I’ve always said that whenever you go out on your motorcycle, you can be assured of an adventure. You don’t know the nature of it, but you can bank on something happening to test your resourcefulness. Today’s ride was no exception.
I know that living in southern Ontario and planning a ride at the end of November may seem like a curious choice. This year, it seems the season got away on me and this was the only time for a few days of longer distance riding, something that has become a necessity. So today, I rode 800 kn (500 miles) from St. Catharines to the southern part of West Virginia, enroute to Jekyll Island,GA.
Here are five practical, basic lessons learned during the ride.
- When adding heated gear, make sure your electrical circuits can handle it. First of all, check to make sure your battery has enough capacity. Second, make sure the fuse is appropriate for the current you’re drawing. Although I’ve enjoyed a heated jacket and gloves for several years, today was the first day with heated pant liners.
Naively, I plugged them into my jacket and away I went. The temperature was right at freezing, so I had pants, gloves and jackets turned up. Cruising down the interstate about an hour into the ride, you can imagine my chagrin when everything went cold. It took me a while and many cold miles to figure out the problem, all the while wondering if I was going to be able to continue to my destination. All it took was a higher amp fuse (which I had taken with me) on the wiring harness attached to the battery and I was back in business.
- Make sure you have basic tools to handle emergencies. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but I have a new bike and expected that all I would need would be in the tool kit. Only problem: I needed an Allen key to take the panel off to get at the battery and the same panel covered my tool kit! Fortunately, I had stopped to do my repairs at a Pennsylvania Welcome Center and was able to borrow the tools from the maintenance person. Turns out, the size I needed wasn’t even in my factory supplied tool kit.
- Frogg Togg rain gear is out. I have several friends who swear by them but my experience has been unfavorable. After replacing the fuse and warming up (see # 1 above), the rain began. This rain gear had been a warranty replacement and was better but the rain still seeped through in places. At least the heated gear kept me warm.
- BMW boots are fabulous. After at least four years, two re-soles and over 100,000 km, this pair still keeps my feet warm and dry!
- West Virginia is beautiful to ride in, even in November. With all the leaves off the trees, it’s amazing what you can see. Who knew about the mountain waterfalls, or gorges just behind a row of trees – or little hamlets tucked in the hills? They’re concealed by foliage during most of the riding season. It’s a gorgeous ride and the views go on forever!
Another day of riding awaits tomorrow, undoubtedly, laced with more adventure!