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Tips and Tricks for Motorcyclists

This month's Tips and Tricks column is penned by Pacific Northwest rider, Derek Roberts

Get Inspired

With the start of the riding season officially underway here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s time to begin looking for reasons to ride. Ok… that’s not too difficult a task, but it is half the fun. A recent viewing of the newly released “Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route” documentary really pulled the primer on us here at Sound RIDER! and served as a reminder that now is the perfect time to start planning those summer time routes. I’ll pass on a little advice that Washington State Motorcycle Hall of famer Mike Sullivan’s Dad shared with him, “If you feel like doing something, do it….you might not feel like doing it later.”


At the start of each riding season, you’re sure to find that your skills have deteriorated just a bit and that’s ok. In fact, it’s as an opportunity. Early in the year, I like to break out my favorite motorcycle reading material, like David Hough’s “Proficient Motorcycling”, to review both fundamental and advanced riding techniques. Take that book knowledge and begin to apply it on your early rides when you are likely to be in a heightened state of focus. In my personal experience, this is when things really start to “come together” and in a few weeks in you’ll find yourself a better rider.

Lighten Up

We all have different levels of comfort when it comes to the gear we bring and I admit that I am something of a minimalist. With that said… you’re bringing too much stuff. There is nothing better in motorcycling than the long trip, but don’t get bogged down with all of the contingencies. Take into consideration your riding style and past experiences, then do a thorough audit of your gear. I recall a long moto trip that I once took with only a single backpack. The comment that I got most from other ADV riders? “I brought too much.”

Tool Around

There’s an old adage that “when doing maintenance on your bike at home, use only the tools that you plan to travel with.” In other words, test out your kit. Realistically asses both your abilities and gear and strive to bring nothing more than you need. After all, what good is an 11mm wrench when none of your bolts are that size? It’s Just another thing to hurl at your broken down machine when you realize that you can’t fix it anyway.

Go Nuts

As we enter Adventure/Touring season long rides become a thing of reality and with distance comes variable weather. In the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with some of the world’s best topography, but as you ride through the mountains and high deserts you are likely to encounter some extremes. Drinking plenty of water in the all-day sun is a must, especially in scorching summer time areas like Eastern Washington and Southern Idaho, but sometimes we forget that we also need a little salt to go with it. Peanuts and almonds are well rounded snacks that pack easy and travel well. And bonus, they’re also a nice treat when you’re waiting out a rainstorm under an overpass.

Derek Roberts/March 2015

Got a tip or trick to share. Email it to us at SReditor@soundrider.com . If we use it, we'll slip you a copy of the Sound RIDER! guide to Packing Light/Packing Right.

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