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The Rally Virgin

April 15, 1999
On Being Prepared

"Why in the world does he keep all of that crap in the back of his motorcycle?"
Overheard recently at Bob's BMW as I was emptying out my rear cowling to get to my service book.

I Carry Spares

After several years of riding to lots of places, many far from home and far from a BMW Motorcycle dealer, I have come to the conclusion that if it is small and somewhat inexpensive I will probably carry an extra along. This goes double if the failure of this particular part could stop a trip in its tracks. Now mind you, I am not a "kitchen sink'er," but have learned that there are several things that are good to have along with you and that all of them, carefully packed, will easily fit in the tail cowling of a BMW K-Bike. Here is a list of things currently in there:

  1. Custom (Kathy's Cordura) Tool Roll, holding
    • All the BMW tools from the BMW tool kit plus an 11mm open/box wrench, a pair of hooked needle-nosed pliers and a mini-magnetic pickup wand.
    • A Pen
  2. Kathy's Cordura Spare Tire Rapair/Owner's Manual Holder
    • A BMW spare tire kit with 2 extra C02's, 2 extra strips of plugs and an extra tube of glue.
    • My Owner's Manual, service booklet, dealer locators, MOA Anonymous book and IBMWR Anonymous printouts.
    • 4 "AA" Batteries
    • A Pack of waterproof/windproof matches
  3. REI Mini-Duffel (about 3" by 6")
    • A mini-mag light
    • A bunch of zip-ties
    • Tubes of dielectric grease, blue loctite, no-seize
    • Radio Shack mini DVM.
    • 6' of 14-gauge wire
    • Lengths of duct tape & electrical tape, wrapped over onto themselves to conserve space
    • Small medicine bottle with collection of crush washers, including rubber ones for the forks and copper for the water pump.
    • Spare oil fill cap
    • Spare fuel filter
    • Spare clutch cable
    • List of "in a pinch" replacement parts
  4. BMW Bulb Kit
  5. BMW First Aid Kit
  6. Hidden - I tape a spare key, a 2-sided photocopy of all my vital information (license, registration, insurance, emergency phone numbers, etc.), and two $20 bills under the seat - in a small zip-loc baggie taped using black tape to the underside of the underseat compartment lid. You could take that lid off a dozen times and never know it is there!

Yup, it all fits, quite easily as a matter of fact! Writing this out, I realized I should probably also try to find a small flare as well.

Now, you are undoubtedly asking why in the world I would carry all of these things. Well the answer is quite simple - at one time or another I have needed them, either for my bike or for someone else's. You never realize how nice it is to have the tiny, $0.35 spare oil fill cap along with you until you are 100 miles from anywhere and you look down and realize your right leg is covered with oil because you forgot to put the cap back in at the gas station 5 miles ago and the cap (which has undoubtedly disappeared off of the top of the hardcase where you left it) has fallen off onto the side of the road somewhere inbetween (phew ... that was a long sentence!)

So, stock up, tuck it away and forget it is there until you need it. Stop in at REI (or your favorite outfitter) and pick up a small ditty bag/stuff sack or two - they make carrying a lot of small things incredibly easy.

Ted

(Thanks to some weenie  for this one :))

1995-2016, Ted Verrill

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"Red Light Insight" is copyright Ted Verrill, 1999