Ready to Rally

Ready to Rally

Hollister, CA: Birthplace of the American Biker

You’ve studied the maps, researched sleeping arrangements and settled on your posse of fellow riders in preparation for the big rally this summer. All set, right? Not just yet.

Pre-trip Prep

Even the smallest trip requires some amount of bike prep. At the very least, change your oil and have your battery tested. Check the coolant, adjust the chain and tighten every nut and bolt on your machine. Leaky fork seals, worn bearings and tired shocks should also be replaced. Most importantly, check tire wear and brake condition, and have any major service done before you leave.

Packing Principles

Your best bet is to travel light, so take only what you need. One thing you’ll definitely need for an extended trip is luggage. Hard luggage is preferable to soft bags, but bags tend to be more
flexible and can accommodate odd-sized objects. Both Sedici and BiLT make saddlebags for touring, and Street & Steel makes Universal Saddlebag Supports to accommodate them. If you’re rolling light, a large tail bag like the Sedici Veneto may be all you need. Remember to pack the heaviest items low and as close to the center of gravity as possible.

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Don’t forget to pack a comprehensive tool kit, too—it’ll save your bacon on the road. Make sure your kit contains at least a set of combination wrenches, some pliers, screwdrivers, a ratchet and sockets. An assortment of nuts and bolts also goes a long way, as does mechanic’s wire, extra fuses, zip ties and a roll of duct tape. A multi-tool should be tossed in there, too, as well as a hands-free light. Stockton Tool Company makes both a 15-in-1 Multi Tool and a full Roadside Tool Kit.  A tire-repair kit like the Genuine Innovations Ultraflate is a must, and a compact portable air pump is worth making room for.  A decent first-aid kit should be standard equipment on every trip, and filled with bandages, antibiotics and adhesive tape.

Back-up Supplies

In our experience, rain gear (we recommend BiLT’s lightweight Frogg Toggs), earplugs, sunscreen and eye protection (MShades is a solid, affordable choice) are all useful items to have on a long journey. As with anything, there are other variables that will dictate your final packing list, but this is a good place to start.

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