Again I am going on an extended trip. Most of the time I travel alone, just my bike, tent and lot’s of cash.
This Silk Road Trip will be a trip with luxury since we are staying in Hotels. I don’t have to worry about food since we get at least breakfast each day. Most of the time even dinner. Besides that I have a huge layer of fat saved around my midriff so I will be ok for weeks to come.
From experience I will prep my ‘new’ bike the way I like it. For this trip I bought a used BMW 2002 GSA bike and it needs tweaking. I like wide foot pegs, just in case I have to stand on the bike for some hours. I like a louder horn; the factory installed horn is not loud enough. The previous owner had a special seat installed. I am not sure if I will like this seat, I might have to put the stock seat back since from experience I like that seat. Since I am using a different GPS then the previous owner I will need a new holder.
I will install improved Ohlins shocks set at 250 KG and hope that this is now the right setting. (I blew one set of rear shocks rated at 200 KG in Siberia). I will also remove the KAT just in case the gasoline we will find along the road is inferior. I believe I have to install Head Light Covers, Sump Guard, Oil Cooler guard, etc. Small things that could lead to real trouble along the way and preventions are better then repair.
I have discussions with myself as to what spare parts to bring. When I was in Daytona this early March I asked all the Adventure riders there as to what could possibly break or go wrong on a BWM GSA such as mine. I broke down with a real wheel bearing failure near Daytona Beach and had lots of time to talk to folks. Not that I panicked but why not ask others and rely on their experiences. I sure learned a lot from Mike Paull and Helge Pedersen during our last trip but others have other experiences, too. Besides the usual stuff like fuses, tire repair kits and spare tire tubes I will take along some ball bearings that will be hard to get in Uzbekistan. In addition I will carry small parts like “O” rings, clips, timing belt and spokes. I know for sure that if I take them I will not use them. I believe it’s called Murphy’s Law. The stuff you have is not what you need; it’s the other stuff that will break. My discussions with myself continue daily, Helge taught me not to over pack and I am working on finding the perfect balance of what to bring and what to leave behind.
Clothing is simple, bring just a few things. I usually think of the # 3. Take three shirts, three pants, three pairs of socks and so on. One set to wear, one to clean and one as spare. I will not be a fashion plate. Ralph Lauren will have to look away when he sees me.
If I forget misc. stuff, sunglasses, cameras, straps and so on I can over come. Still I am thinking, thinking, thinking. Experience helps in this regard. We all have likes and dislikes, take gloves for example.
Many good gloves out there but I will stick to the BMW GS gloves, I like them the best and will carry a spare set, just in case I lose the ones I ride with.
Little things, small details, bolts, nuts, clips! Way too many to list but they could be important.
Above all for this trip and for any trip, short trip or long trip I must pack the right ATTITUDE.
The mental preparation is of the outmost importance.
Should I forget something, so be it. I need to adjust to the situation.
Should my bike fail I have to fix it.
Should I fall and get hurt, I need to heal and get over it.
Should anything happen on the way I need to carry a good ATTITUDE.
This is something that MUST be packed, must be in everybody’s luggage. The right attitude makes all the difference in the world. Panic is ok, but get over it and unpack the right attitude.
Get along with the folks you ride with. Look at the people you will meet and even if they are so different, give them respect and unpack some of your correct attitude.
Some call it respect for others but I call it more than that. My mind set must be set so that I look at others with an open mind and give them lee-way, give them room for their idiosyncrasies. It’s my ATTITUDE that will make all the difference for a good trip and I must not forget to pack that.