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Topic: Things I learned while STRANDED  (Read 71215 times)

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goldylocks303
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« on: September 30, 2007, 12:34:56 pm »

This is a follow up thread to this one:
https://www.sport-touring.net/forums/index.php/topic,15738.0.html

You learn a lot of useful information while standing on the side of the road staring at your bike that doesn't work.  Before I forget all this stuff I thought I would share it with the group.  To you experienced tourers this will seem like old hat but if it helps anyone out of a jam it will be worth it.  

1.  $hit only goes wrong when you're in the middle of nowhere so plan on dealing with just about everything BEFORE you leave.  You will never break down in front of a shop that works on your brand of bike and has parts on the shelf.  In fact you won't even be within 100 miles of one.  

2.  Pack a lot of emergency stuff.  If you're not intimately familiar with your bike, bring the repair manual.  I brought tools (more and better ones than provided with the bike), two types of tire plugs and a battery powered inflator as well as some CO2, tons of maps, cold weather gear, hot weather gear, water, power bars, a flashlight that you wind up (no batteries)...  BUT what I forgot was the one thing that would have saved me: the repair manual.  My friend bought me the manual for my bike and it comes in handy but I didn't even think of bringing it.  Had I brought it I would have been able to quickly find the problem, get parts ordered and deal with it on the road.  Instead I blew about $1100 bucks on a truck to drive the bike home.  

3.  Getting stranded can be expensive, bring lots of cash and multiple forms of plastic.  I'm estimating here but getting stuck in Utah cost me a fortune, between the tow truck, a one way rental on a U-haul, and the gas to get home I spent about $1300.  I know what you're thinking, there had to be a less expensive alternative.  Shipping the bike would have been about $600, still involved getting it towed ($150), plus I would need to get to an airport (about $80 bus ride) and then fly home with a last minute ticket ($200-300), then do I ship the bike to a shop or home???  This quickly adds up to about the same price and a bit more head ache.  Plus shipping a vehicle is not like FedEx, they pick up and drop off on their schedule, not yours.  It may be a week before they pick it up and as much as three weeks before you see it again.  I may have had to pay the Honda shop storage while the bike waited to be picked up.  In short: there was NO cheap alternative that didn't involve waiting many days (which I didn't have).  Time is your enemy in this situation.  The more time I spent looking for a cheap, easy way to get the bike home, the more time I wasted not being in the U-haul driving back.  There is a 'bird in hand' philosophy here too.  You can spend a little bit of time looking for alternatives but ultimately, when you have an option ready to go in front of you and you're in a hurry, just take it and go.  

4.  There are people available to help you on the road but they don't always have what you need and you can't get everything as fast as you need it.  The Honda shop in Monticello Utah was incredibly helpful.  Big props to Mimi who stayed late at the shop to wait for me to arrive by tow truck.  Being in the middle of nowhere I wouldn't be able to get any parts any time soon and I didn't have time to wait.  STNers stepped in to help but by the time I got their posts there wasn't time for me to get to them.  

5.  That was the praise for the shops, this is the rant for the shops.  Don't expect too much from a shop.  I can't believe how some shops treat stranded travelers or how afraid some mechanics are to open up a bike.  The Honda shop in Monticello was very nice but the mechanic honestly seemed afraid to take the cover off my bike and investigate.  He was very helpful and let me use the phone to call a yamaha shop and he helped my load the bike into the U-haul and strap it down.  BUT I really needed him to just take one cover off and look inside and he was really against it.  I couldn't figure out why?  
THEN I called the Yamaha shop, expecting more willingness to investigate, and was shocked at their answer.  They were in SLC UT and said they would take a look at it but immediately jumped in with "We're really backed up right now so if it's a major problem it might be 7-10 days before we get to it".  What?  I know me being stranded is my problem but if I ran a shop I would give a lot of priority to someone who was really stuck and needed to get home.  Also, I didn't talk to the head mechanic, I talked to one of the underlings.  I explained the problem and he talked to the head mechanic who didn't feel the need to talk to me???  Hello, I've got a really strange problem, ya think ya might want to take the phone and give me two minutes of your time?  Instead he had the underling reiterate that they were really busy and it might be 7-10 days.  Come on guys, give me some optimism, explain my chances to me and display a little willingness to go the extra mile to help me out.  I would not run a shop this way.  JamesG and Explorer from this site gave me better advice than any of the shops did.  

6.  Carry an extra clutch cable and throttle cable with you.  Really cheap parts that may save your ass.  Turns out my problem wasn't a clutch cable BUT I thought it was and getting one was going to take forever.  I broke down at 5PM on Wednesday and when I called the nearest shop they were willing to overnight the part to help me out but it was too late to get it then.  So it would have been ordered Thursday morning, arrive Friday about 1PM, and I'd be up and running by Friday afternoon, that's almost 48 hours of down time and hotel bills.  OR if I had had the cable I would have been off at 10 AM on Thursday morning.  

7.  While you have cell service, call multiple people and work out back up plans.  Make sure someone is expecting you and knows the route you're taking.  I was right in front of a gas station when I broke down.  The attendant was very nice, I had cell service, he had a phone book.  Things were great.  I tried to ride the bike without a clutch back to the shop were it would sit for the night when the problem worsened and I was I lost all the oil.  Now I'm really screwed.  Bike is really not ridable now, I'm on the side of the highway instead of at a gas station, I have no cell service, the sun is setting and very few cars are passing.  I should have worked out some plan B's while still at the gas station.  

8.  Take 10 minutes of your time and learn to ride your bike without a clutch.  Get someone to push the bike forward while running the engine in neutral, drop it into first and get up to highway speed without pulling the clutch lever in.  It's rough on the tranny but 10 minutes won't kill it.  This is a useful skill to have, trust me.  

9.  Carry a phone card as well as a fully charged cell phone.  I didn't get cell service everywhere and having a phone card would have helped immensly.  

