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Memories and Maintenance: Motorcycle Travel Part IV

Okay, you’ve  picked your destination, planned your route, and found some fun places to visit along the way. You know which states to wear a helmet in and your bags are packed. What are you forgetting?

Saving memories

Many wonderful memories are going to be made during this trip. Have you thought about how you’re going to save them? Your own brain, you say? Well, if you're like me things don’t stick in the old noggin like they used to. What’s the solution?

Pictures & video!

Now that you’re finally taking your dream trip, there’s nothing cooler than recording it in both picture and video. The scenery and shots are amazing!

Must have for this trip is a video camera! Today’s action cams are light and powerful (see this article for a review of several). Naturally, we have what you need to mount the camera: the Swivel-CAM is perfect for shooting video:

  • A clean, streamlined design
  • Ultra-Swivel for unlimited angle-ability
  • 360-degree rotational swivel at top
  • Built-in anti-vibration
Think of all the fun you’ll have going back to watch this video in the dead of winter!

One last thing to think about

Have you taken your bike for a “wellness” check? The two of you are going to be spending a lot of time together on this trip.

Make sure your motorcycle is roadworthy and reliable before setting out. Ensure all equipment is working and can withstand the rigors of the road. The tires should have plenty of rubber and be properly inflated, the oil and other fluids should be clean and topped off, and all lighting should be working.

If your bike has a chain drive, the chain should be properly tensioned and lubricated, and if belt driven, the belt should be inspected for wear and properly tensioned. Make sure all nuts and fastening hardware are tight.

Precautions

Make sure someone knows where you are going and all of your contact information and insurance information is up-to-date and stored in a safe place.

Now with all of this proper planning it is time to go! You are prepared, packed, organized, and it is time to hit the road. You can do it knowing you are prepared and are going to make memories that will last a life time! Enjoy!

 


  • Tracey Cramer

Desert Dawgs for Yamaha V-Star 1300 Now Shipping!

Desert Dawgs® rain guards/soft lowers/engine guard chaps/wind deflectors keep feet and legs warm and dry in rainy or cold weather - and also cut down on annoying updrafts and helmet buffeting.

The newest "Fit of the Family" is for the Yamaha V-Star 1300 w/Cobra freeway bar (now shipping!), but if that's not your chosen ride, no worries! We have almost 50 fitments for all kinds of motorcycles (click here).

Desert Dawgs Features Include:
  • minimize helmet buffeting and cold updrafts
  • repel road spray
  • keep bug juice off motorcycle chrome (and legs!)
  • allow engine cooling – NO temperature restriction!
  • easy on-and-off
  • does not affect bike handling
  • accommodates standard foot peg settings (6-inch opening)
  • Ultra-Pockets on both sides offer extra storage!
  • Tracey Cramer

Comfort & Convenience: Motorcycle Travel Part III

Here at Leader we’re all about comfort and convenience! So now that we’ve covered planning tips (see posts "Dreaming" and "Planning"), it’s time to start thinking about the ‘little things’ that will make your trip so much more enjoyable.

Packing

Packing is super important on a bike because you have such limited space. You don't want to look like this guy!

Think about the weather where you are traveling and realize the temperature may swing from high to low in the span of a day.

Layer clothing whenever possible, and make sure you have the essentials: jeans, underwear, extra socks, long-sleeve shirt and your favorite T-shirts. Another must: rain gear and good-quality leather chaps.

Helmet Laws

Know the helmet laws in the states in which you’re traveling. Don’t get caught without one in a helmet-law state! (No fun to get a ticket on your dream trip.) Check out  this site for a map of the states where helmets are required.

Don’t try to do too much

If you’re not used to riding long distances, don’t force yourself to stay in the saddle for hundreds of miles. Plan stops along the way: for hydration, a bathroom break, or just to walk around and get the blood flowing (and give your rear a break). Plan the total number of hours or miles to be comfortable for you and you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip.

Invest in a set of Desert Dawgs for rain and wind protection; a butt cushion (or custom seat if your budget allows); or some music… anything for comfort and convenience.

NOW you’re ready to go! Or are you? We’ve got a few MORE tips for you! Stay tuned for our next post on recording memories, taking precautions and preparing your bike.

 


  • Tracey Cramer

Planning: Motorcycle Travel Part II

So you’ve picked a destination you want to ride your motorcycle to. Now have some fun planning it!

See cool stuff

The roads are not the only reason for the trip. Make sure to plan fun and interesting destinations along your route. That could mean a beach, a mountain range, a forest, a city, a monument, a desert, an amusement park, an ocean (or, heck, some relatives or friends!). The list is endless.

Don’t get lost

You’ll enjoy your trip more if you’re not stressed about finding a place to sleep, or wondering how far you can go on a tank of gas.

