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First longer trip. What do I need to know?

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by freakshow10mm, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    80% sure I am going to ride down to Green Bay this weekend. Gotta check the weather. There is a gunshow tomorrow and Saturday 10am-3pm. I might go Saturday after the gunshow. Probably catch it in the morning and leave by or around noon. My wife is already headed down there in her car and I will ride with her in the car this weekend.

    Here's my deal. I will be riding my '81 GS450. I have a tank bag and a tail bag. I have saddle bags but no supports so they won't work yet. All I need is clothes for Sunday and Monday. I will ride down on Saturday and come back up on Monday. I am off on Monday so I can take the whole day if I want. I'm not going to rush things.

    One way trip is about 215-220 miles. I get about 68-69mpg so this trip will cost me about $15-18 in gas total, roundtrip. Green Bay and back for less than $20. Awesome.

    There are two situations I will be riding in that I haven't done before. The first one is going over a grated bridge (between Houghton and Hancock). I was told just relax, look straight, and keep a steady throttle. I remember the weird feeling of going over a bridge when I was on the back of my father's bike as a kid, will be different when I am piloting the cycle.

    The second one is the increase in traffic for Green Bay. Basically, I am in the northern most part of the UP. The largest town I will be riding through before I get to Green Bay metro is Houghton/ Hancock and together they are maybe 6K including college students. Not that big.

    Most of the trip will be rural roads. MI speed limit will be 55mph and will continue to that rate down to Crivitz, WI, where it will jump up to 65mph.

    I have been coming up here for the last four and a half years and have lived up here the last year and a half. I am very familiar with the route. It is literally stay on Hwy 41 there's only two turns to get to GB. I am taking a shortcut in Florence, WI (county N to state 8, then west to Pembine and back up with Hwy 41) so it will be 5 turns to GB. This is the normal route. Saves about 20-30 minutes from going through Iron Mtn.

    I am kind of nervous about it now. I am confident that it will be alright, but I have the excited nervousness. I have always wanted to ride to Green Bay, it is a nice trip. Lots of farmland and [fun] rolling hills. The longest ride I have made has only been about an hour one way at varying speeds (30-55mph) up to Copper Harbor, grab a soda, then ride back home. I did that easily. There are a number of stops I can make along the way. There is a strech of 38 miles from Covington to Crystal Falls (MI) where it is state forest and there is nothing along the way.

    For safety gear I will be wearing:
    Grex helmet (MI has helmet law, WI doesn't, but I wear it all the time)
    AMF-HD jacket
    Jeans
    Bates tacticool boots
    Icon vented gloves
    sunglasses
    H2O bottle in tank bag

    Sorry for all the info. Figured it was easier to lay everything down instead of everyone asking about stuff. Any tips is much appreciated. Oh, yeah. This is my second year riding.
     
  2. ndbullet500

    ndbullet500 Unmutual

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    Put sunscreen on your nose and back of neck. Arms too if exposed.

    Put baby powder on your.....er....boys. Don't want chaffing down there. Related to that, if you can pick up a pair of bicycling shorts to wear under your jeans, they are more comfortable than undies. But with this lenght of a trip, it's more of a luxury than necessity.

    Realize it will take you longer than you are used to in a car. For long trips, I usually stop the first leg at ~150 miles, then 100 miles thereafter, but don't rush (as you already said), and stop to look at interesting stuff. It makes it much more fun.

    Check your tire pressure, and carry a patch kit. If you don't know how to use it, at least read the instructions so you don't start from scratch on the side on the road. I've only had one flat in the past 4 years, BTW. Also lube/adjust your chain and check all your lights.

    MAKE SURE TO SWITCH THE PETCOCK BACK FROM RESERVE WHEN YOU FILL UP WITH GAS!!!!!! It's easy to start looking for gas when you hit reserve, switch the petcock to reserve and leave it there. Then you run out of gas. That would suck.

    If you are behind a truck and smell a rubber odor, drop back or pass. Just before those darn retreads come apart they start to smell funny, and you do NOT want that slinging back at you.

    Rain gear is a good idea. I don't know if there are any bike shops in your area, but even a cheap $25 will be worth it's weight in gold if you get caught out in rain. Wal-Mart ones will do in a pinch, but they will flap, shred and otherwise annoy the hell out of you. You can get oversized rubber kitchen gloves to put over your hands for a couple of bucks. Doesn't look cool, but wet hands are not fun.

    You have the right idea on the bridge. It will feel really odd and squirmy, just stay cool, point it straight ahead, steady throttle and it will be just fine.

    Green Bay is not that big, so you shouldn't have too much trouble with traffic, but it isn't the UP. Time it so you don't arrive at rush hour and it should be less stressful. Use signals, head check before lane changes, and keep your front brake lever covered. You should be fine.

    One other thing, take a soft cloth to clean your visor. I get a ziplock sandwich bag, soak a cotton cloth with windex and seal it in the bag. You can spread it over the visor and let it sit for a min while you gas up, then the bugs will come off easier. It sucks having bugs obscuring your vision.

