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Six Tips to Get the Most from Your Phone

Six Tips to Get the Most from Your Phone

Having a smart phone on your motorcycle can be extremely helpful, but as with any technology, you can experience glitches. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of using your phone while riding a motorcycle.

  • Make it easier to read:Go to phone settings -> screen brightness. Turn off “auto” and adjust the brightness as high as it will go.
  • Reduce sun glare: When phone is in the mount, angle it so that reflects toward your chest; this will reduce glare from the sky (all our phone mounts have adjustable angle features)
  • Touch screen function: If you need to use the touch screen function, go to phone settings -> screen sensitivity and turn it all the way up. This makes the touch screen more responsive when you are wearing gloves
  • Font: You may want to change your font to a larger size
  • Color: Similarly, you could change background colors (the more plain the better)
  • Organize: Set up your initial screen with the apps you need the most when riding to minimize the number of swipes required
With just a little bit of modification, you'll find using your smartphone on your bike is a piece of cake. Just be sure to have a high-quality phone mount so you'll never lose your phone!

For help with mounting your phone, check out Tracey's other recent articles: Choosing a Phone Mount that's Right for YOU and Location, Location, Location: WHERE to Mount your Phone.
  • Tracey Cramer
New & Shipping! Dawgs for Harley “Milwaukee Eight” Softail Models!

New & Shipping! Dawgs for Harley “Milwaukee Eight” Softail Models!

The wait is over.

Riders who’ve made the move to the new 2018+ Harley-Davidson Softail Models can now get the protection and comfort of the Desert Dawgs Rain Guards/Wind Deflectors!

Keep the rain off your feet and reduce those annoying updrafts and helmet buffeting. And there’s more:

  • repel road spray from front wheel and flared front fender
  • keep bug juice off motorcycle chrome (and legs!)
  • allow engine cooling - NO temperature restriction!
  • does not affect bike handling
  • accommodates all standard foot peg settings (does not apply to Mustache fitment)
  • Ultra-Pockets on both sides for extra carrying capacity (garage door opener, sunglasses, camera case, etc.)

Unlike competitive products, the Desert Dawgs are easy-on, easy-off. They require NO special tools or maintenance, and can be rolled/folded and stored in a saddlebag when not in use. Choose from Original or Bling It Out with chrome studs!

Desert Dawgs are now shipping for both the Standard and the Mustache engine guard bars.

They will fit the following models: Fat Bob, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Deluxe, Breakout, Softail Slim, Street Bob & Sport Glide.

 

  • Tracey Cramer
Riding in the Rain: Waterproofing your Phone, GPS, etc.

Riding in the Rain: Waterproofing your Phone, GPS, etc.

Now that I’ve talked about waterproofing YOU, the rider (see It’s All About the Gear and Get Visible) - as well as things you can do to ride more safely in the rain (Traction & Tactics) - what about your motorcycle? Specifically, what about electronic devices you need to use, like a phone or GPS?

Our phones, in particular, have become an extension of us. We don’t go anywhere without them, and we use them for everything - from using a navigation/GPS app, to checking email, to taking photos - we even use them to keep track of our schedule and for updating our social media profiles with pictures from our rides!

So it goes without saying that waterlogging your phone is a bad thing. Besides the inconvenience, these mini-computers are no longer cheap to replace!

So how do you protect your phone while using it on a motorcycle? Here are some ideas for waterproofing your phone.

Approach #1: Aftermarket Cases

Nowadays there are many waterproof phone cases to choose from; Otterbox and Lifeproof are two better-known waterproof phone case brands.

If you have a cover like that on your phone, it adds bulk (size) and weight. So when you consider mounting it on your motorcycle, it helps to know the total dimensions (width, height AND depth) of your phone in its case. Then you can choose a mount that accommodates that.

If you don’t want a bulky waterproof cover on your phone, here are two more suggestions for keeping your phone dry. (BTW these apply nicely to GPS, iPods and other devices as well.)

Approach #2: Zip-Lock Baggie

Keep a few zip lock bags in your saddlebag (or pocket) and simply slip one on over your phone. Make sure you get a high-quality brand so the ‘zip’ really ‘locks.’ This method has worked for me in light to moderate rain (although truth be told, I prefer one of our mounts!).

Approach #3: Hydra Waterproof Case

The Hydra waterproof phone/GPS mount is a case with a zipper closure on three edges. It has a special waterproof ‘plug’ to run wires out if needed. Because it has a thicker vinyl front, it can be harder to use the touch screen functions (some phone screens are more touchy than others). The Hydra also has a ball-style mechanism connecting it on the back so you can tilt/angle the phone, with both vertical and horizontal options.

Both the Hydra can be mounted in a variety of locations: handlebar, brake/clutch, mirror stem, windshield and more. So you can always get your phone in a position that is easy for you to see and read.

Does it really work? Check out the video below, where our kids get to soak us (but not our phone)!

