As I was writing a blog last night in reference to Sturgis, I realized something: motorcycle covers are just as important as any other part of the gear you pack for your trip. I know not everyone will take their covers with them on a trip especially since space is at a premium, but you should. Those that do, probably do so to keep their motorcycles clean but not for the reasons I’m thinking.
Before I went to Sturgis in 2012, I did as much research as I could. I came across a video on YouTube where a group was camping with trailers. From what seemed out of nowhere, a hail storm came in. Luckily, there was no damage to the motorcycles. But as I researched the weather in South Dakota in August, I realized hail storms were common. I kept telling my friend we had to take our motorcycle covers, and eventually I convinced him.
This past summer in Colorado, my campsite in Estes Park had limited shade, so after a couple of days, the saddlebags were stiff and couldn’t snap shut because the ends of the bags were curved up. I rubbed my bag with baby oil to soften it up and immediately put the cover on.
For our trip in 2012, every night we placed the covers on our motorcycles. We avoided hail until riding late at night through Nebraska on US-20 East, which by the way, was cool to ride at midnight. The Eagles said it best: “on a dark desolate highway, cool wind in my hair.”
In the distance, there was lightening, but we guessed the storm was at least ten minutes away. We were wrong! We were being pelted with hail. We removed our covers and it worked perfectly as protection for our bikes. Of course, we were being hit with hail, but at least our motorcycles were safe.
Even this past summer when we arrived at Spearfish Canyon, at a gas station near Cheyenne Crossing, a stranger advised me not to ride to Custer National Park since he just drove his truck through the worst hail storm he had ever experienced after living in South Dakota for more than two decades. Imagine being stuck in that storm with no place to take cover.
Since motorcycle covers do not hug the bike, it works like a trampoline. You can find motorcycle covers that fit inside a small nylon bag or at the minimum, buy the half cover which is much smaller and it is used to keep your motorcycle cool in the summer.
When riding out west to places such as Sturgis, I consider a motorcycle cover essential gear. A hail storm could destroy your motorcycle; just think of all the damage hail does every year to cars and homes. In 2015 when I attended the Sturgis 75th Anniversary rally, there was a Ford dealership that was having a “hail sale.” The trucks were dinged up. All you need is one large piece of hail coming down on your tank.
Click below my book cover to read about my cross country trip.