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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists


A monthly column of selected favorites from our vast archive.

Touring beyond summer - get a room

Some of us like camping with our bikes in the summer, but when fall rolls around it gets a little too chilly outside for our bones and nose. Consider all that money you saved camping all summer and treat yourself to a room in the fall or spring instead. It doesn't have to be a typical hotel or motel. Many state parks feature rentable cabins, some year around. They are typically priced less and don't feature bed bugs, since most require you to bring your own sleeping bag.

Base Layers

Base layers are a superior choice to cotton t-shirts and blue jeans. They insulate better when it's cold, they wick excess heat and moisture away from your body much better when it's hot, and they dry quickly. You can get them in various grades. A nice winter set is good for colder months and a three-season set is essential in the spring and fall. For summer there are short sleeve and short pant alternatives as well.

Custom Seats

One rider in his early 60s quipped to me one day about how hard it is to ride very long "with these old bones." When I asked, he revealed that he rides with a stock seat. One of the first upgrades worth making to any motorcycle is to have a seat fitted to your bottom by someone who is a skilled, modern-day saddle maker of sorts. That's some of the best money one can ever spend on a bike to ensure all day comfort. You may have a custom maker nearby, or you can send your seat along with photos to a pro.

Plastic bags and feet don't mix

Through time, certain sages have suggested riders with leaky boots can wrap their feet in plastic bags to keep them warm and dry. Well…not so fast or you could freeze. The human skin perspires at every possible point, and regardless if it's hot or cold out, it will perspire at the feet as well. Wrapping your feet in plastic bags causes a sauna effect and in no time your feet will be soaking wet surrounded in a pool of perspiration, which will transfer body heat away from your feet quickly. Add cold weather riding to the mix and you've got a recipe for hypothermia. The solution to a leaky boot it to have it repaired so it doesn't leak, or invest in a pair of boots lined with Gortex, the only waterproofing fabric we've found to be truly waterproof in boots, while allowing moisture to escape at the same time.

The Doctors Soap

Riders touring overnight can pack a one-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Pure-Castile Liquid Soap. A little goes a long way. The soap can be used in the shower, taking a quick face bath at the sink, washing clothes and, for you blade users, it can also be used in place of shaving cream. And since peppermint is a natural antibiotic, it can be used to ease itchy feet. For a little wind relief, pack a one-ounce bottle of Thayer's Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera. It soothes the skin after being in the sun and wind, and works as an after-shave as well.

Packing Light, Packing RightTips and Tricks is a monthly column created by our editors and readers alike. If you have a tip or trick you'd like to share, email it to If we use it we'll send you a copy of The Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light, Packing Right - FREE!



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