Get a GPS or a navigation app on your smart phone (See our blog post about GPS vs. Phone) and plug in your route. That way you can simply follow along and not have to worry about getting lost.

Some minor adjustments to your GPS can make you more comfortable (such as turning the screen brightness all the way up). And, of course, you want to make sure your phone or GPS is securely mounted (hint: use a Leader mount!).

Eating...

Look for out-of-the-way “local” places to eat (they often have the best food and atmosphere).

How about taking a tour of America’s weirdest food? Ever tried Scrapple in Pennsylvania? The name is as it implies. Scrapes of the pig! (Could it be good??)

Wisconsin - up in our neck of the words! - is famous for fried cheese curds. (These are amazing!)

Geoduck anyone? The leathery siphon protruding from the six-inch shell of this odd-looking deep-water clam can reach up to three feet in length. Served like sashimi and sauteed in butter. (Not sure about this one...)

And sleeping!

Try to plan your day’s travel so you end up at a location where lodging is available. In peak times of the year lodging can be hard to come by so you may want to make reservations in advance. Knowing where you are going and where you will stop helps make the trip less stressful.

Think about where you want to stay. Do you prefer a big hotel or something smaller? I love a good B&B (see http://www.bnbfinder.com/ or https://www.bedandbreakfast.com/); they’re often quaint or quirky, and the food is usually fantastic. Plus they have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening locally and are a great source for things to do in the area.

Every state (and many municipalities) has dedicated tourism websites that can be helpful in identifying destinations and lodging.

Stay tuned - in the next post, we'll offer some tips to maximize your comfort on your trip!

 


  • Tracey Cramer

Dreamin’: Motorcycle Travel Part I

Do you dream of life on the road, just you and two wheels (or three)? Places you’ve always wanted to go, but just haven’t made the time to visit? Spring has sprung and summer is on its way! Start planning your motorcycle trip and make this the year you make it happen!

Planning a motorcycle trip can be daunting. Where do you begin? We all have places we’ve been daydreaming about. Pick one from your ‘bucket list’ today!

Pick the route

The beauty of traveling on a motorcycle is that no one just “takes the freeway.” For some the point/goal is to pick roads they’ve never ridden on. Others look for scenic drives, roads with lots of curves (hooah!) or quaint towns they can explore along the way.

Google the words “scenic routes” and all kinds of things come up.
Roadrunner Travel has tons of riding routes along with events and organized tours. http://www.tripit.com/destinations/11-excellent-motorcycle-trip-planning-websites/ can be a great resource when planning your trip. Get out your “old-fashioned” map and peruse your route to see what towns and sights are near it.

If you’ve always wanted to see a landmark (say, Mount Rushmore or Niagara Falls) or tourist attraction (Disneyland?!), plan your route to take you through it (or by it).

Now that you’ve got an idea of where you want to go, what kinds of things should you consider? Watch for our next post with ideas! 

 


  • Tracey Cramer

Powering Your Device While Riding: USB Port

Have you ever wondered if your phone, GPS, camera or other device will run out of power just when you need it most (especially the way some of these phones go through power)? Maybe it’s time to think about a steady power supply/charger while you ride.

In the previous article, I explained how to use a Direct-to-Battery Harness to accomplish power. Today we’ll take a look at USB Power Ports.

(Note that for the purposes of these articles, I focus on powering small electronic devices only.)

I like to compare the idea of a USB Port to a cigarette outlet in a car. The USB Power Port can be mounted anywhere (on a fairing, dash, or handlebar – I used to have mine on the tank in a hidden area up front). Once it’s there (and wired) you always have a power source no matter what device you’re using. Many USB Ports (such as those from 3BR Powersports) even have a cap on the USB to keep dirt and rain out when the plug is not in use.

Need more than one plug-in? Some USB Ports feature two, such as this one from BikeMaster.

A note about USB Types

Many USB Power Ports utilize the USB Type A (which was the standard for many years, before GPS and phones became popular), while others can be purchased with Mini (common to most GPS) or Micro (common to phones) plugs. You can buy ‘converters’ (Type-A-to-Micro, etc) at electronics stores and computer stores for $10-$20. They are very common (you probably have one plugged in at home to charge your phone), so if you end up with mismatched USBs (or change devices), it’s easily fixed!

There’s a Caveat

Power Ports consume power even when nothing is plugged into them and can drain a motorcycle battery in as little as three to five days if connected directly to the battery. This is why most manufacturers will tell you to wire it to a switched circuit. The most common switched circuit is a headlight (Harleys make it a little easier with what they call a “deutsch plug” under the seat). So it’s a little more work than a direct-to-battery harness, but the wires can be more “permanent” and hidden.

 

  • Tracey Cramer