Hopefully this will help others in the future.  

eD

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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 08:38:41 am »

Very good post. Thumbsup
A manual such as a Haynes or Clymer packs away easy enough as does the clutch and throttle cables.
One thing i learned over the years from touring is that on every bike i go over all exposed fasteners and make a list of socket,allen,and wrench sizes needed to work on the thing and keep that list in my tool box so when i am getting ready to take off i know what tools to put in my McGyver kit.
I also carry about three feet of 14 gauge wire and a very small roll of duct tape i purchased from Aerostich.
Electrical tape as well along with various metric nuts and bolts.
I bought a very slender multimeter from Radio shack a few years ago that really is handy for checking things that might go awry on the electrics.
I use a canvas toilet kit to carry this stuff in.
I also carry a small led flashlight as well as my mini mag.
Having been stranded at least three times on the road over the years has helped me with my kit and planning.
It aint no fun having your vacation ruined by a dead bike as you have found out Goldy.
Again glad you made it back home. Thumbsup
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 08:40:52 am by mike goodwin » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 11:17:02 am »

These aren't really neccesary items as they are not a trip stopper, but carry a spare headlight bulb wrapped in paper towel and stored in its box all taped up. I also have a taillight bulb in a film cannister, can you even get film anymore? Lol

....but every Quickie Mart/Gas station in the world has brake/tail light bulbs so it's strictly optional.

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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 11:25:52 am »

Yeah, I picked up a few new things for this trip such as an LED flashlight that you wind up (no batteries), better flat repair equipment, better tools and a new pouch to hold them all, and a small roll of duck tape in a ziploc bag.  

Speaking of the extra bulbs thing.  I thought about the headlight one but never got around to it.  You're right about hardware stores carrying them but be warned, not all of them are open all the time.  I needed a mini blade fuse for my heated grips after riding from Fallon NV to the next town (100 miles) freezing my butt off.  When I arrived at the hardware store I found that Monday was the only day during the week they were closed  Angry3 Angry3 Angry3  How can they be closed...   it's monday??  Anyway, had to ride another 100 miles to the next town to get the fuse still freezing my butt off.  Moral of the story: hardware stores are everywhere but they're not always open when you need them to be.  


eD

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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 11:30:51 am »


Yeah, I picked up a few new things for this trip such as an LED flashlight that you wind up (no batteries), better flat repair equipment, better tools and a new pouch to hold them all, and a small roll of duck tape in a ziploc bag.  

Speaking of the extra bulbs thing.  I thought about the headlight one but never got around to it.  You're right about hardware stores carrying them but be warned, not all of them are open all the time.  I needed a mini blade fuse for my heated grips after riding from Fallon NV to the next town (100 miles) freezing my butt off.  When I arrived at the hardware store I found that Monday was the only day during the week they were closed  Angry3 Angry3 Angry3  How can they be closed...   it's monday??  Anyway, had to ride another 100 miles to the next town to get the fuse still freezing my butt off.  Moral of the story: hardware stores are everywhere but they're not always open when you need them to be.  


eD




Why did the fuse blow??
That generally indicates too much amperage or something went to ground.
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2007, 06:14:02 pm »

I didn't think of a spare throttle cable- not a bad idea. A spare clutch cable is a necessity for touring, IMHO.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2007, 06:20:25 pm »

U can use a fuel tank as a gas can, in a pinch.  
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2007, 12:18:33 pm »

Wait, do you mean seperate the fuel tank from the motorcycle and carry it to the gas station for gas?  That's actually a rather interesting idea.

Fuse - I think the grips were switched on when I turned the bike on and everything was cold and I just happened to pull too much power for a second.  They've worked fine on a new fuse ever since.  

eD

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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2007, 02:30:23 pm »


Wait, do you mean seperate the fuel tank from the motorcycle and carry it to the gas station for gas?  That's actually a rather interesting idea.



i guess it depends on what your time is worth. i ran out of gas once, luckily the second car that came by gave me a ride. the store where i bought the gas made me buy a gas can. they absolutely refused to let me put it in something else (i just needed a splash as i was only about a half mile away). i asked them to please look the other way and they wouldn't. i wasn't particularly happy with them but i guess it was easier than taking my tank off. i gave the can to the lady that gave me a ride.
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2007, 09:44:11 am »

I tried to bump start the bike with a dead battery and ran out of hill before the (cold) engine would light (close but never really lit).  I parked the bike by the side of the road and hiked back up the hill to the house to get out cables and jump start from the car (don't ask why I didn't just do that in the first place...  Crazy ).  At least one bike passed me and the parked bike without even looking to see what was up.  A couple of guys in a stake-side truck offered a lift (not worth it at that point but many thanks for asking).  Makes ya wonder...  
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 12:04:00 am »

Some good tips coming in from everyone. I liked the one about carrying a phone card, something I do not do now, but will in the future. Cell phones seldom work where I like to ride, and your batteries or minutes might run out.

I will add one: carry water and some type of food, because if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere, it could be a while before help arrives. I speak from experience.

One more: It's good to have a ball cap (or, if cold, a watch cap) to help keep the sun off while waiting or making repairs.

Keep 'em coming, folks. We can all benefit from the vast experience of the riders here.
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2007, 08:59:31 pm »

Carry Zip Ties and Duct Tape.
The LED flashlight that does not use batteries is a GREAT thing to have.
At least one Qt of oil (maybe 2)
Water and a small fuel can.
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2007, 12:52:07 am »

Great thread, I am glad you made it back alive.
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2007, 06:38:27 am »

Duct tape, definitely. Good range of tools. When I rode an outfit, I used to pack all sorts-even a spare wheel. Trickier on a solo.

Thanks for the very useful tip on carrying a manual.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2007, 10:20:17 am »

Guys,
What sort of luggage or tank type bags to hold this plethora of spare equipment?
Rod
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2007, 10:54:06 am »


Guys,
What sort of luggage or tank type bags to hold this plethora of spare equipment?
Rod


With some creative packing I fit mostly everything under my seat(tool kit, flat repair kit, little compressor).  On longer trips I just throw the Clymer(in a big Zip-Loc bag) in the bottom of the luggage.
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2007, 08:46:38 pm »

I wrap some duct tape around the wrench I use most and electrical tape around the allen wrench I use most.

