2008 Rally Fontana Dam, NC

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Touring 411 Stop into this area for all things touring related. Get all the info. you need
on how to prepare for long rides and tours. Whether you're a true iron butt
or a beginner to long rides, this is where you want to be.

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Old 05-23-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
The CyberPoet
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Default CyberPoet's Tips for the Road

(NOTE: this is repost of things posted before the Touring 411 forum opened)
Things to know/do:

(A) Get the best, most comfortable seat you can find. This may mean replacing the stock one with a replacement corbin or travelcade, sergeant, etc. Or taking your existing one out to an upholsterer and having them rework it. You're looking for a denser foam, spread wider to support more of your thighs and all of your butt.

(B) Cruise control - vista universal cruise-control, audiovox electronic cruise control, or ThrottleMeister. Allows you not have to have your right hand in constant contact.

(C) Gel palmed-gloves. Personally, I like Olympia Glove's gel-palmed perforated leather gloves -- they have about double the gel of any other brand I've tried and I'm on my third pair...

(D) Hydrate & urinate hourly. You lose moisture by sweating but also by breathing, even when it's cold out. Make sure you put down at least 4 to 8 ounces of liquid every hour and try to urinate at every stop. Failure to do so can lead to kidney stones, because the combination of dehydration and vibration can really accelerate crystaline mineral formation in your kidneys. European riders use a special form of kidney belt specifically to combat this issue -- and yes, I own one. Also, if you drink water, consume some salt with it. Otherwise, consider Gatoraide or one of the other drinks to replentish your electrolytes.

(E) Oil your chain every time you get fuel. Permatex 80075 Chain lube fits under the seat readily (at least under the seat of the 98+ models) and works extremely well in my experience. Do not use chain waxes for long-haul riding -- you want oil, which will fling off dirt when it flings off excess oil (wax will adhere dirt/sand and accelerate chain issues). Don't sweat the oil on your wheel -- this taint a beauty contest.

(F) Eat a variety of foods instead of gorging on something specific. You want the energy from the foods to hit gradually over time instead of going on an instant sugar high and then slumping again on the back end. Smorgasboard places can be good for this. Or having bits of smaller meals in a wider variety of places (instead of having a hamburger, fries, pie all at once, have a half a burger at one stop, some fries at the next, etc).

(G) Pack a proper tool kit. Here's my idea of a proper toolkit:
Here's what I normally carry:

NOTE: Since I took those pics, I've added a tire plug kit (in the toolkit), plus a miniture bicycle pump that runs on (your choice) CO2 cartridges or manual pumping (mounted to the outside of the rear frame rail under the fairing).

(H) Always ask for a room away from the road on the bottom floor. This will let you park the bikes away from prying eyes, and if you're sneaky (I often am), will give you the ability to pull the bikes into the room after they cool off.

(I) Clothing: wear layers so you can strip down/add on as you need to adjust for the temp or weather. A multi-use jacket (such as one with a zip-in liner or the multi-panel ones out now) works well.

(J) If you're riding with someone, have a plan for rain in advance -- will you stop or just keep rolling through? What about if you're riding alone?

(K) Cell phone charger -- if you carry a cell phone and the trip will be longer than your battery life, bring a charger and charge it when you can. If you plan on running off your MC battery, know that most chargers have the voltage converter built into the lighter-head attachment portion, so you'll need to rig a female lighter socket to take it.

(L) Before you depart, make a list of Suzuki [or whatever appropriate brand] dealerships on your route in case you find you need something. I lost a bolt to heel kickplate last year enroute to the rally, and was glad I knew there was a dealer a mile off the interstate in Marietta to grab another one (they didn't even charge me for it -- they thought it was cool I was going long distances on a Katana).

(M) Bring a roll of quarters. There will be times you may want to pop by a laundry to throw soaking wet clothes in a dryer after a thunderstorm and find there's no change to be had. Or road tolls with no one at the tollboth. Etc.

(N) Luggage: Givi hardsided bags are the bomb. BBags are a good second choice if you don't want to plunk down that much cash. Good luggage is a godsend.

(O) Beverage: try to keep one on hand. Warm coke sucks, but waiting for a tow truck becuase you had a mechanical failure in the hot sun in the middle of no where without a drink sucks worse.

(P) Wet wipes or those small wet-wipe packs that you get a BBQ places are your friend. They work for everything, including removing bugs from visors, freshening up, and finding out too late that the bathroom you just used has no TP.

(Q) Don't use the road trip as a test platform. Make sure any changes you make to the bike and your riding gear are done at least a week ahead of time so you can ride with them and be comfortable with them before you hit the road. The last thing you want is to be on the road and find out your last mod is fouling plugs, or causing you great discomfort, etc.

(R) This may sound prejudicial, but it's based solely on actual experiences (and echo'd by other long-riders I know, including TDRcomm): avoid staying in any hotel/motel actively managed by hindi's or muslims. Every single bad hotel experience I have ever had has been at one of these places (this is not to say every hindi & muslim-run hotel has been bad, but the track record for me is very poor and I'll avoid them like the plague).

(S) Unless you are big on pre-booking, don't make reservations. Let the road and your own feelings set how far you want to go in a day, then get off the main road and find a cheap hotel/motel. Most American-run places that aren't major-chains will even discount heavily if you tell them flat-out you don't need a receipt, will be paying in cash and don't care for the tax man. Not your issue if the night manager pockets it or the owner would rather take it under the table...

