You have decided to mark Cross Country Motorcycle trip off your bucket list. Now that the decision is made you will need to prepare. The obvious will be picking your dates, your destination, and making sure your ride is ready for the road. You will of course need to pack. Packing seems simple enough. You are aware of how much space you have, and you are certain what will fit. So you pack it all up, and then go out to load your bike. Realizing that the Beverly Hill Billy’s truck was loaded lighter you go back to the drawing board.
You will need to be prepared not only for your day to day care such as bathing and brushing your teeth but also for things like Sunburn, Bee Stings and any minor injury you may have along the way. A good checklist is helpful and a great resource can be found at http://www.firstaidanywhere.com/motorcycle-first-aid-kit.html. This site details items that they say can be packed into a bag 7”x5”x3”. I did not see Bee Sting treatment listed here, and from experience I strongly recommend that it be included. If you will be camping at any time on your trip Bug Repellant will also be a very close friend to have along. Another useful item is a small travel pack of baby wipes. You can figure out a number of uses for these.
No one on a Motorcycle really wants to think about a flat tire. However, you must consider the possibility. You could find yourself alone and stuck with no cellular service. Progressive Suspension has a tire kit available that will easily fit in your limited space. It includes CO2 cartridges and could save you from being stuck.
So you have prepared for possible injury, and for a flat tire. What about communication? Most all of us have cellular phones these days. This wonderful technology is battery dependent and not everyone has a 12 volt charger on their bike. There are products available that use solar power to provide a charge for your mobile phone, or digital camera. A simple internet search will bring up several options, and you should be able to find one versatile enough to charge most devices. Some will even include a flashlight as part of the unit.
While writing this article I spoke with Ray Vega of the Palm Beach Motorcycle Safety Council. I asked him what he would take on a trip. First answer was his wife followed by Rain Gear, First Aid Kit, Tool Kit, Tire Repair Kit, Flashlight, Water and Snacks. We also discussed the usefulness of items such as a Leatherman, and a Swiss Army Knife. These items pack the most bang for your buck, and can be packed in small spaces.
Be aware of the weight rating of your cycle and tires. Overloading the bike will have an effect on not only the tires but also on the handling of your bike. As for the rest of your packing adventure there are many checklists out there detailing hundreds of items you might need to have with you. Some of which will take you right back to the Beverly Hill Billy look. During a 2 and ½ year period I relied solely on my motorcycle for transportation and I traveled a bit during that time. Keeping it as simple as possible was the best and it was a hard learned technique. You can always find a coin laundry for your clothes, and some hotels will have one onsite. Pack light, pack simple, and pack useful.
Be sure to verify your roadside assistance on your motorcycle insurance policy, and that your coverage is up to date. Ride safe, and ride often.