Favorite Rides & Destinations

Spring 2017

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Exhaust Note IN MY WAY OF THINKING, touring should offer up three kinds of days: good, better and stellar. Outside of a serious injury, there are few things that will make a day of riding less than good for me. Even when hamstrung by an electrical failure miles from anywhere in foul weather, I've been able to find something redeeming about the day. Not every moment will be enjoyable, like finding that my stator was going south, but how you deal with a problem can make or break a day on the road. In the case of my stator, the support of my long-time touring buddies and my own perseverance (stupidity?) riding through a nasty hailstorm to a safe haven rescued the day for me. In spite of the inconvenience and weather, our mood remained upbeat that afternoon and we rallied to save the trip with some creative thinking. Everyone expects their touring days to be stellar, so having trouble on the road is always disappointing. I've found that making lemons into lemonade, even if it's a bit tart, can go a long way to saving a riding day from the ashes. I concentrate on getting back in the saddle—digging into the problem at hand is a productive distraction from wringing your hands. This could mean making phone calls, flagging down help or opening up the bike to investigate. The latter is what we did with mine, after a pie-and- coffee consult in a warm café. Being prepared for interruptions helps me stay confident and positive. A kit of tools and spares is the first line of defense against being stranded; I think of it as the sweetener for my lemonade. Don't worry if you're not mechanical, the Good Samaritan who stops to help might be. The jumper cables my buddy Jim had with him (and which I now carry) were critical to getting my bike running when the battery ran low from the stator failure. And his multi-meter helped diagnose the problem. Learn to fix a flat and carry the necessities to do so, and bring your owner's manual along. Before you leave, do some research on typical problems and write up a cheat sheet of solutions, including some helpful phone numbers. At a minimum, know where your fuse box is and carry spares. It's also important to know yourself and how you handle situations. For example, I become dumb and lazy when tired. Who else would ride 30 miles of dirt across a high, cold plateau in the dark because they couldn't bother to unload the bike and check a fuse? That was a sour experience, but it has helped me in the long run. Knowing that I get stupid and stubborn when I'm beat makes me concentrate more and put in the effort to find a fix. There's nothing sweeter than conquering a problem and moving on to make a good day better…or even stellar. I wait too long for a tour to let anything spoil it. BY ARDEN KYSELY NO BAD DAYS www.FavoriteRidesAndDestinations.com | ridermagazine.com PAGE 93 SPRING 2017 ISSUE 01 / VOL. 02

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