Life hacks for motorcyclists
Quick Fixes for Every Situation
A biker once described adventure as “if nothing goes wrong, then it’s not an adventure”. The truth is, this guy must’ve had plenty of miles and years under his riding belt because even the best-laid plans can go wrong in a split second. But given the reliable nature of modern bikes and riding gear, do we still need to prepare for these “adventures”?
Oh yes, we do.
Here are a few cheap tricks to take the stress off enjoying your ride.
Wipe Your Baby
This may sound un-macho for male motorcyclists but having a pack of wet wipes around is an essential part of motorcyling.
There you are, having parked your bike at a roadside café under the tree, only to return to having big white splotches with green bits for variety on the seat and bike. We’re talking about guano. And of course, there’s no source of high pressure water around. Surely you won't be wiping it with the sleeves of your Dainese suit, right?
Wet wipes. They're easy to keep handy and can give your riding gear (especially those made of leather) a wipe down of road grime and insect guts. You could also wipe a dirty windshield and headlights with them.
Threading on the News
You could always dry out your wet boots or shoes by leaving them under the fan at home, but what if you were riding far out?
Newspapers are absorbent and the easiest items to use to dry out your boots. Pick up the day’s newspaper then ball up the pages and stuff them into your boots, changing them after dinner or when you get up for a late night visit to the throne. The boots should be just damp by morning, if not fully dry. The hairdryer should dry them out further.
Stuffing newspapers into your boots could also be done when storing your boots for a long time, helping them to maintain their shape.
One heck of a way to revenge against the news trash that upsets you.
The mounts and locks for motorcycle luggage systems have already improved over their predecessors, but prudence says they should be secured further. You could unknowingly sideswipe traffic on the way to your holiday and find you’ve trailed your underwear for kilometres behind you.
Using inexpensive book straps you’d find in stationery stores would be good enough; or everyone’s favourite bungee cords; but the best are wide tie-down straps. Route the straps around each box, through their handle and tie off to the grabrail of the bike, to keep the boxes fully closed and thereby creating an extra anchor point.
Hate lugging your helmet all around the place when you’ve parked up?
Buy yourself a good bicycle lock, loop it around the helmet’s chinbar and a part of the bike where the chain can’t be slipped off. It’s not foolproof, but thieves look for easy targets. Works on full-faced helmets only.
Have a Tie Ready
Having a small pack of zip (cable) ties ready under the seat makes great sense. You’ll never know if something falls off or comes lose during your ride. You could join the ties to make a bigger one, so having short ones should be of little concern.
Bag it Up
I've sampled many bikes in the market but almost none could stop water from being splashed up from the tyre underneath into the under seat compartment, which means there’s always dirt deposited when it dries up.
So, just drop the tool bag, cable ties or whatever you have into a sturdy plastic bag, waterproof bag or a ziplock bag and stow the whole shebang under the seat.
It should more be appropriately described as rain-proofing without a rainsuit.
Yeah, yeah, I know. There are those among us who shun rainsuits with the same intensity of despising Bieber. Riding with the jacket’s thermal layer in all the time is too hot, on the other hand. So how do you do it?
Fold a large black (or whichever colour you like) garbage bag and store it under your seat. Cut off the top and shoulders, poke your head and arms through, and finally, wear your jacket over it.
Having a garbage bag under the seat has an added bonus. It may serve to cover your soft luggage should you choose not to use it as a rainsuit.
There’s Always Time for Lubricants!
Keeping your chain lubed is a no-brainer and should be done every 400km or so. So keeping track isn’t so difficult, since most motorcycles with 15 to 20-litre fuel tanks return 200 to 300 kilometre ranges respectively.
A small can of chain lube can be stored under the seat on every trip.