Creating a list of items to pack for any trip helps ensure you bring all of the essentials, and this is just as important to do when preparing for a motorcycle road trip. If you have a bike with built-in bags, you have a bit more flexibility when loading up. Adding on luggage isn’t out of the question, but it’s vital to pick your luggage accordingly; you can’t just bring any type of luggage along.
Choosing Your Luggage
Going on a multi-day trip will require you to carry items with you somehow. For bikes that don’t already have built-in luggage, you can choose between hard cases and expandable soft luggage. Hard cases are beneficial because they are more durable than soft luggage and provide better weather protection. However, they are much heavier, larger, and can be costly. Expandable soft luggage, on the other hand, is lighter and less expensive but is much easier to unzip (or cut open), making it more susceptible to theft.
Packing for Two
If you have a partner along for the ride, you will need to make some compromises when packing. Bring only the essentials along with you, leaving heavy items like hair dryers and electric razors at home. A general rule of thumb when traveling in a pair is to bring twice the money you think you’ll spend and half the clothing. If you are planning on staying the night in a motel, you can get away with bringing two pairs of clothes each – one for the ride and one for activities while off the bike. You can take advantage of laundry rooms at the motel or hotel when the clothes become unbearable to wear.
When loading the luggage onto your bike, it is imperative that you keep everything balanced. Aim to position your heavy items low and towards the front of the bike. Try to keep the right and left stable as well. Luggage can easily pull your motorcycle in one direction if it is not packed correctly, and the last thing you want to do is become unbalanced while on the road.
Do a Test Run
If you are going on a multi-day road trip for the first time, pack all your luggage onto your motorcycle and go for a test drive, preferably for a few hours. This will allow you to make sure your bags stay in place and your straps remain tight before you set off on your trip. You also want to make sure you don’t have too much packed that it makes it difficult to get on and off your bike.
Many people enjoy riding motorcycles as a result of their maneuverability and openness. However, these features come with a few trade-offs when compared to cars and trucks. Unlike four-wheeled and many three-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles do not have a sturdy base to support their weight. Motorcycles are kept upright by a kickstand, a rider’s legs, or momentum. A motorcycle can easily fall over when none of the three options are available for it to keep balance. A rider may discover during the moment that their motorcycle has fallen over that motorcycles are decently heavy. However, no matter the size and strength of the rider, there is a proper way to pick up a motorcycle.
Before a rider attempts to pick a motorcycle up from the ground they should ensure that the engine is turned off. Turning off the engine will prevent further damage from insufficient fluid flow. The rider should then open the kickstand so that the motorcycle can have a sturdy foundation to stand on. Lastly, the rider should ensure that the bike is not in a neutral gear so that it doesn’t roll as they attempt to pick it up.
Once the proper preparation steps have been taken, the rider should then turn their back towards the motorcycle and sit on the edge of the bike’s seat. Next, the rider should hold the end of the handlebar and walk backwards so that the bike begins to stand up. As the motorcycle begins to approach an upright position, the rider will want to lean it over at a slower rate so that it can rest on the kickstand.
The method presented here works for riders of all shapes and sizes. Picking up the motorcycle this way also allows a person to utilize the power of their legs, rather than their arms or back muscles, in order to safely pick up a motorcycle. At the 2018 New York IMS conference, Harley Davidson performed a demonstration of this technique using a lightweight rider and a decently heavy Harley Davidson Sportster. During the demonstration, the presenter was not only able to pick up the motorcycle with ease but she continued to talk as she lifted the motorcycle off of the floor. With practice, it should become fairly easy to do.
Once an untouchable American icon, Harley-Davidson is in trouble. Between March of 2017 and February of 2018, Harley’s stock fell 23 percent. The first quarter of 2018 saw a factory closure and the loss of 800 jobs. Things clearly aren’t going well, but there is hope.
Even with declining sales, Harley has an army of brand faithful buyers and a tenacious 50 percent hold on the American motorcycle market. They also have big plans for turning the ship around, including work on electric motorcycles, which increase in popularity as the younger, environmentally-conscious generation reaches ridership age. Ridership programs teach new enthusiasts how to ride safely and generate income. They also increase used bike sales. Amid these positive changes, however, Harley just made a wise but controversial move. Official Harley-Davidson merchandise is now available on Amazon.
