebags will remain symmetrical (rectangular) in shape from top to bottom. Use the compression straps on the saddlebags to tighten them, after you have put them on the motorcycle.

6. Double-check your bag setup from time to time for your peace of mind and safety. Be attentive to any change in the handling after every sixty to hundred kilometers or so, as something might have come loose. If you get such a feeling, slow down, pull over to the side into a safe spot, and do your check. Tighten any strap/cords as necessary and then continue with your journey.

Hope these tips save you time and keep you safe on the road so that you can focus on enjoying your rides.

Now lastly, I am not an expert. The tips and tricks shared above come from my limited experience of riding my motorcycle. Every single day, I too am learning something new about packing and motorcycling in general. So if you have any suggestions for me as a fellow rider, or want to discuss something, or have any questions on this post, feel free to leave a comment below. I shall get back to you as soon as possible.

Until then.

Ride Safe & Ride Far,


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