As I was riding home today, I passed another rider who was no longer being powered by an engine. He was hoofing it and pushing the bike in the middle of the road trying to get it the last couple feet and into the gas station. I turned around and met him at the pumps. After our brief intros, I asked him if he was simply out of gas or was there another problem? He hoped it was just the gas but, after filling up, there was still no start.
I keep a small bag of tools and an even smaller bag of expertise on me at all times while on the bike. I looked and listened and with a small adjustment, my new friend’s bike fired right up and he was able to get home! I fired my monster up and took off the barely one mile to my own house. As soon as I turned into the “hood”, my bike just simply shut off. I played with the ignition as I coasted as far as I could and not a thing lit up. Of course I came to a stop at the one house with the shirtless teen playing basketball and listening to rap music. I was burning up in my leather jacket but, gladly pushed my denim black burden a few houses down to begin assessing the issues.
It turned out that one of my battery terminals had rattled loose.. again… I’d have been pushing that 900 pound bike the half mile to my house had I not had a few simple tools.
I keep the tools stashed in a small bag I put on the swingarm. It’s a great spot. Out of the way and no one notices it, which helps keep me satisfied that no one will find it and want to explore the contents.
Inside I keep at least a few tools that might help me get home. I have a phillips and flat head screw driver, a wrench that fits the rear wheel belt sprocket bolts that have a tendency to come loose, two adjustable wrenches so I can adjust lock bolts such as on the clutch cable and a Harley specific multi-tool. I also keep extra items to help myself like the shop rag and flashlight. I also always carry at least one extra lighter and a small knife.
For a long time I kept no saddle bags or any way of holding extra stuff on my bike. After some time and a ton of miles later, a bag of some sort for ease of carrying at least a few extra items was necessary. I purchased a small, hand-made leather saddle bag that was specifically designed to be low profile. Inside I keep a mini socket and wrench set, motorcycle jumper cables, a few wire connectors, a super mini multi-tool and some electrical tape. Almost all of these items have helped me in some kind of way on the road.
Of course, there will always be some fixes that will not be able to be repaired on the road but, shouldn’t you be prepared for the ones you can? What items do you carry that have helped you on the way?
Peace, Grease and a Life of Ease,