I love to travel.
Man were born to explore. And long before cars and bikes ruled the roads, man explored on horsebacks. And in each adventure, the relationship between man and horse strengthens, eventually forming an inseparable bond between the two travelling companions. The motorcycle and his rider is the modern mechanical version of that man and horse relationship.
Even before I purchased my first bike, I’ve dreamt of exploring places with it. And when I discovered advrider.com, I instantly got hooked to the idea of doing my own motorcycle tours. But a lone explorer with his mechanical steed needs to be prepared for all kinds of situations. Emergencies – as some may call it.
While the modern bike is highly reliable, there are some common scenarios that can leave a lone adventurer stranded if he is not prepared. I love travelling, and I love travelling on my Pulsar. But if I were to head up North – be in Malaysia or to Thailand, it’s great to be prepared for some common bike breakdowns.
Space is always a premium when it comes to motorcycle riding. While ideally I’d love to carry my entire toolbox to prepare for almost every emergency situation, the bike can only carry so much. So with consideration of everything having to be small and compact, I’ve prepared a list of items that I’ll bring along on an extended tour…
1) The Bajaj Pulsar toolkit. This comes with the bike purchase – although I didn’t receive it when I got mine. I bought the bike pre-owned and the previous owner must have loved the kit so much that he decided to retain it for his next emergency. Nothing a trip to Universal Motors can’t fix, and I bought this new toolkit set from them.
2) Tire repair kit. There are many versions of this traditional tool. But this is the most compact version I’ve found. The rubber file and the insertion tip can be removed from the T-handle, making the entire setup really compact. All these roll up and fit nicely into the bike toolkit bag together with the tools in (1) above.
3) High-temp self-fusing silicone rubber tape. A busted cooling system is never a good idea for the liquid-cooled engine. This tape can be used for temporary fixing a leaking hose. It can also be used as an electrical wire insulation tape.
4) 2-part Epoxy “Plastic Steel”. Great for temporary repairs of broken parts – metals, plastics. It’s like a super-version of super-glue. Can also be used to patch up a leaking or cracking radiator until more permanent repairs are available. I’ve read that chewed chewing gum is also a great temporary fix for a leaking radiator. Not sure if it can hold the heat or pressure though.
5) Digital tire pressure gauge. Small. Light. And used to determine tire pressure. Correct tire pressures gives better mileage.
6) Work gloves. Keep your hands clean, ya!
7) First Aid Dressing. Otherwise known as FAD. All Singaporean guys who’ve been through military training will be familiar with this. Can be used in a dozen ways – from compression dressing to an arm sling. Packaging is (supposedly) waterproof. And most importantly, it was FREE. Paid for with SAF credits. smile emoticon
8) Bicycle air pump. A patched up tire after a flat is no good without air. This pump comes with a head for both Schrader and Presta valves. It’s probably gonna take a while to fill up those motorcycle tires with this. But hey! It’s for emergency use ya! I might get one of those CO2 cartridges in future if I’m feeling in the mood.
9) Set of sockets heads. $2 from Daiso. For those tricky socket nuts. To be used with (10) multi-tool.
10) Multi-tool. I got this for the pliers and screwdriver bits actually. Although all that keyboard punching have given me some strong fingers, I’m no Superman. And if I get a tire puncture along the way, don’t think I can remove the offending nail with my mere fingers. The pliers will come in useful here. Comes with the screwdriver bits for various screwheads.
11) SAF LED flashlight! FREE! SAF credits! Yeah! Small, compact, and takes 1xAA battery. Although the most commonly used AA’s are alkalines, I’ve fitted this with a lithium for 2 reasons. One, it lasts alot longer than an alkaline. Remember? Emergencies! And two, more importantly, lithiums don’t leak like alkalines. So I’d be confident that I’ll have the juice when I need it.
12) Cable ties (not in picture). Useful for strapping down or together anything. When combined with a few pieces, can also be used as a handcuff if you happen to apprehend a highway robber. Or perhaps after a long day’s ride, you and your girl decide on something kinky in that new-found hotel room. Oh. Nevermind….
So that’s it! My personal list of emergency repair items that I’d bring along on a motorcycle tour. If you have your own list, why not share it here too!