Keeps the tape handy and makes those wrenches a whole lot easier to find, even in bad light.
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2007, 07:09:46 pm »

A flashlight that doesn't require batteries is a great idea, however I always carry a Surefire e2e (bright enough to signal your 'rescuer' from a distance), as well as an inexpensive LED headlamp. The headlamp is easy on batteries, and is handy when performing repairs.
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2007, 04:59:39 pm »

 Headscratch

No one ever remembers this one.

Straps...

The nice guy in the old truck who may offer you a haul into town has a pretty good chance of having a piece of lumber for a makeshift ramp. But they almost never have straps.

I actually keep straps in both my trucks (bad habit of picking up cheap strays). They don't take much room so get an extra set.

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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2007, 01:06:03 pm »

Holy crap, I got pinned!  

eD

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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2007, 06:04:20 pm »


Holy crap, I got pinned!  

eD




How does it feel?
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2007, 08:58:58 pm »

Kind of dirty  Razz

eD

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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2007, 09:45:30 pm »

Especially when he saw who pinned him  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2007, 04:34:11 am »

Greetings, new guy on the forum, anyway...
Along with the repair manual, you should have an electrical and wiring schematic of your machine.

A good place to keep a spare clutch cable is loosely zip-tied to the one in use.  That way you can forget having to thread a cable into your bike in the field, just connect both ends up to where they need to go and ride off, remove the broken one later.  same basic thing can work with all control cables.
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« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2007, 05:01:13 am »


Greetings, new guy on the forum, anyway...
Along with the repair manual, you should have an electrical and wiring schematic of your machine.

A good place to keep a spare clutch cable is loosely zip-tied to the one in use.  That way you can forget having to thread a cable into your bike in the field, just connect both ends up to where they need to go and ride off, remove the broken one later.  same basic thing can work with all control cables.


Beat me to it.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #25 on: December 27, 2007, 03:34:36 pm »

And, in the case of my old Norton, a COMPLETE SET OF iMPERIAL sOCKETS AND A HEAD GASKET SET. aLWAYS GOT ME HOME, THOUGH.

Sorry about the capitals. Slip of the wrist.  Bigsmile
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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2008, 11:19:43 pm »

Great thread!  Another noob here who has lurked some since getting my first bike in the last year.

Only been stranded once, due to a dead battery. Had to buy a set of jumper cables (am I the only one who carries a set in my car anymore?), which now go in my tank bag.

Riding a 25-year-old bike begs for thinking through some of these scenarios (e.g. tie down straps, as mentioned earlier).  I have a copy of the wiring diagram on the bike, but hadn't thought about taking the shop book.  The Honda shop book I got is loose leaf, so I ran it through the scanner at work and now have a PDF.  I think I'll condense that down to what I could realistically could use by the side of the road (hopefully < 50 pages), since taking the whole book isn't convenient.

Hopefully your bike manufacturer has already included a toolkit that allows a reasonable level of "field" servicing.  Taking inventory of the fasteners, etc, on your bike is a good idea -- but don't duplicate what's in the toolkit.  While some of the factory tools may not be ideal, they are there for emergency use.

Someone else mentioned a multimeter, which is a fine idea.  A cheaper alternative that still provides a lot of diagnosing ability is a test light.
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2008, 01:03:07 pm »

my number one problem is running out of gas. i like to always stretch to see how far i can go.  aerostich has a folding, laminated cardboard single use 'gas can'.  its basically like a bigger juice box that is prefolded and easy to pack.  im cheap, so after pushing my bike a mile to the next exit on i-95 in bfe florida at 3 am (didnt want to leave it and have to walk back), i learned to take at least one, usually two, small plastic water bottles full of gas with me on long trips.  just make sure they are completely dry (duh) and leave some room at the top so you can slightly squeeze the bottle before putting the top on to allow for expansion. ive never had any issues/problems with them leaking or bursting, however i check on them whenever i stop just to keep my mind at ease.

that previous comment on just taking your tank with you is genious.  why didnt i think of that??? Headscratch Thumbsup  my tank is 7.5 gallons (ie, large), but that beats cupping your hands to hold some gas and then having a nose itch... EEK!
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« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2008, 03:40:41 pm »

I carry 2 flashlights, 1 penlight and one that can be strapped to your head so if you breakdown at night and you are by yourself you will be able to still work with both hands. Thumbsup
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« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2008, 03:47:41 pm »

1. Sometimes, on a busy highway, you can't hear the earpiece on your cellphone anywhere between the road and that big ass fence that's meant to keep people out.

2. It's just as hard to climb from the inside. Wink
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« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2008, 08:29:33 pm »

Cell phones seldom work where you end up stranded, unless you do most of your riding in the city.
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« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2008, 03:19:29 pm »


Cell phones seldom work where you end up stranded, unless you do most of your riding in the city.


Today, I bought my first "cellphone". I will report back on how it goes. Possibly.
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2008, 12:27:16 am »

Found this one late. Recommend tire irons, a torque wrench(if you have the room) and a large ViseGrip clamp. A cut tire late on a Saturday made me aware of these items. Cycle shop sold me the tire but didn't have/want to make the time to change it for me. Ended up rolling the bike to a gas station that loaned me the clamp and torque wrench. Changed the tire by hand and used their air line and a rope to set the bead. Took awhile but got it done. Oh, for those that don't know, the coloured dot on the new tire is lined up with the valve stem to aid in balancing.
Never thought of taking the tank to get gas.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2008, 01:07:08 am »


Greetings, new guy on the forum, anyway...
Along with the repair manual, you should have an electrical and wiring schematic of your machine.

A good place to keep a spare clutch cable is loosely zip-tied to the one in use.  That way you can forget having to thread a cable into your bike in the field, just connect both ends up to where they need to go and ride off, remove the broken one later.  same basic thing can work with all control cables.


