RideBellChain.com Blog


Traveling Soon? Are you ready?

2/18/2010 10:34:07 PM

As we're getting ready to ride to Daytona next week, I've begun my little "prep" routine with my bike, and I thought I'd share it with you all. Note that I'd love to hear what you have to add to my routine, so I encourage you to email me your thoughts and ideas to Mark@RideBellChain.com.  I will update this article as your comments come in.

1. Wash
2. Polish
3. Inspect
4. Preventative Measures
5. Organize

Washing and Polishing the bike is way more important than you might realize - not only do I get to make it pretty, but it's a very important thing to do because here is where you may notice little problems before they become big problems. Most importantly, you'll not find out about the issue the hard way (while you're riding), but you'll catch it while you're safe and warm in your garage.

This is actually one of the biggest parts of INSPECTION - the visual checkup.  Following the cosmetic inspection, I print out my TCLOCKS list (click on the Tech section on the main menu bar above) and I try to do as much as I can.  I'll be honest, it's a LOT of work to do this complete inspection.

What I try to do is make several passes over a few weeks. I'll check the all important fluid levels EVERY time, and the other stuff when it makes sense.  I have a new bike, and some things I'll take for granted that they're OK...but each and every item WILL get checked out over say a two month period. For example, the first section, Tires. I’ll do the Tire checks – air pressure, visual inspection any time I put the bike up on the jack, but the Wheels inspection I’ll do a lot less.  It’s a new bike, and I have to trust Yamaha somewhat, right? Download the free TCLOCKS sheet now, and do as much as you can up until it’s feeling like a “chore” and then quit so you are motivated to continue at another time.

Now is the time to go through your storage – saddlebags, trunk, tourpack, tank bag, tool bag…everything.  Get rid of the crap that you never use!  Lighten that load because you’re going to need the space. 

Go through your tools – do you have a tool for every critical screw and nut on the bike? Bring the ones you know you’ll need for most common repairs that you'd be willing to attempt yourself, away from home.  On my metric bike, for example, I know I need a 3mm and 4mm allen wrench, a 8mm and 10mm socket, and 13mm, 14mm, 15mm, 17mm open end wrenches.  There’s also Phillips screws, so I have a screwdriver, and there’s always need for an adjustable wrench and needle nose pliers.  I round off this toolkit by bringing some duct tape and tie-wraps. You never know!

Is your rain gear in good condition?  Folded and stowed away with easy access just in case you need it?  I keep a small towel, and also a pack of baby-wipes in a sealed container as well.  Great to clean hands, etc.

Then I’ll go through my tank bag.  It’s pretty small and lays flat, but holds my Sunpass (transponder for tolls), and has my audio cable for when I want to use the iPhone for music instead of the radio, and the all important tic-tacs.  I’ll put my wallet in there as well, just to keep it as comfy as possible on the ride.

Your important papers – where are they?  Registration, driver’s license.  Make sure they’re in a watertight compartment, and easy to get to in case you need them. Also – create an ICE card – In Case of Emergency, and include your name, address, any medical info, and contacts just in case…

Last but not least, I’m putting in a bottle of Ride-On in each tire.  It will let the tire self-seal if punctured, and I know the stuff works.  Find it on eBay.  I think it’s between $10-15 per tire. It might save your life.  I am riding up to Daytona, and my wife of 22 years will be in the pillion position trusting me with her life.  I take that seriously and don't ever mind spending money on new tires and Ride-On.

With all that said and done, I’m now ready to be safe, ride safe, and have fun.  I hope I’ve encouraged you to spend some non-riding time with your machine in the name of Chrome and Safety, and I wish everyone travelling to Daytona for bike week over the next 2 weeks safe riding and lots of fun!

Until next time,

Ride Safe!
Mark Turkel





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