Cheap (or free) accessories for every motorcycle ride
I enjoy motorcycle magazine reports detailing new equipment and accessories for motorcycles. Every month new products emerge that make your ride more comfortable or safer or faster or some combination of those. And of course the prices asked keep going up. Better products cost more money.
It is a little daunting to ponder the fact that my most recent helmet cost more than my first motorcycle.
Very seldom do magazines spend valuable inkage on products that are inexpensive or even free. But they do exist. Here are some items I carry with me that are either very inexpensive or free – presented in no particular order.
Neck sock: These go by various names, but are essentially a tube of fabric that covers your throat area. On a benefit to price ratio they are hard to beat. The first one I purchased is a heavy knit item that provides a lot of warmth, but I hardly use it any more. That is because I received a door prize at an event a few years ago that is a similar item of a much lighter fabric. It makes an amazing difference on a chill day, and works well even down to temperatures where you might be asking yourself “Whose idea was it to go for a ride today?” Even better, on super hot days you can get the tube wet and add an amazing degree of air conditioning, so much so that you need to make sure it is really, really hot.
Attorney’s business card: A few years ago when I was working at a dealership I met a local attorney who was giving away a simple book that detailed all the ways you could screw up a legal claim after a motorcycle accident. He would bring me these books by the case, and I would put them out on the table that held other free items. He also gave presentations on the topic, and the second time I listened to one (I can be a bit slow) I had a great idea. It seemed to me that the time you need to contact your attorney is as soon as possible after the incident. While you’re waiting for help, if you’re able.
When you’ve suffered a monetary or physical or emotional loss on a motorcycle at the hands of others you probably need an attorney. Not next week.
Ever since then I have carried his business card in my wallet. So far I have not used it, but I have referred a great many people to his book and services. He specializes in these sorts of cases, and he seems to harbor an intense hatred for insurance companies. This is the type of person you want on your side. I urge you to find someone similar in your area and carry his or her card with you at all times.
AMA membership card: Not required, but over the 50 years of my riding experience and for decades before that, motorcycles have come under legislative threats of all kinds from time to time. The AMA is your voice in lobbying, and also offers a magazine, discounts on various services, and so on and so forth.
Insurance card: Some elect not to put collision insurance on their motorcycle, and if the motorcycle is not worth a whole lot this can make sense. Some also ask “How much damage can I do on a motorcycle?” and do not carry liability insurance either. The answer to their intended rhetorical question is “Quite a lot.” Let’s say you are riding on one of your favorite winding roads and you come around a corner. There is a marked pedestrian crossing that was not there last week. There is a woman pushing a baby strolled in the crosswalk. You hit the woman and she is injured, and the baby is killed. This was entirely your fault. How high will the damages go? High enough you will have a debt over your head, both psychological and actual, for the rest of your life. One way to lower the cost of insurance is what is called “bundling.” We have two cars, a motorcycle, and our home with one company, and the savings for having all of our loss risks in one basket it substantial.
In some areas insurance is mandatory, and some riders opt for their wild side and choose to ignore this. Can you spell “folly”?
Spare key: This never occurred to me for the first 40 years of riding (I did mention I can be slow at times), but after hearing a couple of horror stories from other riders the penny finally dropped. Again, I have not needed this safety back-up – yet.
Spare gloves: You can ride for quite some time if you are caught out in the rain or if the temperature changes significantly, both events that happen with regularity in the Northwest United States. Your jacket will repel water for quite some time, no matter what it is, and even jeans will get sodden and wet but not utterly miserable for a reasonable period. Not so your hands. Hands that are wet and or extremely cold can put you in peril very quickly. A spare set of gloves can save the day. (An assumption here, of course, is that you are wearing a jacket and gloves at all times. If not – insert a long lecture here that you would probably ignore)
Sunglasses and hat: You never can tell what you will find on a ride. Oh look, a hot rod show! Must stop! Sunglasses and hat will make your stroll around luscious pieces of automotive art that you cannot afford so much more pleasant.
Spare visor: Clear or tinted – your choice. Again – stuff happens.
First aid kit: If you carry one on the bike you will never have to use it, in my experience. If you don’t…
Tire repair kit: See first aid kit.
Tank bag: To carry the stuff mentioned above. Or back pack or saddle bags or…
The total cost of all of these items is surely less than $1 a day.
Copyright 2017 David Preston