Welcome to the jungle!!   Bigok  Great idea, but I would add that you pack a bunch of grease into said cable and rubber-band some plastic wrap around the ends.  Few things suck worse than your backup cable snapping the first time you use it.   Rave

Great idea sticking this, O Moderator Goddess.  It could just save someone's life.  Hail
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« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2008, 06:59:29 am »

Things I learned while stranded last week:

1) Even if AAA won't tow your bike (unless you have the premium policy; see next point), if you're a member and you call, they will find you the phone numbers of local tow companies that'll tow bikes.

2) If you're a AAA member and tour on your bike, splurge on the premium motorcycle towing policy. Or get a different towing policy.  Either way, don't be like me and think, "I've got 100,000 miles under my belt without needing a tow; I'll never need one!".

3) If you can, throw money at the problem first.  I spent 3 hours fixing a flat tire in 105F heat when I should have just gotten the tow in the first place.  I wound up needing the tow anyway and, by that point, I was dehydrated, sunburnt, frustrated, etc.

I'm sure I learned more but that's what's off the top of my head. Lol
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« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2008, 11:19:30 am »

How about a pencil and scratch paper - good for jotting down phone numbers, part numbers, or a note if you have to leave your bike.  
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« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2008, 12:34:34 pm »


How about a pencil and scratch paper - good for jotting down phone numbers, part numbers, or a note if you have to leave your bike.  



Good one!   Thumbsup
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« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2008, 07:47:39 pm »

This weekend I learned the hard way that many oem tool kits do not have allen wrenches; rather infuriating considering fully faired bikes need the fairing removed to anything with the motor and much of the electrical system.  Also don't drop your cell phone in a puddle, not that anyone really needs to be reminded of this.
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« Reply #38 on: July 29, 2008, 03:17:23 pm »

I see a lot about tire plug kits and air compressors that run off 12vDC,  why not just a can of fix a flat? Am I doing something terribly wrong by carying a tire cure in a can? Not trying to be sarcastic, just wondering why no one mentioned it, I can not be the only one that swears by it? My riding partner spent all sorts of money on a tiny air compressor, and plug kits, bla bla bla, fix a flat never failed me, although I never had to use it on a bike, I figured it would work just as well as it did on my car!

Later,

Mark

Speaking of tires,  a tire pressure gauge is good to have around and doesnt take up much space.
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« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2008, 03:30:07 pm »

#1 thing to me is a properly functioning brain.. You can't believe the  people I have stopped to help only to have it be a problem that they could have worked around. Remember to stop and think first, come up with a plan and then get to work. A few other thoughts

Most bikes have a dual throttle cable system, you can usually use the return cable to replace the pull cable.

You can ride fairly easily without a clutch cable. Stops are tricky, but it can be done.

For tubeless tires a simply plug and CO2 kit is great, add a small bicycle pump. It takes a long time but is better than finding your CO2 cartridges are junk and not having an option

carry a masterlink for your chain.

Electrical tape and duct tape are very versatile

A turkey baster is a great fuel transfer device
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« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2008, 11:41:32 am »

Turkey Baster!  Of course.  That's perfect.  

A word about can's of fix a flat.  I used to keep one under my seat because I thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Well it was rubbing up against a metal piece under my seat and finally wore a hole in the side of the can.  I think it was a slow leak because it didn't just explode gooey junk all at once.  But one day I popped the seat open and there was dried up goo all over the undertail, dripping down on the rear tire hugger and swing arm.    Twofinger  Bottom line: be careful where you put it and check the can regularly, if it looks worn, throw it out.  

eD

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« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2008, 02:36:04 am »


Turkey Baster!  Of course.  That's perfect.  

A word about can's of fix a flat.  I used to keep one under my seat because I thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Well it was rubbing up against a metal piece under my seat and finally wore a hole in the side of the can.  I think it was a slow leak because it didn't just explode gooey junk all at once.  But one day I popped the seat open and there was dried up goo all over the undertail, dripping down on the rear tire hugger and swing arm.    Twofinger  Bottom line: be careful where you put it and check the can regularly, if it looks worn, throw it out.  

eD





I talked to a couple of folks, not on the forum, I always though that fix a flat would be so much easier and quicker than the plug and pump method. I have never had to use it but people have told me that plugs and pumps are better because Fix a flat is for tubed tires, and does not work on tubeless tires. Does anyone know about this? No one I spoke to was that much of an expert on this, but I am curious if I am doing no good at all carrying it with me since it supposedly doesnt work. Do you know if it will just work temporarily. If I do get a flat tire because of a puncture, even a small one, I am going to have the tire replace asap. within 150 miles, or as soon as I find the closest dealership that has a tire that fits. I dont plan on riding long on a bad tire. I know its expensive but for me it isnt worth the risk.

Thanks,

Mark
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« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2008, 10:36:33 pm »

Fix a flat works great in 4 wheeler tires.  I prefer plugs for motorcycles cause  I don't want a mess when I change the tire.  The foam probably affects the handling of the tire and heating as well.  Plugs actually fit under the seat, fixaflat doesn't but if that's all I had I'd use it.
But it doesn't look I'll need any of those silly must haves in case you break down far from home cause I'll never get to ride far from it!   Mad2
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« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2008, 12:41:43 am »

My only experience with fix a flat was on a car.  It cracked up the tire from the inside to a point where it started leaking like it was 12 years old although it was maybe a month after that.  When the shop took it off, it was all cracked inside.  I would only use fix a flat on a old tire that i will replace soon.
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« Reply #44 on: September 11, 2008, 03:25:13 pm »

Hello all another nube here thought of one for ya.

If your popping for a new cell phone one with a camera and memo/notes section can be a life saver. You can save notes of important things such as VIN, model, part #s etc. Also using the camerat to take pictures of broken items or a picture of a parts lay out can be valuable information on tap.
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« Reply #45 on: September 16, 2008, 04:06:31 pm »




Today, I bought my first "cellphone". I will report back on how it goes. Possibly.


Firstly, these things are called mobiles.

Second. There is no second.

