Riders who have cut their teeth in the urban jungle don’t understand the fear that can grip a traveling rider when the fuel light comes on while deep in the American Southwest. I’ve seen stretches of road with no fuel for over 100 miles, and on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, I undertook a section of road that I knew was too much for either my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra or the hardy Kawasaki Ninja 600 my companion was riding on the final gravel stretch to Prudhoe Bay. In most instances, a little common sense can go a long way towards making sure you aren’t stranded by simply filling your tank when it gets less than half-full while riding remote, unfamiliar roads.
Sometimes, the adventure gets the best of our self-control, sending us off half-cocked into the wilderness – or maybe we just get lost occasionally. You can, without too much trouble, carry some extra fuel with you. On the aforementioned Alaska trip, I strapped a five gallon plastic can on the passenger seat of the Ultra. When I got back to a more civilized environment, I fueled my bike and gave the can to a local bike shop. I considered the cost of the donor can to be a worthwhile insurance payment against getting stranded.
Off-road riders who routinely travel beyond their bike’s range buy fuel cans that are made to be mounted on motorcycles. Roto Pax and other manufacturers make cans in a wide range of sizes and designs mounting solutions that can be adapted to motorcycles. Still, storing that extra gas can be dangerous if not done properly.
Recently, we discovered Magic Tank a fuel substitute that eliminates much of the danger associated with storing fuel. In fact, containers of Magic Tank can be safely shipped for home delivery by shippers like UPS and FedEx. Try that with a container of gasoline and you’ll probably get a visit from feds asking difficult questions. Magic Tank packs comes in a half-gallon container that packs small enough to fit in a saddlebag. Although we didn’t need it on our Ultimate Sports-Adventure-Touring Shootout last year, we carried it along just in case.
So, when you’re pre-planning your big tour for next year, pay attention to the distances between areas that will have gas stations. If you think you might be pushing your luck, carry a little insurance.