  • Tracey Cramer
Motorcycle Travel Comfort & Convenience (the Cool Stuff & the Little Things)

Motorcycle Travel Comfort & Convenience (the Cool Stuff & the Little Things)

Do you dream of life on the road, just you and two wheels (or three)? We all have places we’ve been daydreaming about. Pick one from your ‘bucket list’ and make it happen! Here are some tips to help!

Picking a 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. Or, 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).

Experience Cool Stuff

The roads are not the only reason for the trip. Make sure to plan fun and interesting destinations along your route.

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

Think about where you want to stay. Do you prefer a big hotel chain 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.

Try to plan your day’s travel so you end up at a location where lodging is available. (In peak times of the year you may want to make reservations in advance.)

TIP: 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. Of course, you want to make sure your phone or GPS is securely mounted (hint: use a Leader mount!).

The Little Things: Comfort & Convenience

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’re 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. 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.

One last thing to think about

Have you taken your bike for a “wellness” check? You and your motorcycle are going to spend a lot of time together on this trip, so make sure your bike is “healthy”! Make sure someone knows where you’re going and all your contact information and insurance information is up-to-date and stored in a safe place.

You are prepared, packed, organized, and it’s time to hit the road. You can do it knowing you are going to make memories that will last a lifetime! Enjoy!

TIP: Saving Memories

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 can be amazing!

Today’s action cams are light and powerful. Naturally, we have what you need to mount the camera: the Swivel-CAM is perfect for shooting video.

Think of all the fun you’ll have going back to watch this video in the dead of winter!

  • Tracey Cramer
Overstock Sale: 30% off Mirror Mounts

Overstock Sale: 30% off Mirror Mounts

Mount your Phone, GPS, Camera or other device to any brand/model motorcycle with a mirror stem (3/8” to ½”).

Easy to see yet out of the way! Mount toward front/back or to the left/right – it’s totally up to you!

All mirror mounts 30% off!
Use code: MIRRORUP
(minimum order $59)

Option: URBAN (Black)

We call these “Stealth Mounts” because they’re so unobtrusive; the bracket measures less than 2 inches square! Check out this video to see how easy it is! Click here to see URBAN Mirror Mounts

Option: eCaddy (Chrome)

The eCaddy’s u-shaped slot-and-lug design has been proven over and over again – for 16 years! Click here to see eCaddy Mirror Mounts.

All Leader Mounts are manufactured in the USA from aluminum and stainless steel – no rust, no wear!

  • Tracey Cramer
'Extreme' Winter Motorcycle Riding

'Extreme' Winter Motorcycle Riding

I’ve lived in MinneSNOWta all my life, 30 years as a biker. Winter motorcycling isn’t particularly fun for me, even with crazy PMS (“Parked Motorcycle Syndrome”) right about now. But if you simply MUST ride a motorcycle in the winter, here are our top tips for doing so.

Clothing

Layer. Start with a long-sleeve base (such as Under Armor) that wicks moisture away from your body. Add an insulating layer (like fleece) and/or a heated vest with controller.

Your jacket is no place to skimp; get the best. Gore-Tex is popular for its breathability and waterproof features. Same with boots and gloves; add a neck warmer and a full-face helmet. Think like a snowmobiler but buy like a biker!

Motorcycle Prep

A motorcycle windshield goes without saying here, and extras like the Desert Dawgs Rain/Wind Guards and motorcycle hand guards or muffs are a huge help as well. If you’re able to install heated grips, they’ll go a long way toward keeping your hands warmer.

If your bike is water-cooled, make sure the antifreeze is fresh and mixed properly and that all hoses are in good shape.

Tires: make sure you have awesome tread if you plan to ride in snow. Check your tire pressure, as it can change with temperature swings. Also, be aware that cold motorcycle tires offer less traction.

Road Hazards

First, the obvious: if it even remotely looks like ice, stay away! If you live in an area that uses salt on the roads (like we do), be very cautious; it can cause you to lose traction (just like snow can).

Also remember that snow, salt, fluctuating temps and equipment like plows can really do a number on road surfaces. I swear some of the cracks and pot holes around here are big enough to swallow a motorcycle!

Visibility and Following Distance

During winter riding, look further down the road so you can recognize hazards before they occur, and/or react to a potential problem more quickly. And give the vehicle in front of you plenty of space. You might not have the same space available for stopping (or avoiding) due to less traction.

SNOW

Keep an eye on the forecast; if the weather folks are calling for multiple inches of snow, leave the motorcycle at home. And if you’re out riding and it starts snowing, get home. The white stuff can accumulate quickly and make for some seriously slippery conditions (even in a car).

If you’re really into winter riding, consider a snowmobile. Just kidding! (But you can buy studded snow tire kits here in the northland.) Riding a motorcycle in the winter can be challenging, but it can be done with the right attitude!

  • Tracey Cramer