How To: Prepare For Long Haul Motor Bike Riding

Today, I’d like to address the things you need to have with you when you are taking your motorcycle off for a long haul excursion. There are five things that I believe are absolutely essential to pack if you are going to hit the road for a long trip.

Long Haul Biker Gear
You may not need this much gear, but do pack these few essentials.

Ah! Warm hands again

My replacement Gerbing’s heated gloves arrived last week. Quick turnaround time again from Gerbing’s. Good stuff, but they really should be more reliable than this. Of course, sods law strikes again, Monday was fairly mild, so I found myself scrabbling to turn them down on route to work as my knuckles were burning!

Clothing/Protection Gear Reviews

Alpinestars Gloves – Jet Road Gore-Tex Review

Alpinestars Gloves Motorcycle Jet RoadI picked these Jet Road Gore-Tex Alpinestars gloves up second-hand after being thoroughly disappointed with my Hein Gericke Pathan gloves. I opted for them based on their widespread regard on various motorcycle forums and due to their abundance on eBay cheap. As such, I found this pair in almost new condition for £30, a bargain considering they sell new for over £100.

The Alpinestars gloves are made from Gore-tex, so totally waterproof. On top of this is, there are sections of leather and a decent amount of knuckle protection. There are two Velcro straps per glove one around the wrist under a flap and one on the cuff. I found the cuff a bit on the short side and didn’t go over my jacket very well, thus letting in a draft and water. My arms are quite long though. These gloves aren’t however the latest iteration, later versions appear to resolve this with an extended storm cuff.


Tax Disc Woes

Decent Oxford Tax Disc Holder

I recently taxed my bike and through the post came a quaint little circle of paper to affix to the bike. A bureaucratic vestige of a bygone time. Now almost every road in the country is under the watchful eye of ANPR cameras, do coppers still look at these little discs? Regardless, it is still an offence to not display one.

Problem #1: My tax disc holder would not open, not even budge. Tried WD40, tried thread free spray, tried everything, stuck fast. 🙁 In the end, seemed easier to just get another tax disc holder. Picked up a basic Oxford one (pictured below) off eBay for a couple of quid.

Problem #2: The hole in the new holder is too small for the existing bolt on the bike and my toolbox lacked appropriate drill bits. So I bolted it to a random fairing bracket which had a convenient hole already there.

Crap Oxford Tax Disc Holder

Problem #3: Tax disc holder is crap. Just a flimsy rubber band around the edge to hold the disc in place. Kept coming open every time I took the cover off the bike and brushed past it. A couple of times (by luck) I found the disc on the floor outside, long after I put the bike away. The seal is crap too, the holder is full of damp.

So at last, I purchased another tax disc holder (off eBay), one with the correct size hole, is solid and has bolts holding it together. It is also of the Oxford brand (pictured top), but a much better one. The little alan bolts are a bit fiddly, but then you don’t want it too easy to get into, lest a tea leaf takes a fancy. It’s also anodised in a fetching blue, which almost matches the bike.

Right Now on eBay Buy an Oxford tax disc holder off eBay

Cheap Motorcycle Gear at Aldi

Aldi-Neck-TubesThis week Aldi supermarket are doing lots of basic motorcycle gear cheap. Pop by and check it out. Details of what’s on offer can be found here.

My wife had a quick look, came back with a couple of different neck tubes. Seem reasonable, though not super thick, but very cheap. They also have some Kevlar trousers, but very thin denim and minimal padding on knees only.

Still, you might find something useful.


Feck My Fingers Are Numb

Gerbing Heated Gloves XR12 Hyrbid Sod’s law. The weather turns cold again and my lovely Gerbing heated gloves (XR12 Hybrid) have packed up again. 🙁

As great as they are, I’m really beginning to have doubts about their reliability. Bought them new in November (4 months ago). Two months in, one controller had an intermittent connection fault. Last week the spare controller I purchased, has started exhibiting the same problem. One hand keeps cutting in and out at random.

I dig out the replacement controller I was sent, but this one randomly won’t turn on, just flashes blue when you press the button. Apparently this means it’s getting a feed of less than 11V from the battery. OK, but why then does the other controller still turn on? And why does it start doing this after a long run and momentarily stopped for a refuel?

So I persisted with that for a week, but now my left-hand glove won’t heat up at all. From neither controller nor either wire on each. 🙁

Have sent the whole lot back for replacement. But in the meantime, it’s barely above freezing out there, I’ve reverted to my Alpinestar Jet Road gloves with woolly gloves underneath and still getting super cold hands and numb fingers after 5-10 mins on the road. I’m hoping they won’t take too long to send out replacements, they turned the last controller around in a couple of days. However, I’ve lost a lot of confidence in the Gerbing’s. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great when they work, but when you’re paying top dollar, they need to work for more than a couple of months…


Don’t reverse into me!

Had a really close shave this morning. On my way into town, with Mary pillion, going down A13 as it crosses junction to Blackwall tunnel, I pull up at some red traffic lights. I filter so far between the two lanes of traffic, but have to come to a halt due to lack of room. I’m a bit hemmed in, sitting between the lanes behind a couple of cars, but everything is stationary. The lights turn green and whilst I’m waiting for the traffic in front to move, the people carrier in front to my right, rolls backwards towards me. Not just an inch or two, but a good metre or so. I have to lean the bike right over on my left leg to dodge it, they still clip my mirror and continue rolling backwards right alongside me as I hammer the side of the car!

A couple of centimetres closer and they would undoubtedly have pushed us over into the near side lane of moving traffic. Good job my right hand foot was on the brake or they would have rolled over it. It turns out the car had Polish plate and was left hand drive, but still no reason why he didn’t see us in his mirror, I could see him fine… And certainly no excuse to roll backwards so far.

Not sure what there is to learn from this one. Had I not been between lanes, they would have rolled right into us and done serious damage. Tricky one. There’s no accounting for incompetence on the roads.


Impromptu Essex Ride Out to Braintree

Took a day off work today to sort out some loose ends, however this afternoon made for an impromptu Essex ride out. Weather was perfect, bit overcast, but warm and calm. With my wife, Mary pillion we sent off from Dagenham, with a plan to get a late lunch at Pizza Express in Braintree. Our route consisted of:

  • A112 to Hainault
  • A113 to Stapleford Abbotts (possibly cutting through Lamboune End)
  • A113 to Chipping Ongar
  • B184 to Dunmow
  • B1256 to Braintree

What Helps You Get Cheap Bike Insurance?

Getting Cheap Bike InsuranceEveryone wants to find cheap bike insurance, of course, but you really need to know what types of things can help you get this low-cost coverage if you want it to be a reality. There are certain things that you can do to drive the cost down. People often do not know that it is within their power to reduce their own payments. It is also within their power to raise their payments. Rarely do two people pay exactly the same amount of money each month, so you need to know how to act so that your payments can be on the low end and not the high end.


Essential Every Day Biking Kit

Most bikes have a small storage compartment under the seat, ideal for essential kit for them tricky emergencies. You probably already have the factory supplied mini tool kit in there, so here I’m going to go over other useful kit you should pack on an every day basis. Some I’ve found useful myself, some I’ve been recommended by others.

Essential Every Day Biking Kit