(T) Buy new socks for the trip. A 6-pack or 12-pack is awesome, and like WildKat has mentioned previously, they make you feel refreshed.

(U) If you have a known destination (like the KR rally or some relatives' house), you can send goods in advance via UPS or US Mail to yourself C/o whereever you're staying. This can give you more stuff there without the need to carry it. Include a return label and ship your dirty clothes back. Or just travel with cash or a credit card and buy new clothes on the road, then ship the dirties back (I do this in Europe -- after every 5 to 7 days, I ship the dirty stuff back to the USA and buy more clothes; easy way to renew my wardrobe and shipping is cheaper than out-service laundry in most places in Europe).

(V) Do your pre-ride inspection thoroughly every single day you plan riding. Tire pressure, oil levels, chain tension, etc. Don't put off repairs or maintenance that might leave you stranded otherwise. With the fumoto oil drain valve, I can do an oil change in any parking lot with 1 tool (the hex key to open the access panel for the oil filler cap), and be good for another 3500 miles

(W) Run your tire pressures a few lbs higher than usual (i.e. - if you normally ride 35/37, go 37/39). If you carry luggage, increase it to compensate for that too. This will help keep your tires cooler and reduce the rate at which they wear away by reducing how much they deform each rotation (and since heat is mostly a product of deformation bending, this reduces the heat build-up).

(X) Stop and sleep when you are really tired or drained. Even if it's only an hour's nap on a picnic bench. Don't push yourself beyond your limits.

(Y) Major Truckstops have free showers and towels (primarily intended for long-haul drivers). Take advantage of them when you can.

(Z) Get a list of other KR members enroute. You may find you desperately need one of them to get you (or to bed you down in an unexpected thunderstorm/snow flurry/etc).

(AA) You'll be more tired and more sore on the second day than on the first, so make the 2nd day shorter than the first. Make sure you get a little booze that first night (and I do mean little -- like 1 drink or 1 beer) before you hit the sack. It'll help your muscles unwind in your sleep.

(BB) If camping, try to find your camping spot before dark. Last thing you want is to set up camp and bed down, only to be woken up before sunrise to the surprised looks of an annoyed construction crew -- and/or a police man with a tresspass warrant. Or to find out you laid out in cow patties. Etc.

(CC) The best distance-covering is always at night (because traffic volume is down), and if you plan your timing right, you can avoid being in any metropolitian areas around peak rush hours (whatever they are for that burg). When I'm headed north, since I start in west-central Florida, I tend to roll out around 3 or 3:30am, intent on making Valdosta and having breakfast just as their rush hour starts -- this also puts me through Atlanta mid-day and avoids the three-hour-long morning and evening traffic jams. Kat6's eyes went kind of wide when we rolled through Atlanta mid-day at 95 or so...

(DD) If riding at night, don't push your fuel limits. Lots of Podunk stations close at soemwhere between 9pm and midnight, so you want to have a 100+ mile cushion just in case the next town or off-ramp has nothing.

(EE) Dehydration, hypothermia, and boredom are three big killers on the road in the winter. If you find your mind not paying attention, or your reaction speeds dropping, pull off, get warm (indoors), hydrate and bundle up warmer, plus consider whether to call it a day. If you can't get warmer (already wearing everything feasible), cut your trip short and do shorter legs, head back. Winter gear is indispensible.

(FF) Although it may seem you make the best time doing 95 or 110, the amount of time you spend fueling back-up can work against your average time. Doing a slower speed that burns through your fuel slower may actually net you a higher combined average speed because of fewer fuel stops.

=-= The CyberPoet
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:34 PM   #2
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"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
JOHN 16:33
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:30 PM   #3
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definate sticky
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:39 PM   #4
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Great job, Cyber. Not a thing I can add! :
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Old 05-24-2007, 06:19 PM   #5
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Nice writeup Cyber. Excellent info as usual.

Originally Posted by jetmerritt View Post
Save up for great gear and dress for the fall before you ride. If you can't afford good quality gear, don't ride. It's like saying you can't afford seat belts for your car. There are just no laws to make gear mandatory.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:48 PM   #6
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Great write up will follow when i plan my own trip
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:07 PM   #7
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WOW thats a complete list. Wish I could do a long ride. Here in Puerto Rico it woould take me 3-4 hours to go from one end to another...
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Old 01-03-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by caribbean_barbie View Post
Here in Puerto Rico it woould take me 3-4 hours to go from one end to another...
Wow, that is one county in Cali!
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Old 01-04-2008, 07:52 AM   #9
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by caribbean_barbie View Post
WOW thats a complete list. Wish I could do a long ride. Here in Puerto Rico it woould take me 3-4 hours to go from one end to another...
That's still 14 hours of riding to go San Juan - Aguadilla, Cabo Rojo, Ponce, Maunabo, Fajardo, Trujillo Alto then cut back down to Caguas, back roads to Lares and then home again... That could easily be two-three days.

Or you can simply fly to the continental US and rent or borrow a bike and see the open roads here...

=-= The CyberPoet

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Last edited by The CyberPoet; 09-12-2008 at 05:57 PM..
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