Third. Ibid.
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« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2008, 12:48:02 am »

my number one problem is running out of gas. i like to always stretch to see how far i can go.  aerostich has a folding, laminated cardboard single use 'gas can'.  its basically like a bigger juice box that is prefolded and easy to pack.  im cheap, so after pushing my bike a mile to the next exit on i-95 in bfe florida at 3 am (didnt want to leave it and have to walk back), i learned to take at least one, usually two, small plastic water bottles full of gas with me on long trips.  just make sure they are completely dry (duh) and leave some room at the top so you can slightly squeeze the bottle before putting the top on to allow for expansion. ive never had any issues/problems with them leaking or bursting, however i check on them whenever i stop just to keep my mind at ease.

that previous comment on just taking your tank with you is genious.  why didnt i think of that??? Headscratch Thumbsup  my tank is 7.5 gallons (ie, large), but that beats cupping your hands to hold some gas and then having a nose itch... EEK!


I sure hope you use the reserve too Smile

Also i'd be careful with water bottles.  Gas expands a LOT when it gets warm Smile  Few months ago i bought a 2 gallon gasoline container (you know the pretty red ones) and i filled it with gas maybe 3/4ths full so lots of room for expansion.  I put it in my jeep and about 2 days later i glanced at it and noticed it deformed.  It used to be a square but was now round like a balloon.  No joke.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 12:52:19 am by Triple88a » Logged
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« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2008, 10:32:44 am »

Nubbie to this board, found it by searching for my next bike and ran across this thread and have a few things to add that I believe are helpful.

Phone numbers of friends/family/important contacts written down on paper - just incase your cell/mobile dies/breaks...
Write you blood type and any medical information (even if it is no allergies) inside of your jacket and wallet under your driver's license, just incase...
Business cards - I used one to clean up the contacts on my fuel pump when it flaked out on the side of the road, but some emery cloth would be better.
Extra fuel pump (replace the working one and use the old--known good--one as a spare) if you are on a long trip
Brake fluid
Cash stash

For the guy that runs out of gas often, hopefully your fuel system is gravity fed as running out of fuel as well as running to reserve tax the fuel pump.  Plan your fuel stops.

So now starts the journey to find an FJR or FJ1200 in life as my wrists are not as forgiving now as they were 20 years ago when I got my FZR.  To chain or not to chain, will it be the question of life...
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« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2008, 11:20:46 am »

Wow - this thread is a year old. I had to go through it to make sure I hadn't already posted this.

One thing I learned: after numerous sportbike riders passed me by with nary a glance, it was a couple on a Harley Ultraglide that stopped to see if I was okay and if there was anything they could do to help. No earings, no prison tats, no bolts jammed through their cheeks, no skulls painted on the tank - just a nice couple. So I learned you do (sometimes) meet the nicest people on a Harley. Where have I heard that phrase before? Headscratch
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« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2008, 11:25:00 am »


 So I learned you do (sometimes) meet the nicest people on a Harley. Where have I heard that phrase before? Headscratch


As much as I love to hate them, I have to admit that you are correct. As I pushed my CBR along I-90 (out of gas) it was finally a HD rider that stopped, rode to town and brought back a 1/2 gal. of gas and waited to make sure it would start. Naturally he would not accept any money, but rather suggested that I "pay it forward" which I will be happy to do.
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« Reply #50 on: October 07, 2008, 02:30:19 pm »

I always carry a small siphon hose with me on my trips. Has come in very handy for draining bad gas. Any hardware store sells 1/4 inch ID clear plastic hose, a couple of feet of small hose doesn't take up much room.
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« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2008, 10:56:14 pm »


I always carry a small siphon hose with me on my trips. Has come in very handy for draining bad gas. Any hardware store sells 1/4 inch ID clear plastic hose, a couple of feet of small hose doesn't take up much room.


one from a fish tank Smile
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« Reply #52 on: October 14, 2008, 12:14:29 pm »

I figure a lot of things you want would be the same things you would stow in your car or truck, although sometimes smaller, of course.   Wink

That being said, here are a few things I noticed not mentioned that I thought might be worth doing so...


First Aid Kit
mini Fire Extinguisher
small Thermal Blanket
Highway Flares
Waterproof Matches




To be certain to keep things dry, all your stuff should be placed in "zip-loc" style bags of varying sizes...be sure to get the "freezer" type bags if possible, as they are made of a thicker (i.e., more durable) material.




Ride Safe!



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« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2008, 07:54:35 pm »

This is a great thread and most things have been covered but if I could add a few "be prepared" items they would be as follows:

If your bike doesn't have one, install a 12V accessory plug that you can charge your cell phone from (and don't forget your mobile charger). The only thing worse than not having cell coverage is having it and have you phone go dead while you are waiting or trying to arrange for a rescue.

Make a set a mini-jumper cables. You can get the smaller alligator clips with the black and red handles at Radio Shack. Cut a couple of 6' lengths of 12 gauge wire and put them together yourself. They curl up pretty compact.

Hide a spare key somewhere on your bike. Not so much for break-downs but lose a key on a trip and you'll suddently find out how inconvenient it can be.

I'm a big fan of roadside assistance programs and MoTow through AMA has saved my butt on one occasion when I had a flat (un-repairable, un-pluggable slice) on the Valk. It's cheap insurance and peace of mind. BTW...it's almost impossible to push an 800 lb. Valk with a flat rear tire.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2008, 10:00:40 pm by SilverHound » Logged
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« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2008, 08:46:49 pm »

I've used "FixAFlat" on my '04 FJR.  It works, but tends to fling goo all over the underside of the bike while it sets.  The cans are noisy to store in a case, and the large (car size) can is the only one large enough to fill at 190/17 tire.

Your mechanic / tire guy will hate you when it's time to dismount/mount rubber.

There is the danger of explosion if the can gets over 180F (easy inside a case in AZ in August).

My '06 FJR has a Slime pump and a tubeless repair kit.  It takes up less room than a can of FAF, but it will probably require more time to repair than FAF.

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« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2008, 06:32:42 am »

I learned while stranded;

You're never alone 99% of the time if you are on pavement.
There will be another human somewhere that will be willing to help.
Trust that people are basically good and your trust will be rewarded.

