Bobcat’s Blog

Hi all, Bobcat here again. I hope that any of you out there in cyber land who saw my review of the First Gear cold weather rain suit I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I was incredibly fun to write and look forward to my periodic blogs here on the Cartoon Thunder site. Thanks Rob for the invite.

My second blog topic is a continuation of the cold and wet weather discussion from my last blog. This will be a three part series related to wet and cold weather riding. Then I will start a new series of summer ride blogs.

This April 2011 I rode my scoot to Los Angeles. I rode from the Northern end of the Central Coast five hours down south. During the ride I hit rainy weather most of the way. If you are going to ride a motorcycle, the question is not if you will hit rain, it is when you will hit it….!

Today I am going to write about preparation that will increase your comfort and safety when riding in wet, cold weather.

The first item I look at is a weather report for the area I plan to travel through I look to see if there is going to be any possible precipitation. My packing for the trip changes if it is going to wet and cold. I will pack either a heavy or a light rain suit. I will also choose one of my full face helmets with a clear visor. I make sure that my gloves and boots have been recently treated with either mink oil or good quality boot oil. My personal favorite is The Original Hubert’s Shoe Grease, this product has been around since 1929 and generations of bikers owe their dry hands and feet to this product. I also use Smiling Mink Original Mink Oil or what ever is available at the shoe store. Huberd’s Shoe grease can be purchased on their website. http://www.huberds.com
You can read more about shoe winterizing at http://www.huberds.com/blog/leather-hiking-boots-care/

I always pack dry socks and skivvies in zip lock bags. I also bring along one spare pair of shoes. Any other extra clothing is considered a Luxury.

The next item I check is the maintenance items on my motorcycle. In the rain all of the reaction time is decreased and stopping distance is shortened. I like to check my tires first since all air filled tires loose inflation over time. One way to minimize this is to inflate your tires with nitrogen. (Air is 78 percent nitrogen, just under 21 percent oxygen, and the rest is water vapor, CO2 and small concentrations of noble gases such as neon and argon. We can ignore the other gases. There are several compelling reasons to use pure nitrogen in tires. First is that nitrogen is less likely to migrate through tire rubber than is oxygen, which means that your tire pressures will remain more stable over the long term. Racers figured out pretty quickly that tires filled with nitrogen rather than air also exhibit less pressure change with temperature swings. That means more consistent inflation pressures during a race as the tires heat up. And when you’re tweaking a race car’s handling with half-psi changes, that’s important. With nitrogen, your tire pressures will remain more constant, saving you a small amount in fuel and tire-maintenance costs. There will be less moisture inside your tires, meaning less corrosion on your wheels.)

Under-inflated tires decrease the margin for error when riding in the rain and with that being said The Bobcat suggests checking the tires inflation and condition not only before riding in the rain but to always check when riding regularly.

I would also recommend having maintenance preformed regularly and making sure all of the axle bolts and stays are tight. Head set bolts and triple trees also need to be periodically checked. Have a professional do this work if you are not qualified. Also do a visual inspection of the fluid reservoirs, hoses, cables and most importantly the brake pads. Most monocycles brake pads wear can be determined using a good flashlight and taking some time to look. For further inspection they should be looked at every five thousand miles or when the tires are changed. This will require disassembly. There is nothing worse than engaging the brakes and having little or nothing happen. When brakes get wet they don’t usually operate efficiently till they are dried.

Check your lights, hi and low beams, blinkers and brake lights. We really want the guy behind us to see that little brake light flash when we are stopping. Let’s not talk about the alternative.

I always try to get enough sleep the night before leaving. This allows my reflexes to not be marginalized by fatigue. I also pack several sizes of zip lock bags in my pack. I use these bags to cover for example my Tom-Tom GPS mounted on my fairing. It gives some options for dry gear on the road in an emergency. I also pack a half dozen zipties/tiewraps. These are indispensable on the road. Anyone who needs to make a roadside repair can attest to that.

Next blog we will talk about riding in the rain with light, heavy and bumper to bumper traffic.

Bobcat Rates Huberd’s Shoe Grease as Five out of Five Stars!!

Stay tuned for my final installment in this blog series.

I am very pleased with this product and rate it as follows (scale of 1-5)

Cost-5
Quality-5
Appearance-5
Funtionality-5+

Over all I give this product a 5 Star Bobcat seal of approval. Next blog we will talk about more wet weather riding tips.  (Go to Part III)