    HAVE FUN! Don't get stressed out, take it easy, stop often and enjoy the ride. You aren't going that far, if your bike is reliable, it should be for this trip too.
     

  3. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Drink lots of water before, during and after. Remember that the wind blast will dry you out more than usual. If it were to rain, you might want to consider not crossing the grated bridge while it's wet. Wet metals are very slippery.

    Stop about half way for a break.

    Definitely bring a bug cleaner of some sort. :supergrin:
     
  4. BCM

    BCM

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    220? heck, thats a coffee run! j/k, gotta start somewhere
    Seems like nd and fnfal got you steered in the right direction.
    I'd like to add, full check of the bike, if your bags are not w/p, pack everything in plastic bags first, double check all securing points for bags or gear, I hate when it sliding down the road, have quick access to raingear, maps, directions(if needed), might think to carry an extra layer of clothing for warmth, thermals and turtle necks are small if room, and if you run into evening, can get chilly. As far as the bridge, I used to back off anyone in front and use steady but slightly positive throttle, and look where your going, not down, carefull if wet.
    load light, bind tight and have a blast!
     
  5. Glock_36

    Glock_36 Jason

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    I remember the first time I went over a bridge. I had a XL175 Honda on/off road bike. Those knobby tires made it fun going over the grating. Have fun and Pay Close Attention to other vehicles they tend to not see motorcycles. You are in some beautiful country enjoy the scenery.
    We went through North Carolina and South Carolina to Our Son's Graduation from BCT @ Fort Jackson. The mountains were beautiful. That would have been an Awesomw Bike Ride.
    Take Care,
    John
     
  6. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Thanks everyone.

    Yeah it isn't that far, but far enough for me.

    My wife was freaking out about me riding down there. She told me to take my truck (she'd pay gas) or don't come at all. I told her from here to Abrams (20mi N of GB) is all two lane traffic at 55mph like I'm used to. The GB metro section of US 41 is limited access freeway. That eliminates my #1 threat, vehicle making left turn in front of me. I said that is about 3/4 the risk right there. Only 25% has to pay attention. She didn't think that was funny.

    I told her if I get to GB metro and the traffic is too aggressive, I'll take off and take the country backroads in to GB to where I would be more comfortable. I have options and am not afraid to use them. I might spin down to Oshkosh (hometown) and suprise-visit my dad. He just bought a '75 MG bagger that I want to try out. He has bought 9 motorcycles in the past 2 years. Guess who inherits all those? I would be more worried about Appleton than GB. Appleton is 8 lanes and GB is only 4. If there are any idiots out there, it is near Appleton.

    I said "What is the worst that could happen on my bike? I could get killed. What is the worst that could happen in my truck? I could get killed. See, the risk is the same." Then she pulled the "I don't want our son go grow up without a father" bit (she is 7.5mo prego). :freak: I have a ICE number ("ICE-wife" is the contact name in memory) in my cell and I have one of those Cyclegadget.com medical info sticker envelopes on the back of my helmet. Has name, address, ICE, blood type, consent to treat, etc. on it all in a pouch about the size of my thumb.


    My tailbag is w/p and has a cover but the tank bag isn't. It has a map window but I don't need a map. I went for a little ride this morning and it is a little cool up here (70*). I was thinking of putting wind pants over my jeans or longjohns or something to block the wind. I have roadside assistance insureance coverage on all my vehicles including my bike. What can I say, I'm a sucker for stuff that is $0.99 a month.
     
  7. Mad Ryan

    Mad Ryan

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    The last long trip I did was from northern Oregon down to Los Angeles via HW 1 and HW 101 which runs along the ocean the whole way. I don't know how many miles it was but it was well over 1000 each way. I did the down trip in two days and did the trip back in 1 from Lancaster CA. to Eugene Oregon.

    You need to wear clothing that protects you from the wind and sun, as well as in case you crash. I just had a tank bag with a couple of sets of summer clothes and whatnot, but I did tank up on water and drank it whenever I came to a nice spot for a view. It's better to have to stop and pee than to get dehydrated. I wore my leathers (Doing a track day at Willow) and was comfy as long as I was moving.

    The way down was a nice picturesque curvy highway while the way back up was the interstate. I'd much rather ride way out of my way and take backroads than take the stinking interstate.

    Till you get used to long days in the saddle you need to take breaks and walk around and drink water. It will keep you alert and safe.

    BTW... I was riding my 2002 ZX-9R on this last trip.
     
  8. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Well, I'm off to Green Bay. Wish me luck. Just called my wife to tell her I'm leaving for GB. Should be about 4.5-5 hours. I am going to stop at L'Anse and gas up, then stop at Crystal Falls and either Pembine (WI) or Wausaukee (WI) before the last leg to GB. Thanks for the tips everyone. I'll be back on Monday and let you know how it went.
     
  9. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Got back from Green Bay this afternoon. Just in time to change for work.