Carry a small laptop; the internet is a great resource if you have the means to access it.
Carry a DVD/ CD version of your service manual.
I wear a small laminated card around my neck. On it is typed:

My name and address.
Three contact persons and numbers.
Allergies, surgeries, meds, medical conditions.
DNR.
No long tern life support.
No long tern feeding tube.
Organ donor.

In 9 years I only used it once, but it that was the one time I needed it the most.
Bike and cell phone totalled. Tank bag destroyed and scattered across a night time interstate.
All I remember was holding that card up at anyone standing over me and saying over, and over, "Call Steve, call Steve."


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« Reply #56 on: November 03, 2008, 06:39:37 am »

Cell pone and a pocket full of cash.
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« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2009, 02:05:49 pm »


Cell pone and a pocket full of cash.

The Ducati/Porsche toolbox!  Lol
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« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2009, 08:49:44 pm »

Things I learned while I was stranded?  
I learned that you can't trust BP gas to be water free.  Thumbsdown

I also learned that in the time it takes my wife to drive 150 miles to get me with the trailer, even when it's partly sunny, my head can get so sunburnt that you can see my head half a mile away...  bald guys, bring a hat...


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« Reply #59 on: April 03, 2009, 09:09:16 am »

...bald guys, bring a hat...

Or a roll of tin foil. http://s23.photobucket.com/albums/b399/Marcster2005/Smileypad/LOL/gigglesmile2.gif
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« Reply #60 on: April 03, 2009, 09:15:41 pm »



Or a roll of tin foil....


 Lmao rofl
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« Reply #61 on: April 30, 2009, 11:41:13 am »

Yeah, the ol'broken cable conundrum....just as bad as the "oops, broken lever or shifter" one.
Back in the ol dirt days they were standard fare in my tailbag...less so since i've gotten old, conscientious, pragmatic and careful....basically slow.
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« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2009, 01:21:56 pm »


I will add one: carry water and some type of food, because if you're stuck in the middle of nowhere, it could be a while before help arrives. I speak from experience.


That's what I was going to add, especially the water.  I always keep an emergency bottle stuffed somewhere while touring.

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« Reply #63 on: May 01, 2009, 11:01:03 pm »

noob here, high end multi tool, stick of epoxy putty, small hand gun... you know... in case you need to hunt  Wink
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« Reply #64 on: May 06, 2009, 03:44:00 pm »

 Fuel can be kept in the small 1/2 quart sized backpacker's stove fuel bottles, as a plus sevice stations will fill the red ones. Also in your flat repair kit carry both plugs and patches for tube/tubless repair, since then you will be able to fix your riding buddy's tire (he didn't think he'd get a flat) at 3pm on a sunday in the Adirondacks when every thing is closed. Twofinger
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« Reply #65 on: August 05, 2009, 09:18:08 am »

Something I learned when my riding partner was stranded (and learned which position of her petcock REALLY is reserve);
GatorAid bottles can be used as an emergency gas can.  
Buy the G.A. at a gas station, drink as much as you can.  Find an appropriate place to dump the rest.  Shake it out good.  
Move your bike to the farthest pump, w/ the pump blocking the view of the cashier (just in case they care).  Put some gas in your tank, then put gas in the G.A. bottle - being extra careful if the gas nozzle doesn't want to 'trickle' the gas, only GUSH (it almost shot the bottle out of my hand!)
Cap the G.A. bottle and put it in your tank bag, standing up.  Zip up the tank bag as much as you can - to hold the bottle.  Ride back to riding partner.
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« Reply #66 on: August 05, 2009, 09:40:53 am »

I've witnessed several people who were "broke down" with minor inconvenieces like clutch cable, broken lever, etc. Sometimes you can still ride it, you just have to try Wink Smile
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« Reply #67 on: August 05, 2009, 09:45:22 am »


Something I learned when my riding partner was stranded (and learned which position of her petcock REALLY is reserve);
GatorAid bottles can be used as an emergency gas can.  
Buy the G.A. at a gas station, drink as much as you can.  Find an appropriate place to dump the rest.  Shake it out good.  
Move your bike to the farthest pump, w/ the pump blocking the view of the cashier (just in case they care).  Put some gas in your tank, then put gas in the G.A. bottle - being extra careful if the gas nozzle doesn't want to 'trickle' the gas, only GUSH (it almost shot the bottle out of my hand!)
Cap the G.A. bottle and put it in your tank bag, standing up.  Zip up the tank bag as much as you can - to hold the bottle.  Ride back to riding partner.


Though it didn't involve a bike, I was able to borrow a 1 gallon gas can from a station once.  They wanted a $10 deposit (if I remember correctly), to ensure return of the gas can.
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« Reply #68 on: August 05, 2009, 06:45:46 pm »

I was able to borrow a 1 gallon gas can from a station once.  They wanted a $10 deposit (if I remember correctly), to ensure return of the gas can.

Even a 1 gal gas 'can' won't fit in your tank bag.  Even IF the station you go to has one (most don't now-a-days).
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« Reply #69 on: August 05, 2009, 06:55:35 pm »



Even a 1 gal gas 'can' won't fit in your tank bag.  Even IF the station you go to has one (most don't now-a-days).

True enough...  I guess that's where one of those bungee cord spider web thingies would be handy?
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« Reply #70 on: August 06, 2009, 09:55:14 am »

Maybe one of those bota-bag/collapsible canteens would be useful to carry along.   Headscratch
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« Reply #71 on: August 06, 2009, 12:05:00 pm »

Turkey baster wokrs great, suck gas out of friends tank, put it in yours Wink
After you use it throw it away and buy another for $4 at the grocery store Smile
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« Reply #72 on: August 07, 2009, 10:39:58 am »

IF I were to buy something ahead of time to carry.. it'd be a hand pump and hose for siphon cleaning a fish tank.  Amazon has em for $0.70.
Or a BIG syringe from a vet-supply.  Where did I put that flavor injector (but isn't that a $30 value)?
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« Reply #73 on: August 07, 2009, 10:41:55 am »


IF I were to buy something to carry.. it'd be a hand pump and hose for siphon cleaning a fish tank.  Amazon has em for $0.70.
Or a BIG syringe from a vet-supply.


