Ten Things to Take on Every Trip
Spring is almost here, which means sitting down and planning those long summer trips that you'll be dreaming about at work to keep yourself sane. But your dream trip can easily go from a story you'll tell your friends about to make them jealous to a trip that airs on When Vacations Attack in 2.5 seconds. To keep things on the right track, always pack a few necessary things:
An A Plan: Whether you like to schedule every little thing down to what undies you want to wear on what day or you're a free spirit that like to go wherever the road takes you, some sense of a trip outline is a must. Sure, you can deviate from it a little as you go, but knowing where point a is and where point b is and how to get between the two before you hop on your bike is a must. Plus, it doesn't hurt to map out where gas, food and places to sleep along the way so that you don't end up stranded on a road somewhere with no gas and only a pack of gum to snack on.
Once you get all that figured out, feel free to tell a few people so that they'll have an idea where you are and which way to send the search team if you don't make it to your final destination. Have someone at home that will be freaking out if you don't call every hour on the hour? Invest in a Spot II Personal GPS Satellite Messenger. The thing tracks where you are by satellite and can send messages to your loved ones telling them your exact coordinates and that you're okay.
Speaking of GPS: Getting lost is one of the fastest ways to kill a good trip, especially if you're the group's navigator. Taking a GPS unit with you is a great way to keep everyone on track or get back on track if you find yourself in some unexpected places. Either leave it on to guide your whole way or only turn it on in emergencies; either way, you'll be glad you had it. Take one of these GPS units, for example. Still stubborn about taking modern day technology on your "into the wilderness" trip? At least take a map and a compass.
For the things that happen after you say, "This couldn't get any worse": Survival kits are the items you hope you never have to use but are glad that you brought if you need them and it's always that one time that you leave them out that they're necessary. So, despite how mild of a trip you plan to be taking, never leave out waterproof matches, a decent knife, a flashlight, a rescue blanket and some water purification tablets. They won't take up that much room but can be a real butt saver in the scheme of things.
Aid of the First: Scars are sexy. Or so we've heard. Bleeding out or having to ride with a broken appendage, not sexy. Unless you're into that kind of thing, bring a first aid kit in case your body takes a beating if something goes south or if you get a blister. Even the smallest of injuries can be a huge pain in your ride. Grab a handful of band-aids, some burn cream, butterfly sutures and sunscreen.
Your ride's survival kit: Just like you might hit something unexpected, your bike might too. And while you may plan your entire trip down to the bathroom breaks, you can't plan for when your ride breaks. Bring with you a small tool kit with
all the essentials for patching your trusty steed up. Most multi-tool tool kits will have the basics while staying small and organized so that they're easy to bring with you. Otherwise, make sure to at least have pliers, a screwdriver, Allen wrenches and an adjustable crescent wrench. Whether you're rocking the kit or your own collection, just remember, duct tape and zip ties can fix almost anything, at least temporarily.
You ride's first aid kit: Even on the simplest of rides there's a chance a part could break. Set your bike on its kickstand in a softer area of the road and you could find it chillin' on its side with a broken control lever and no way to get to a new one. If you're planning a more adventurous trip, then spare parts are a definite must have. Depending on the ride you have planned, think about packing some spare levers, bolts, screws, fasteners and even a fresh oil and air filter.
Snackage: Let's face it, we all have alter egos that come out when we're hungry. But you don't want that cranky beast to be the one enjoying your ride when it should be a happily riding you enjoying it. Pack some snacks and plenty of hydrating fluids (no, beer does not count) to keep your stomach sated so you can focus on what really matters. And it won't hurt to bring a little extra, just in case you do get stranded and have to wait it out for help to arrive. You can live a few weeks without eating but why the heck would you want to?
A space suit: Well, maybe just a rain suit instead. No matter how well you plan your trip around the sun, nature has a way of sneaking up on you. So if your parade does happen to het rained on, don't let it slow you down. Pack a BikeBandit.com Two-Piece Motorcycle Rain suit. Their inexpensive and light weight do they won't weight you down but you'll be glad you have one when you're not trying to ride while being soaked to the core.
Say Cheese: We know it's a little cheesy, no pun intended, but a bringing a camera can immortalize this phenomenal trip you've been planning and dreaming about forever. Whether it's a good ol' fashion camera, a riding camera or even your smart phone's lens, snap a few pictures here and there so that you'll be able to remember it like was yesterday when you're pruney and telling your grandkids
about the trip or even when you want to brag to the fools who chose not to take time off work and join you. You'll be happy you did when the trip is over.
A Winning Attitude: Your attitude can have the biggest effect on your trip no matter how perfect everything turns out. As long as you prepare by following the guidelines above, chances are that everything will go smoothly. So be sure that the second you hop on your ride, you've forgotten about all your worldly troubles and are open to anything. You may have most of your trip planned out but allow for the unexpected to happen. And if anyone else on your ride has a bad attitude, don't let them get you down. Just threaten to leave them at the next rest stop if they can't turn their frown upside-down.