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Some trips require you taking more than 2 wheels so you can carry more stuff or the first part of your trip is boring flat landing. Loading & unloading your motorcycle safely can make a big difference in how enjoyable your trip turns out. Here are a few tips I hope will help you.

Whether loading in the back of a pick-up truck or onto a trailer, the first hurdle is to lower the loading surface as much as possible. You will realize your mounting surface is too high when you get the motorcycle about half way up the ramp. You safely load a motorcycle by standing on the left side of it and using the engine to do the work while you walk along side of the bike. If your loading surface is too high you will run out of leg height when the motorcycle is about half way up the ramp. If this happens, back off and find another location which puts the rear of the pick-up or trailer lower to the ground. This can be accomplished by putting the rear wheels of the truck or trailer in a gutter or ditch. Do not disconnect the trailer from your vehicle. The weight of the motorcycle will cause the tongue of the trailer to fly up and forward and could damage the rear of your towing vehicle. The rear of the truck or trailer should be low enough so you can easily step from the ground onto the truck or trailer while still guiding the motorcycle.

Have a second person stand on the right side of the motorcycle and walk along with you having their hands in contact with the motorcycle. This will give you added support should the motorcycle begin to lean to the right. (This will happen!) Advise the helper to only supply right lean support but not to help you guide the motorcycle. The tendency of the helper would be to try to keep the motorcycle straight up which would be fighting against you as you must keep the motorcycle leaned a little to the left as you guide it. Advise them that if you need them to push or pull the motorcycle to one side or the other you will verbally advise them so you will be coordinating your efforts.

On a trailer with a loading ramp such as a lawn equipment trailer, do not try to ride your motorcycle up the loading ramp. The extra weight of your body can cause the motorcycle to bottom out when the motorcycle is half way between the loading ramp and the bed of the trailer. At that point, you will be out of legs to help you support the motorcycle should it begin to lean over. If you ride it into the back of a pick-up truck, you risk not being able to stop and will slam into the back of the cab. (Especially if the bed is damp or wet.)

Have a wheel chock waiting to receive the front wheel. If you do not have a wheel chock permanently mounted to your loading surface, there is an easy alternative method of mounting a wheel chock. Get a piece of 4’X8’X3/4 inch thick exterior plywood and cut the width so it fits touching the sides of you loading surface. Permanently mount the wheel chock to the board. After you strap down the motorcycle, the board will not move if it is trapped between the front of your mounting surface and both sides.

The proper way to strap down your motorcycle will be to put one strap around the front wheel fastening it to the wheel chock. 4 more straps on each corner of the bike preferably at 45 degree angles all pulling forward is the best method. (If 45 degrees is not possible do the best you can.) Make sure the strength of the straps is adequate. Most straps have listed on the package how many pounds the strap will hold. Make sure each strap can hold the weight of your motorcycle. Ratchet down the straps as tight as possible with the side stand of the motorcycle up.

Make sure when you unload you have your helper on the right side of the motorcycle again. Keep your hand on the front brake and use it accordingly as you slowly back down the mounting ramp. If you are having a hard time reaching the front brake you can also put the bike in first gear and pull in the clutch to back up. Partially engage the clutch to slow the bike down. (Engine is off.) I hope these tips will help you have a enjoyable and safe trip.

Transport and ride safe, Dominick

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