Motorcycle Camping with Sleep Apnea

In preparation for a motorcycle camping trip, I had some new considerations to accommodate my recent diagnosis of Sleep Apnea. 

It had been awhile since I last went backpacking and a thorough inventory of my equipment was a must.  Proper storage, good equipment and care has kept my equipment in nice condition over the past 8 years. Digging through my camping storage bin revealed most all the equipment I would need. Much of what I found in that bin will cover most of my needs however, being recently diagnosed with Sleep Apnea has put some constraints on the sleeping freedom I had taken for granted.

Every night since my Sleep Apnea diagnosis I have had a ResMed S9 Auto CPAP machine clung to my face like an alien face hugger from the movie Alien. With a sleep dependency as my top concern, finding an alternative power source that could run my CPAP machine while I slept at night was my top priority. 

While my riding group were still in the trip planning phase, I stopped into my local medical supplier to acquire a power adapter and battery that would give me some independence from the AC power outlet I'm currently chained to. Unfortunately, the medical supplier had only the necessary attachments to run my CPAP machine from a 12-volt power source but not a 12v battery.

The accessories I was given had some large alligator clips to attach to the terminals on a 12 or 24-volt battery. On the other end of the clips was a car lighter receptacle. The power supply provided for the CPAP machine had a male car socket that attached to the receptacle leading from the battery. My next problem was finding a battery that was light enough to carry on the motorcycle and backpacking, durable, and could power a the machine for a a minimum of 8 hours.

Several options came to mind ranging from RC battery packs, car batteries, even power wheel batteries. After doing a bit of research I decided the best option would be an Absorption Glass Mat battery. An AGM would provide the benefits of a deep cycle battery while keeping the battery light and leak free.

MagnaPower AGM Battery with ResMed Power Supply
Confident that the CPAP would run for the amount of time I needed it to, I charged the MagnaPower battery using a automobile battery charger and began packing the bike for the trip.

Stopping into the local auto part store, I found was a small 12-volt ATV battery with 180 cold cranking amps which would provide a 10amp hour run time. Produced by MagnaPower. Sealed and rugged, these batteries can take a beating and can out perform a deep cycle battery on discharge and charging. The price of the battery was around $75.

Eager as I am to try new things, I attached the accessories to the battery and ran my CPAP machine for 1 night at home. When I woke the next morning the machine was still running. The battery came pre-charged with a voltage reading of 12.45v. After running the CPAP for 7 hours from the better the voltage indicated 11.45v. Given that the machine was still running I would presume that at a certain voltage the power supply will cut off.

Unpacking and assembling the CPAP machine was a breeze. At night I protected the battery leads, using the box, just in case I kicked the battery over in my sleep. The machine ran a full 6-8 hours and in the morning I was able to charge my phone from it as well. 

More recently I've been doing research on this particular battery and the power consumption of the CPAP machine. ResMed provides a nice guide that explores each model, the amp draw at different power settings and a recommendation for the size of battery. According to the chart I would need to use a 12 amp hours per  8 hours of continuous power and ruining a treatment pressure of 10 on my ResMed S9 Auto CPAP. Here is a link to ResMed's Battery Guide

Though this battery worked for a single night, a daily charging solution will need to be considered. I will be looking into a solar charging option that will also work as a tender for the battery. The solar charging option will give me the ability to charge during the day with out the need to tap into my alternator and risk over taxing it. Overall though, I would recommend purchasing a larger battery that at minimum would last 2 days or if weight isn't a concern, a more traditional sized battery.


Riding to Work: A look at my daily carry

Being a gear, gadget, and a lots of stuff kind of guy I carry a lot of "essentials" with me from day to day.

Trying to keep my riding items to a minimum, I left the house today with what I considered to be necessary for the day. Those items break up into 3 categories: cold weather riding gear, clothing/accessories, and work related items. Here is the basic break down.

Cold Weather Riding Gear

  • Boots
  • Smartwool Socks
  • Riding pants with thermal liner
  • Wicking Shirt
  • Wicking long sleeve base layer
  • Riding jacket with thermal liner
  • Balaclava
  • Ear plugs
  • Heated riding gloves
  • Helmet
  • Sena SMH-10


  • Shoes
  • Jeans
  • Shirt
  • Jacket
  • Hair gel 
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Charging cable
  • Large duffle bag

Work Items

  • Misc Papers
  • Notebook
Items that always stay on the bike include, disc lock, cable lock, tools, rain gear, extra ear plugs, and rain covers for all soft bags.