In 2017, Harley-Davidson branded merchandise like jackets and hats brought $262 million in revenue to the company. Merchandise appeals to the brand loyal who want to show their devotion and to those who can’t afford a motorcycle but can enjoy authentic gear. Harley-Davidson merchandise was previously sold only on the company website and through authorized Harley dealers. Offering their popular merchandise on Amazon, however, gives the brand a larger online presence. This is a smart move, given that 70 percent of consumers now shop online.
The company is predicting that Amazon sales, along with other parts of Harley’s new More Roads to Harley-Davidson program, will increase their operating profits by $50 million dollars by 2022. Not everyone in the Harley family is excited about this increase, however. Harley dealers point out that it won’t help them at all and it may even hurt.
Harley-Davidson dealers make most of their money on Harley tchotchkes. Dealer profit margins on motorcycles are around 15 to 20 percent and the markup on parts about 38 percent. Branded merchandise and gifts, however, allow for profit margins of 40 percent or more. By selling on Amazon, Harley-Davidson is putting itself in direct competition with its own dealers. Overall corporate profits may rise, but dealers won’t get a bigger piece of the pie. Dealers also fear losing more money in the future. They’re concerned that if selling merchandise on Amazon proves successful, the company may start selling parts there too.
Harley-Davidson claims that dealers have nothing to fear, assuring them that the company plans to somehow integrate them into the online experience. No one knows how though. Only time will tell if Harley-Davidson can turn things around and whether or not they’ll take their dealers along for the ride.
About Graham Zahoruiko
As Director of Organizational Effectiveness, Public Benefit Corporation, Graham Zahoruiko is leading greater corporate shareholder wealth, public benefit, and social responsibility. Graham gets to exercise a level of independence that is rare in the business world. He needs to rely on himself to deliver on what he has been hired to do. There are no shortcuts, only hard work, and self-reliance. These are qualities intrinsic to Graham Zahoruiko, so it is no wonder that they permeate through his personal life as well. Graham is a motorcycle enthusiast. His most peaceful moments are when he is astride his Harley-Davidson and on the open road. Again, independence is the key. The iconic images of the lone rider tearing across the pavement are certainly romantic, but there is an undeniable beauty to it as well. It is a part of American culture – the independent traveler forging across the country à la the pioneers during westward expansion. The public’s understanding of motorcycle culture is also influenced by popular films – Easy Rider, the Wild Ones, Mad Max. Biker gangs are often a popular trope in these films, echoed by real-world incidences. For instance, the Hell’s Angels at the Altamont Free Concert in 1969 and the violence that ensued.
Graham Zahoruiko was introduced to motorcycle riding as a child when his uncle would give him rides in the front yard. In those days, helmets were optional and Graham and his uncle found themselves on the ground from unsuccessful wheelies. These early experiences manifested themselves into a lifestyle on the bike. Riding has always been a thrill that Graham has enjoyed as it compliments his spontaneous personality. Graham Zahoruiko averages about 5,000 to 7,500 miles during the riding season — April through October — on his black 2013 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softtail Classic.
For Graham and motorcycle riders alike, the open ride provides an immense sense of freedom in the open air. Sometimes with no destination in mind, the motorcycle is the ultimate escape. The open road and the motorcycle community provides the opportunity to meet some of the kindest and most patriotic people. Whether it is a motorcycle rally, event or ride, you always have the chance to meet and learn from interesting people all over the country.
Motorcycle enthusiasts like Graham Zahoruiko have to fight against those negative connotations. To that end, Graham has been able to combine is the love of riding with another one of his passions – philanthropy. Graham regularly participates in fundraising events focusing on motorcycle riding. For example, the 9/11 Ride. The event is organized by America’s 911 Foundation, Inc., and is purposed to remember the heroes, volunteers and victims of September 11th, 2001. Preserving the memories of all those who answered the call on that horrible day is the charge of the ride, and for the best 13 years, they have been very successful. The Ride is an annual event where 100s of riders travel together en mass. For a thousand miles, the caravan rides in formation, visiting each of the three major 9/11 crash sites. The event has grown tremendously, where now major highway interstates are shut down entirely and thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer on the bikers and honor the fallen.