+1  either would work great and at the low cost you can toss them after each use so as not to stink up your luggage Smile
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« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2009, 10:38:35 pm »

 this tip has probably been discussed on this good thread but-  have an emergency airline ticket to get home without getting it in the shorts by cashing in a frequent flying free round tripper. SW airlines sends one to use at a moments notice. Heck, it even transfers to anyone you want , as long as you initiate the transaction.  If i have one , i always take it with me on long trips..

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« Reply #75 on: October 09, 2009, 05:42:29 pm »

Small additions:  

1./ Increase the brightness setting on the screen of your mobile phone, and use the phone as a "flashlight"... assuming you forgot to bring a flashlight.

2./As pre-trip prep, swap any "hex" head bolts on your bike to high grade STAINLESS allen head socket bolts for parts which might might loosen, or need adjustment.  The absence of rust, and availability of allen keys can help.

3./Nitrile disposable gloves are handy too.
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« Reply #76 on: November 20, 2009, 12:10:20 pm »

Another Noob to the forum (Thanks UFO for the heads up) and I'm definitely going to read lots of posts as a buddy and I prep for our trip to AK this spring.  

I have a plastic box (rather small) that I keep fuses, zip ties, tire repair stuff, leatherman, led light, extra wire with alligator clips and connectors, various size cotter pins and some hose clamps.  It's seperate from my tool bag and waterproof.  I'm going to add electrical tape wrapped around a pen and some duct tape wrapped around a pencil now.  Erasers are good for cleaning electrical connections.  Need to add a couple of small pieces of fine grit sandpaper, too.  
Great ideas here and I'll be adding to my kit as I read more.
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« Reply #77 on: November 20, 2009, 05:19:27 pm »

I didn't see this mentioned yet...

Zippy ties have a *lot* of uses on a motorcycle.  I had a saddlebag mounting bolt break on me the first day into a 3-day trip from TX to the east coast.  Thankfully that bag was only carrying my spare jacket, so I folded that up and tied it to the back seat, then rigged up a way to zippy-tie the empty saddlebag back on.  It got me to where I was going, where I was able to find a hardware store and buy a replacement bolt.

Related to the card-around-the-neck idea, I got a set of custom dogtags made with my personal, medical, and emergency contact info on them.  I figure if they live through wars they're likely to live through motorcycle crashes.  The modern style ones are remarkably easy to read (the lettering is raised instead of being punched into the metal).

And yeah, the biggest thing you can do to not get permanently stuck is have someone know where you're leaving from and where you're heading to every day, so if you don't check in they know to send help.
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« Reply #78 on: November 21, 2009, 04:08:28 pm »


I didn't see this mentioned yet...

Zippy ties have a *lot* of uses on a motorcycle.  I had a saddlebag mounting bolt break on me the first day into a 3-day trip from TX to the east coast.  Thankfully that bag was only carrying my spare jacket, so I folded that up and tied it to the back seat, then rigged up a way to zippy-tie the empty saddlebag back on.  It got me to where I was going, where I was able to find a hardware store and buy a replacement bolt.

Related to the card-around-the-neck idea, I got a set of custom dogtags made with my personal, medical, and emergency contact info on them.  I figure if they live through wars they're likely to live through motorcycle crashes.  The modern style ones are remarkably easy to read (the lettering is raised instead of being punched into the metal).

And yeah, the biggest thing you can do to not get permanently stuck is have someone know where you're leaving from and where you're heading to every day, so if you don't check in they know to send help.


Good ideas, and welcome to STn!   Bigok  

Those mini-bungee cords, or "jack straps" that you find in truck stops also come in handy for lots of stuff.
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« Reply #79 on: December 16, 2009, 10:35:12 am »

Learned this from Vivid and thought I would pass in along.

Use your digital camera to record phone numbers and address.  And then just use the preview function and zoom in on what you want to read.

Here is an example of one I took.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s138/ADV_Oddball/Gunnison%2009/2009Jun19_2650.jpg

It beats taring up phone books when an other rider might need those pages some day.


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« Reply #80 on: December 16, 2009, 02:12:38 pm »

One thing a lot of people don't think about is machine shops/welders. Most every town has at least one and they can usually surprise you with thier ability. I've heard of people spending days waiting for a part when the local machine shop could have repaired the old, or made new one relatively cheap. It may not be perfect, but it will usually get you back on the road Wink
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« Reply #81 on: March 02, 2010, 04:08:21 pm »

new guy here, 1st post but i have been stuck/stranded many many times. first off nothing beats a cell phone, credit card or a buddy with a truck. having said that this is what i carry on my bike, not only when i tour but all the time.

assortment of tools that are bike specific, tape (duct & elect.) rescue tape, hose clamps, zip ties, spare bulbs (headlight, tail light & signal) clutch cable, brake cable, front brake lever, clutch lever, tubes, valve stems, tire irons, ru-glyde, air pump, tire gauge, BMW anonymous book, flashlight, pen & paper, jumper cables, latex gloves, rags, extra fuses, multi meter, wire, JB weld, chain tool/extra master link, and an extra set of keys.

this is all i can think of off the top of my head but i am sure there are other things i carry. if you keep your bike in good condition and don't neglect it the chances of a break down are greatly reduced. regular maintenance is the key to keeping your bike in top shape. although things can and do happen i try to be prepaired but you can't foresee every situation, and you can't carry entire tool chest with you. i try to take it all in stride and remember, if your in the U.S.A. not some third world country no matter how bad you think the problem is help is right around the corner. i have been stuck on the side of the road in WY in July where it took hours for a tow truck to arrive but since i had bottled water and a phone it was no big deal. i have had flats in the pouring rain, been lost and out of gas at night etc. and it is all part of the adventure. sure it sucks, but it still is better then sitting home on the couch watching TV.

ride safe,
George
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 04:16:13 pm by GS George » Logged
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« Reply #82 on: May 12, 2010, 06:45:41 am »

Friend of mine gave me this one:
Vise-grips can become a shifter or lever in a pinch if ya break one off.