I park my bike in a large public lot outside my work. Being that I only have soft bags, it is impossible for me to properly secure something on the bike. As a result I carry almost all of my items into work. Slipping into a bathroom stall, a lackluster superman interpretation, I change and pack all my items into two bags. A large duffle and my tank bag. The duffle contains my boots, jacket, and helmet. My tank bag holds my pants and other smaller gear items.

Though not ideal, this method has so far been the most compact way to  carry my gear into work. I'm hoping that some hard cases will remedy this situation but for now I'll make due.

If anyone has another suggestion please feel free to leave a comment below.


Yamaha Seca II - Clutch Cover Oil Leak

Spontaneously during a long trip this summer my 1993 Yamaha Seca II developed an oil leak. From what I could tell, the leak was coming from the right side of the motor concentrating itself on the oil pan. From what I could tell, the oil leak would only appear when the motor was running and under pressure.

Along with the oil pan, oil spray had covered the bottom of the swing arm, and exhaust. Curiously the leak would stop when the engine cooled down.

Justifying to myself that it was time for an oil change anyway, I went ahead and pulled the oil pan.

It didn't take long to remove the exhaust and the oil pan bolts however, once I had gotten the pan free I noticed that the paper gasket had delightfully mated itself to both the pan and motor. After more than an hour of scrapping and an entire box of razor blades, I had the pan and the motor prepped for the new gasket. The installation was event free although I did notice that I could not find a tightening pattern for the oil pan bolts in the shop manual.

A quick ride around the block revealed that I did not solve the oil leak. I started questioning everything. Was the pan warped? The crankcase breather clogged? Oil cap loose? I began combing over the bike. I removed the gas tank and checked the breathers and upper portion of the motor. From what I could tell, the leak was low. None of these questions would be answered until I began a new project, the exhaust.

As part of my maintenance when changing the oil and pan gasket I decided I would repack the Yoshimura 4-1 exhaust. Trying to repack the exhaust was nightmare. After several attempts to remove the muffler I enlisted some extra man power and an assortment of destruction ensuing tools such as, a large vise, chisels, rubber mallets, and a blow torch. When I was left with a charred contorted Yoshimura I came to the comforting conclusion that this pipe was better suited for the trash.

The day I dumped that pipe I ordered a set of Delkevic 450mm Oval Silencers (review to come). During the installation the new exhaust I noticed a mark on the side clutch cover. After the installation I fired the bike up and looked over the exhaust. It was then that I spotted the leak. The leak had been coming from a small section of the clutch cover, running down the lower side of the motor and spreading across the oil pan gasket. I quickly ordered a gasket from my local Yamaha.

When I received the new gasket I began the unbolting process. With two bolts successfully removed the third bold sheared completely off. Wonderful. The other bolts came out without an issue. As I searched around the garage for my extractors, I reached for a small pair of vise grips. The last thing I wanted to do was to mash what was left of the bolt ruining any purchase I would have with the extractors. But I took a chance. The vise grips grabbed the bolt nicely and I was able to back the broken bolt out. I now settled in with a fresh box of razor blades and began scrapping.

Once I had the surfaces clean I reinstalled the clutch cover with a new gasket and a replacement bolt for the deserter. During the reassembly, I tried to remember the general position of the clutch cable and hoped for the best.

The Yamaha fired up with no problem. I let it run for a good while. No leak. Perfect! My next thought was to test the clutch. As soon as I pulled the clutch in and put the bike in gear the motor died. Crap. Maybe I didn't get the clutch cable set right?

After that I called it quits. Also I promised to take my wife out to dinner.

While in the shower, of course, I nearly laughed myself stupid. A Yamaha Seca has a kickstand safety switch. A short time later I fired up the Yamaha, properly put the bike in gear, looked at my unenthusiastic wife, and let the clutch out with a satisfying feel.

Since that time I've put several leak free rides in on the Yamaha. I can now move on to the next project, adding side case mounting brackets.