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My (short) Weekend Ride

2171 Views 16 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  azwheelin
I'm planning my first long trip in the next few weeks. Well, long for me at 200 miles each way. This weekend, I planned to ride about 150 miles total, with some gear on the bike so I could get used to the weight.

About 60 miles or so into my ride, I was doing fine and enjoying the ride. I was on a two lane highway doing about 60 or so, when I started to lose speed and found myself unable to go over 55, then 50, etc. My first thought was that I must have run through the tank and needed to switch to reserve. But at only 60 miles in that couldn't be the case.

Then, everything got really squirrelly in the back and I began to wobble left to right. Uh-oh, flat tire! It took a few seconds, but that's what finally got through my head. A flat in the rear tire.

At this point, I let go of the gas and tried to control the ride. The wobble got very pronounced and the bike kept trying to pull left into the oncoming lane. Luckily there were no cars really close to me. I was able to get over to the road side and pull of on a small side road safely. Heavy breathing, check. Racing heart, check. Kept my head and got off the road safely, BIG CHECK.

Of course, everything else went well (NOT). My cell phone wouldn't work in that area. I normally carry a tire kit, irons, patches, pump, tubes, etc. Imagine my surprise when I remembered it was on the bench at home. So, no way to fix the tire, no phone service, middle of nowhere. It was shaping up to be a GREAT day!

This is where I get to tell about the kindness of strangers. I walked up to a nearby house across the road from where I stopped. A really nice old guy let me use his phone to get in touch with my wife and arrange a ride home. With a portable air tank, we drove over to the TW and aired the tire enough to ride about halfway to his place, and then aired again to get the rest of the way. I stored the bike in his garage and he drove me to the nearest town about seven miles away to wait for my wife to pick me up. I was pretty well stuck and this very nice man really helped me out. There are still good people willing to help a stranger!

Anyway, my slightly annoyed wife drove the hour or so from Dallas to get me, and I went back on Sunday with the truck to get my TW. Of course, kindness should be repaid, so I went with a 12 pack of Shiner for my rescuer.

I don't trust the tire after riding it while flat, and have ordered a replacement. In the mean time, I'm learning how to break the bead, patch the tube, and reinstall the tire. I'll treat this as a learning moment.

I'm a novice rider, and this was a little scary. For those of you who are also less experienced, please learn what you can from my experience. Always be prepared (I wasn't). Never let your guard down. This situation can be managed, but you can't lose your head. Don't Panic. All you want to do is get safely off the road. Everything after that can be managed.

So, I've ordered a new tire and tube and 2 bottles of Ride-On (for front and back) to put in when they arrive. Also, the tire kit is going back in the saddle bag and will stay there.

That's my story. Be prepared, don't panic, and hope there are good people around when you need them.
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Thanks for your story! Glad things worked out for you.
Glad you made it home safe and sound. But your story has got me thinking. Although I have ridden bikes for a long time, I have never traveled more than 150 miles one way on the pavement and would always trailer my MX bikes ATV's or UTV's to a site and then ride. I always had the support tools in/supplies in the truck if repairs were needed, and usually a friend or two to get me back when in back country. It seems many forum members almost live off of these bikes when they go for a ride. I am wondering what members are packing as a minimium when they head out for a ride that takes them off the beaten path away from all support and assistance. I am pretty squared away in the area of self reliance and survival gear. I am interested in what you may bring for the bike to keep it on the road.....I guess I could start with a tire repair kit.
The tire kit is a good place to start. I'll be carrying mine now all the time, I assure you.

The other thing I carry is a general tool kit. I have sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, tape, zip ties, etc. Whenever I work on the bike, I only allow myself to use what's in the kit, even if I'm at home. If I come across something I can't do with what I normally carry, then that tool gets added to the kit for the next time.
Perhaps I have moved toward the extreme..... Gerry

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All you need is a plug kit, and a cheap slime compressor. You will be back on the road in 10 min with no cell phone needed.
So, how hard is it to actually repair a tire in the field away from home (supposing I don't have Ride-On in the tire)? How hard is it to actually break the bead and get the tire over the rim?

I've never had a flat, (and by mentioning this fact I soon will:blink: ), and I just assumed I would have to take it to a motorcycle shop to have the tire fixed.
Plug kit won't work on a tire with a tube.

Don't bother carrying tools you don't know how to use. A flat 100 miles from home is 10 times harder to repair than a flat at home.

I also carry exactly what I need to work on the bike. Nothing more, nothing less. When I work on the bike at home, everything I use goes in the tool kit.

