There's nothing like heading out on your Harley-Davidson motorcycle for a cross-country summer road trip. The wind blowing through your hair, the sun beating down upon your face, and the jealous glances from onlookers as you roar past them are priceless experiences. But things can take a turn for the worst if you are properly prepared. Here's three tips to make sure your trip is a successful and safe ride.
Get A Motorcycle Fuel Bottle
There's nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road because you ran out of gas. Your motor sports and accessories store will have just the right size fuel bottle you need depending on your journey. For most trips, a 30-ounce bottle will extend your riding range until you reach the next fueling station. Choose a bottle with an air-tight seal so you don't need to worry about evaporation, fuel degradation, or leaks. It's small enough to throw in your saddle bag, or you can buy a bottle mount or storage tube for your side rack.
Even supposedly waterproof bags don't always hold up to the promise when you find yourself in a heavy downpour. Instead of packing your rain gear and tarp on the bottom of your sack, use them to wrap around the things that are most important they stay dry.
You'll also want to pack the things you're most likely to need on the top of your bag. Don't bury something you might need frequently, like your map. You don't want to tear everything apart just to get to your gloves or your shell if it suddenly starts raining.
Bring Some Basic Tools
Don't let minor problems put an end to your trip. Every biker should have a few basic tools whenever he goes riding. Cable zip ties and duct tape can help hold a part together or in place until you can get to a shop. A Leatherman, a multi-purpose tool, is invaluable, whether it's for tightening a loose screw or opening a can of food. While the Leatherman is extremely useful, you'll also want to have a roadside tool kit with a few basic wrenches and sockets specifically for your motorcycle. A can of pressurized air for fixing a flat tire or a tire repair kit and a small compressor is a must, especially for trips out west where there is sometimes many miles in between towns. Don't forget a flashlight and an emergency flare, too.