motorcycles, travel, friendship, respect… I may drift off into WTF-land at times so hang in there.

It’s Only Flat On The Bottom.


A few weeks ago I was riding with one of my mates when he got a puncture. We were miles from anywhere and mobile phone coverage was patchy at best. So we were kinda stuck.

Let me spear off on a tangent for a sec.

Its common over here in the land of OZ to get a head nod or tilt when approaching another rider, or a thumbs up to someone on the side of the road.

The head nod is the Aussie version of the low wave you often see in photos from North America. You miss these kind of gestures here in the land of Oz because we ride on the wrong side of the road, unlike some other countries where you ride on the right side.

The biker wave

The biker wave

We tend to do the head nod or tilt instead, or sometimes you might see a raised finger (no, not the bird) off the throttle… but this is rare, and is often missed.

Thumbs up to someone on the side of the road is a question. “Are you OK?”

Thumbs up in return and all’s good, thumbs down or a cut throat gesture means you need help.

Anyway, there we were camped on the side of the road contemplating our navels, trying to figure out what to do next, when another group of riders went past. The lead rider gave the thumbs up (as you do), to which we responded with the cut throat..

The group pulled up and asked what the problem was. No sooner had my mate explained that he had picked up a screw, a repair kit was produced and within about 15 minutes my mate and I were back on the road.

There’s an example of the Biker Code at work right there.

When I got home I did some investigating, released the moths from my wallet, and invested in a tyre repair kit and small air compressor. Both items come in their own carry pouches, are under 1/2kg (1lb) each and take up very little space in a saddle or tank bag.

Stop And Go Pocket Tyre Plugger

Stop And Go Pocket Tyre Plugger

I opted for the Stop & Go Pocket Tire Plugger (<— watch the video) because it requires no adhesive. My reasoning here is that when karma does catch up with me, I won't get caught out with adhesive that has gone off. Instead the Stop and Go kit uses mushroom-shaped plugs. The kit comes complete with:

  • Nozzle
  • Tire Plugging Device
  • Probe Tool
  • Reamer/Rasp Tool
  • Hex Wrench
  • (15) Mushroom Plugs
  • Retractable Razor Knife
  • Laminated Instructions
  • 190mm x 90mm x 25mm Vinyl Zippered Pouch (7.5″ x 3.5″ x 1″)
  • Weighs: 340 grams (12 oz).
  • Warning card when used with radial tyres.

Note that this repair kit is temporary and is only meant to get you home where you can get a more permanent plug.

Tomcat Mini Air Compressor

Tomcat Mini Air Compressor

You’ll notice that the kit does not come with any CO2 canisters, I bought a small compressor for this instead. I considered that 3 or 4 canisters is about the same size as the compressor and need to be replace after use.

What if I forget to replace a used canister?

So I bought a Tomcat Mini Air Compressor:

  • 12V operation
  • Built in LED light
  • Built in gauge 0-120 psi.
  • 10cm (4″) tire valve hose
  • 167cm (65″) power cord fits your battery tender wire
  • 30cm (12″) extension alligator clips
  • 91cm (36″) extension lighter adapter
  • Sports needle adapter
  • Inflatable adapter
  • Complete instructions
  • Rugged zippered carry case measures 10.2cm x 5.1cm x 15.2cm (4″ x 2 x 6″)
  • Weight: 415 grams (15 oz).

At least now if I get stranded with a puncture, I’ll have some hope of at least getting to the next town or even home. My investment could save me hundreds in tow fees.

Now, in all of my (murmur murmur) years of riding, I’ve never got a flat. There I’ve said it, now watch karma come bite me in the arse.



7 responses

  1. Ya know I always wondered why they did the double low wave thing in the States and never considered the side of the road thing. Derp.
    I’ve got an emergency kit under my seat, hope I never have to use it either!


    May 21, 2014 at 7:49 AM

  2. I’ve often wondered if and how bikers “wave” in countries like the UK and Australia. Now I know! We do the head tilt sometimes as well, especially if riding the clutch in slow-moving downtown traffic. I always carry an air compressor and plug kit as well if I’m headed any more than 50km or so from the house, it’s peace of mind for sure.


    May 21, 2014 at 10:44 PM

  3. Lets hope that repair kit acts as a talisman to ward of evil flats and you never need to use it.
    Hubby carries a plug kit and compressor in his saddlebags too, so far we haven’t had to use it. Fingers crossed.
    Most riders will wave here in Oregon, unless they are on a Harley and their friends might see them. The lone riders usually wave. When you see the head tilt or nod is when stopped in town with the clutch lever pulled in or in a corner when you can’t take your hand off the handlebar.


    May 22, 2014 at 1:01 AM

  4. LB

    Huh. I’ve not carried a plug kit / compressor … and been lucky so far. Food for thought. Thanks!
    As far as the wave … I nod, I lift a couple fingers, I low wave, I smile – different times, different things … but sometimes when the road is full of bikes, I don’t do anything. I’d be waving, nodding, and smiling all the time instead of keeping my hands on the grips 🙂


    May 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    • I’m the same. Unless traffic is light or I’m stopped I don’t nod in the city. Open roads are different and I always nod…

      Unless there’s a group of bikes coming my way… then I only nod to the first and maybe somewhere near the back of the pack. I don’t want to look like one of those nodding figures you used to see on car dash boards 🙂


      May 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM

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