I also carry an oak wedge to fit between the tire and swing arm to pop the bead, a bottle of water, and a sample-size dish soap bottle. Dump the soap in 1/4 bottle of water to make tire lube. A CO2 inflator saves the battery.
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Even though I am replacing the tire and tube, I did a repair in the garage just to have the experience. I have the tools, but had never used them. As qwerty points out below, it doesn't do much good to carry them if you can't use them.

Having done that, it was hard work, even under decent circumstances at home. Coud you do this in the field? Maybe, if the conditions were right, but it would be 10 times harder, if not more. I understand better now that a field repair is a last resort. Being able to call for help, or use some kind of roadside assistance like AAA is a more viable option.

One of the toughest tasks was breaking the bead. I found a video on YouTube that showed how to use a short piece of 2x2 as a bead breaker . Even using that method, the conditions would have to be right to do this in the field.

I have three tire irons, and was able to get the tire over the rim, but man, was that work. I was sweating and out of breath by the time I wrestled the last bit of the tire on. I used all three irons and it was a difficult, but not impossible job.

qwerty, you mentioned using an oak wedge against the swingarm to break the bead. Can you elaborate on that statement? Being able to patch a tube without taking the wheel off to be able to break the bead would be a time/work saver in this situation.
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Jam the wedge between the sidewall and swingarm. Fire her up, 1st gear, use engine power to force the tire into the wedge. Pops the bead right off. Maybe. On a good day.
I learned the other day when renewing my insurance from Progressive that Roadside Assistance was covered with my plan. I guess it would be an option if you can't do the fix yourself while on a ride or you might not have to make the call to wifey and do the ride of shame! It also covers trailers too which is a bonus. Might be worth checking your policy because I had no idea it was even included in mine.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance coverage provides towing to the nearest qualified repair facility and necessary labor at the place of breakdown when your motorcycle or off-road vehicle is disabled due to any of the following:

Mechanical or electrical breakdown

Dead battery

Flat tire


Insufficient supply of fuel, oil, water or other fluids

Entrapment in snow, mud, water or sand within 100 feet of the roadway

This coverage extends to trailers being towed by a motorcycle. Immediate sign and drive assistance means you have no out-of-pocket expenses — just sign the receipt and you're back on your way. Roadside Assistance is available 24/7.

Roadside Assistance can be purchased for less than $1 a month.
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I think most of us tend to fend for ourselves in these situations, but sometimes we get caught with our britches down. I've hardly ever had a breakdown that I couldn't deal with myself in less time and with less hassle than waiting to be towed somewhere and paying some podunk mechanic to botch the repairs, but those times when you do get caught with yer britches down can really blow.

AAA offers a motorcycle-only roadside policy that covers EVERYTHING. Flat tires, blown motors in the middle of nowhere. Whatever's neccessary to get you back on the road, they pay for. The only thing that I think is not covered is any food and lodging associated with the breakdown. Seems hard to believe, and I've never had to use it, but it wasn't a lot of money when added to my automotive roadside assistence.

I guess it's been available forever, but I only became aware of it a couple of years ago. And, like their automotive roadside assistence card, you don't neccessarily have to be one of their insurance customers to purchase it.

I also belong to an outfit called "BAM". It's a freebie, and kind of a network of Regular Joes who agree to help others when broken down in their area in exchange for the same courtesy being extended to themselves when in that situation. I've never had to use it either, but I get calls from them a few times a year when folks passing through here have trouble. Sounds kinda Mickey Mouse, but it's not. It's run professionally from a central call center, and near as I can tell they don't quit til you're taken care of.

BAM's prolly on the web, but their number is 1-800-4BIKERS if you're interested.

If only the cellphone network workd so well...
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Business like AAA and insurance companies do not offer the same products to every member. Usually differences are based on geography and member selection. Call and ask to be sure of what you have or have available to purchase.
I have Progressive, too. I was aware of the roadside assistance and thought I had it. I called and found out I did not.

I have it now and hope I won't need to use it any time soon.
I dont think AAA will come make it on some of the trails i go on! I learn to be self sufficient...i even carry extra foot pegs!
I dont think AAA will come make it on some of the trails i go on! I learn to be self sufficient...i even carry extra foot pegs!

We'll pass the hat and get you one pair of good ones. lol
Good info here. I'm new to the whole m/c thing and found you really need to pack smart on these small machines. I'm used to my quad where my trunk was big enough for anything and everything I wanted to bring.
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