    Largely uneventful. Fun as heck, but nobody tried to pull out and kill me, no retreads ripping off. Really a nice ride. Sun and road the whole way. Learned a lot about my bike, my badass newbie skills, and my helmet.

    Helmet is noisy as heck. All I heard for 4 hours was the wind wishing around my helmet. Gets old after a while. Looking at a Scorpion Crackhead as an upgrade. Have to try one out first. Fit good though. My helmet is a modular (flip up). I might forego the convience of the flip up chinbar for a quieter helmet if it is a traditional full face.

    My bike has decent newbie power ('81 GS450L). Up to 55-60mph it does great, good acceleration, handling. However, at "Green Bay speeds" (65-70mph) it sucks. Top gear roll-ons are terrible. I could maybe Flinstone it to give her a little more pep.

    Handled myself pretty well. Never got nervous. Learned how the wind blast comes off of some vehicles. Got behind a Schneider truck on the way down on the two laner. I didn't want to push anything so I waited until I absolutely had enough room to safely pass. I tucked down to avoid the blast, as I was getting my butt kicked behind him, and found out it also helped out with the side blast coming off the side of the truck. Neato.

    Learned that it also helps to tuck when a semi goes past me in the opposite direction to combat the blast from when they drive by. Looks retarted but helps big time, especially on a 400# bike with my tubby 145# on it.

    Learned that my gas mileage takes a huge drop when I am riding at more than the usually 55-60mph that I normally ride up here. I only got 45mpg down in WI doing 65-70 and up in MI I get between 65-69mpg at 55-60mph. Big difference. My average overall roundtrip is 47mpg which is a lot better than the 20-22 I get with my Blazer.

    My fork seals busted and some juice got all over my 5.11 pants. Gotta get that fixed. I think I am due for a new chain and sprockets too.

    Went to a Jap bike dealership (Suz, Yam, Honda, Kawi) and sat on some bikes. Was with my wife in the car and didn't have my riding gear with me to test ride. Sat on a Honda Spirit 750 (commies wanted $7K plus taxes!!! List is only like $6500!!), R1, R6, GSX-R 1K, 500 Ninja used, and popped a boner on a M109R. Hot damn, I wish I had my gear. Next time I am going to ride than sweet honey. I was all over that bike for literally 20 minutes. My wife told me her water broke just so she could get me away from it. I'll show her.:)

    I felt most comfy on the Spririt 750 and EX500 (and M109R). Those full blood sportbikes felt weird. I couldn't imagine staying like that for 4 hours, all that weight on my wrists as I hump the tank. Definately cross those off my "first real bike" list.

    I am looking for more of a sport-standard. Give me a nakedized sporty bike, feet between cruiser and sportbike position, hands between standard and sport closer to standard, with regular handlebars and not those clip on race track thingies. There are four bikes I am seriously looking at to buy after I am done with school next year. They are the SV650, the SV1K, Honda Shadow Spirit 750, or Suzi M50 (EFI and shaft drive). Sat on an '05 S50. Pretty nice, just don't like the tank angle. Steal, IMO, for $4500 with 12 miles on it.

    I am wanting a Suzi SV1K. Hopefully that fits the bill. Looks like it might, but the dealer didn't have any (or SV650) around to grope. I'll have to wait until I see one out to ride it.
     
  10. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Next time wear earplugs for the noise. Even the quietest helmets will be noisy as hell at highway speed.

    I'm surprised that you found the M109R to be comfortable. Most people don't the ergo because your feet are way too far forward.
     
  11. Mad Ryan

    Mad Ryan

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    Give an Arai helmet a try. I'll never go back to Shoei again.
     
  12. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm 10mm Advocate

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    Can't afford it. From what I have read in various mags and online articles there isn't much protection difference between a $100 helmet and a $700 helmet. I'll stick with the lowest priced helmet that is comfortable. DOT is fine with me and IMO, Snell is just a gimmick to jack up the price. If I had a choice, I'd rather send 150 Gs to my head than 250 Gs.

    The Scorpion Crackhead that I tried on at the bike shop is priced at $225. That is a great deal of money for a helmet, IMO. At $5.40/hr for myself, my wife, and come October, my son to live on, that is going to take me up until about March or April of '07 to save for, hopefully I find it on clearance and get to save some money. I am going to see if I can trade mine in to save a bit too. You never know.

    Right now I have a Grex G-10 modular helmet that I got from DK.com on clearance for $80 shipped. Just to start off with so I had something. There is no way I can justify to myself spending anything more than $300 on a helmet. Beyond that, it is all fluff, paint, and marketing.
     
  13. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Regardless of what helmet choice you go with, get some earplugs to wear when you do freeway riding. Schuberth and Vemar claimed that some of their helmets are extremely quiet. What they conveniently left out is that their helmets are extremely quiet when riding behind a windshield.

    When you ride a bike with a small windshield or no windshield, no helmets are going to be quiet enough to not cause hearing loss.

    BTW, as far as not being able to afford a high dollar gear, hey, some gears are better than no gears. At least you're taking the extra step for your personal safety.