Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Motorcycle-Enforced Minimalism

In my recent musings on the subject of motorcycle luggage, I think I mentioned my main annoyance with the various options available is the hassle of carrying stuff around. Having my hands full with a helmet, gloves and a bag of some sort drives me nuts. As such, I've got a very minimal list of things I bring with me, and every single one of those items has been closely examined. Each item has to prove its utility, or it's getting left in the garage.

My motorcycling habit forces me to consider what is essential, and what is superfluous. I think it's great.

Back in those dark days before I owned a motorcycle, I made do with the Rat Buick. It was a great car - you know, for a car - and it had an absolutely enormous trunk. You know those mob movies where they've got three bodies and a 55 gallon drum of lye in the trunk? That's how big the trunk of the Buick was.

It rapidly became my rolling storage solution. That might have been a good thing if all my trunk space were filled with items of utility. But, really, it was a bunch of stuff I meant to bring to Goodwill and various trash I'd been too lazy to throw away.

I don't have anything I've been too lazy to get rid of with me when I ride the Triumph.

I'm planning to do some motorcycle camping this summer, with at least one extended trip to Colorado, as well as some backpacking (hopefully)*. As such, I've been researching what is needed and what is extra weight, and the best way to haul the gear I need around on the Triumph. What I've discovered is that what one needs, and what one wants is the difference between 30 pounds of gear and 50 pounds.

The thought of schlepping an extra twenty pounds around is enough to make me consider every item and its proper stowage twice. I'd rather carry the stuff I know I need, and maybe one or two luxury (sanity) items than a bunch of crap I think I might want. And riding to work every day will make items with no purpose immediately apparent.

*I know a couple of you are backpackers. Do any of you use your motorcycle to go backpacking? If so, how do you manage your pack on the bike?