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Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - EPS


Rally Ready

Maximizing fun while minimizing madness

Planning a junket to the John Day Rally this year? Maybe you're motoring over to Montana for the big national event, or perhaps a hop into Hood River for the Rally in the Gorge is on your agenda? Whatever your rally or touring plans are in general this year, use the short list below to make the most of your time on the road and not get hung out in a precarious situation waiting for a wrecker or otherwise.

Service Considerations

Every motorcycle has its own set of service intervals. Level 1 (basic), Level 2 (intermediate) and Level 3 (major) - the one we all hate to pull our wallets out for. What's next on the list for your bike. Use your manual to determine what intervals will come up for you this year based on your riding plans and be prepared to take care of each wherever you are. If you plan to handle a service interval on the road, be sure to have the parts you'll need with you, or work with a dealer on your route to have the parts and appointment waiting for you when you get there. DON'T expect the parts to be in stock or to be greeted with open arms for an on-demand service request. Dealers are typically busy during better riding months.

Tire Life

Car tires are super. Today they're good for 50-70k miles. Motorcycle tires? Heh - usually about 4-8k, 10 if you're lucky. This often means you will need to change tires during a road trip. While some rallies have vendors selling tires, the question is will you make it to the rally on the threads you have? And if you so, will the vendor have the tires you need when you arrive? Find out in advance and work with them to line up your needs and have them waiting for you or get some lined up along your route.

Ergonomic Adjustments

So many bikes look great, and that's reason enough to buy one - right? But because everybody is different size-wise, things don't always work out as planned after the purchase. Lower back pain? Can't touch your feet to the ground? Shoulder stress and so on all have the propensity to make motorcycle riding not so fun. But fear not - most of these situations can be remedied with a few ergonomic adjustments. Having a custom seat fitted for you by a true saddle-maker often solves a number of these issues. Bar risers have helped many height-challenged riders place their body into a more comfortable upright position for longer rides. It may not be time to trade that bike in just yet.

Accommodations along the route and during the event

If your ride to the rally means multiple days on the road, the question becomes, where do you want to stay along the way? Hotels, motels and even campgrounds have a way of filling up months in advance of your intended ride dates, so the sooner you book, the better off you'll be with getting the kinds of accommodations you want.

Route Planning

You may have heard the old saying - it's not the destination - it's the ride. We like to think both are equally matched when the destination is a rally. And too often we hear the stories about the interstate blast someone took because of limited time. If you can swing a few extra days, get off the super slab and incorporate in some lesser travelled secondary roads as well as some sightseeing into your plan. Snap lots of photos and plan to give friends back home a slide show when you get back home. This is not a trip - it's an adventure!

Gear Storage

You may have seen the gruesome photos that make the rounds in social media circles of bikes that are overloaded with multiple duffle bags stuffed full of too much camping gear, too much cooking gear and too many days-worth of clothes. Don't let it happen to you. Begin with a simple rule - 100 liters of storage maximum. If you can't fit everything you need in that (including camping gear) you're carrying too much gear. Then review what storage you have on the bike. Time to ditch those teeny weeny 15-liter saddle bags for something a little larger? Would a larger tank bag be helpful? Is it time to talk to your pillion rider about how it is possible to carry two changes of underwear, rather than two weeks?

Gear Review

And speaking of gear, while some riders pack too much, others don't bring enough. There are hundreds of packing lists on the internet for motorcyclists. Grab a half dozen, then create your own list. Next up review your gear to see where you need to fill in the gaps. Also review the durability of your existing gear. Has your stinky-sticky rain gear or tent lived its useful life? Is that sleeping bag that was not warm enough last summer going back on the road with you again? Are you finally going to carry your own tire repair kit and pump, instead of leaching on others - who may not be with you on the next ride?

Food Considerations

After decades of eating garbage, many westerners are learning to eat a more sensible diet. The sad thing is restaurants have not caught up with the current "trend." And thus, food options along the road are not always healthy. Ditto at the rally where sub-par food trucks and caterers will be at the ready to stuff you full of biscuits and gravy, hamburgers and hot dogs, or the latest amalgamation of 'fusion' food you've never imagined. Review your dietary considerations and pack the snacks that are better for you like nuts, fruits, 75% cacao chocolate and so on. Do your homework and find out what the healthier grocers are in the rally town you'll be visiting and map out a few simple meals in advance you can make on the go.

Health Considerations

Have you got enough meds to make the trip? If not, put in an early prescription and get your pill box stocked. Are you new to the world of CPAP, but you insist on camping every night? You'll need to come up with a way to power that thing every night. Is there electricity for campers at the rally site? Do the campgrounds you've chosen have electricity for campers? Did you order that new-fangled battery that is supposed to last through the night? How will you charge it in the day? Come to think of it, what's your plan for keeping your phone charged?

Weather Considerations

Must rallies are held in the summer. Now that sounds like prime riding. But some places get more wind and rain during the summer months than they do any other season of the year. How's your rain gear looking. Are you planning to carry an evaporative cooling vest so you can handle excessive heat? Do you have a trustworthy weather app in your phone to look ahead each morning so you knew if there might be thunderstorms later along your route? What would be your plan to avoid lightning, hail or high winds?

PT/February 2020

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