And one from my Grandfather...
If you have ever gotten a brake caliper locked up (hopefully not in mid-ride) sometimes you can release the caliper by using small vise-grips on a rubber hose and pinch the hose, open bleed screw on caliper and brake cylinders release if your lucky. Tape the handles together on the grips to keep the break from relocking and get to somewhere to get it fixed. Works great for double disc breaks on the front, but will still get ya out of a jam if its the back, just remember no breaks where-ever it is you clamp off brake fluid so ride accordingly.
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« Reply #83 on: September 12, 2010, 06:47:53 am »

AAA RV Plus Membership or MoTow.

Ok... I know it's not the DIY yourself hardcore option... but for like 75 bucks a year, you get free towing for a hundred miles. The nearest shop doesn't service your make of bike and you're dreading the per-mile charge of the tow service? You can get one or two towns over, no problem. And of course, it can cover your cars and give you some discounts as well if you're into that sort of thing.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 07:03:23 am by OrangeSVS » Logged

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« Reply #84 on: March 07, 2011, 05:54:06 am »

My newest "must add to the 'survival kit'" item is....

Lock thaw!

Yup. Got stranded when the key wouldn't turn. Had to walk a ways and get a couple cups of hot water to thaw it out... and by the time it thawed, the hot water that had fallen to the ground had turned to ice and made backing out of the spot a little treacherous...
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« Reply #85 on: March 07, 2011, 11:18:07 am »

Like many who have posted my original bikes tool kit gets many of the items replaced with better quality or more usable tools. I also supplement with things like.

Zip ties
Electrical tape
Blue shop towels (pulled off the roll and folded flat)
Spare zip lock bags (hold the shop towels and other need to be dry items)
Spare lengths of rolled electrical wire.
Spare lengths of safety wire
Two led flashlights stashed in separate locations.
Two pocket knives stashed in separate locations.
Spare blade fuses
Spare bulbs
Tire plugs and kit.
A pack of disposable hand cleaning wipes.
Small tube of rtv type sealant.
Last year I added an MSR fuel bottle of gas since I have run out of gas a couple times in the past.


My bike is already wired with two 12v plug "cig lighters", one up front of the GPS and one under the seat to charge cell phones and such. On one of my old bikes I actually wired up a plug inside my side bag so I could just toss an item in there to charge and lock it up if I was away from the bike.

I think after reading this I will stash a couple of control cables in my kit even though I have never broken a clutch or throttle cable. I am also planning on building a small set of jumper cables to add to the kit this year. Probably use a battery tender style plug wired directly to the battery in the bike and a couple of smaller alligator clips for the other end but that would not allow me to help out another rider. With that in mind I may just use clips on both ends.



I have stopped for several stranded riders. Most recently I had one of my stranger encounters. I stopped for a ratty looking Harley on the side of the road. His "buddy" was 20 feet ahead on his shiny full bagger but neither he or his lady had even bothered to get off their bike to see what the problem was. The rider of the ratty looking bike had an electrical issue and when I offered wire and or tape to help him get the short corrected he pretty much refused help. He was too macho or proud apparently since all he could talk about was how his new bagger was at home and would not start so he drug this old thing out to make a toy run ride that day. He had apparently not finished rewiring the bike but was trying to impress me with his mechanical knowledge and aptitude. Well with his tired looking lady standing by the side of the road he finally accepted a bit of my obviously inferior electrical tape with a "it will have to do till I can get home and use proper Harley electrical tape attitude". I just smiled and laughed a little as I put on my helmet and they rode off for home.

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« Reply #86 on: September 01, 2011, 04:49:59 pm »

Just ran across this thread and thought I would add something that came in handy last weekend.  My buddy overestimated his fuel range (He now claims the gauge malfunctioned) and we were stuck quite a ways from a gas station.  A Harley stopped and without getting off his bike, handed us a small hand siphon pump.  60 seconds later we had transferred half a gallon of fuel from my tank to the empty one and were back on the road.  
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« Reply #87 on: September 06, 2011, 05:31:29 pm »

Someone mentioned a spare key.  I keep mine securely zipped in my inner jacket pocket.  My theory is that I believe that I will not lose my jacket as easily as a key by itself.  
Another strategy is to plan an extra day.  In other words, if you have to be back to work on Monday morning, plan to arrive home Saturday, not Sunday night.
Also, I like to be hydrated.  I keep a water bottle with me and top it off from a drinking fountain.  This way, if I have an unplanned stop on the road, I can at least have a drink of water.
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« Reply #88 on: January 18, 2012, 12:16:32 pm »

could not agree more than the orig. post
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« Reply #89 on: December 19, 2013, 10:48:00 pm »

Nice post! Number 2 is very important. It is necessary to bring emergency kit and tools regardless if you are planning a long or short trip.
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« Reply #90 on: April 16, 2014, 04:53:51 am »

Externally, the appearance is very similar to the E21 predecessor, however there are various detail changes in styling to the E30. Major changes over the E21 include interior features and revised suspension (to reduce the oversteer which the E21 was criticised for).
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« Reply #91 on: June 01, 2014, 10:07:29 pm »

Man..what a great thread. As a new member here a fairly new touring rider ( 3 years in) it's kind of staggering to read the amount of safety items one can bring. I ride a Sprint GT and ride some very remote roads here in Montana where the bears out-number the people.  I think it is possible to over-prepare tho.  It sounds like I need to hook up a second bike to a trailer to be absolutely sure I am going to get home and that's not right. You just can't bring everything every time.  I guess when you leave on a bike alone for a long ride in the middle of nowhere you have to just accept that you might be delayed for more than a day or 3. It's just the way it is. Either that or stick to 100 mile day rides around the house..
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« Reply #92 on: March 28, 2015, 08:45:56 pm »

Micro battery will jump start your bike, or car for that matter. There are a lot of different models with varying degrees of power. This one's size is 6 x 2.9 x 1 inches. Can also charge phone and just about anything else.

http://www.amazon.com/Antigravity-Batteries-Micro-Start-Starter-Personal/dp/B00FDYYK4A
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