Breaking down/being stuck on the side of the road is a reality we all face in our cars and motorcycles at one point or another. If you have yet to experience it, consider yourself lucky. I’ve had a couple a flats on long road trips and they were eye opening experiences on what you need to prepare yourself for such a day.
My most memorable disablement was a flat involving one of the tubed tires of my 2006 Harley Davidson Sportster. This happened during a long road trip into the Davis mountains of Texas. We were way out in the sticks and I was accompanied by three other bikes. All who had tubeless tires. As I came to a stop, my riding buddies accessed the situation and whipped out their plug kits. Upon a closer look, the tire was not repairable with a plug kit and we moved on to fill the flat tire with slime and aired the tire a few times to get to the next stop. Luckily, I hobbled to a state park and found out that I had severed the nozzle from the tube and the tire was no longer holding air. So I pulled out my handy mobile phone to call my motorcycle insurance roadside assistance. They called tow companies within a 100 mile radius and due to my remote location, none wanted to go fetch me and my bike that evening. I left the Harley and hitched a ride with one of buddies to get to our home base in a near by town to figure out a plan B.
I was dumbfounded that my trusty roadside assistance was not very helpful. Next day, We found a local with a motorcycle trailer that was able to fetch my Harley (dusted with morning snow) and he connected us with another local that was able to replace the tube.
Moral of the story is that no matter how good you believe your roadside assistance service is, always be prepared to do a little work yourself (plug kit and air pump) or seek the help of a local and gladly pay for their services out of pocket. I was able to get reimbursed from my insurance for my cost but what an experience!
If you plan to tour on a bike that has tubes, learn how to repair it yourself. We recently took a trip to the Ozarks and one of our buddies was riding his trusty WR250. He found himself needing to replace his rear tire, instead of holding the ride, he ordered the tire to be shipped to our hotel later in the ride and he did it himself. Wow!