By: KGD Law
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Long-Distance Riding 103
This is the final part of our series on riding long distances. We’ve already discussed in the previous parts how to prepare your bike and yourself for a long journey. Now that you are prepared, it is time for your big trip. Of course, you have to pack for your journey, but what should you bring? How can you keep yourself safe on the road? This all depends on the type of trip you are taking and where you are going. However, there are some standard things you should remember when hitting the road on a long-distance journey. Read on for some tips on how to be prepare for anything the open road throws at you.
What to Pack
Remember that you have to carry everything with you on your bike. So even though you want to be prepared for all possible outcomes, try not to overpack. The more weight you add to your bike, the less efficient your mileage will be and the heavier your bike will handle. However, there are some necessities for a longer trip that you should always make room for.
- ATGATT: Motorcycle enthusiasts have a saying regarding the gear you should wear on your person for a ride – all the gear, all the time (or ATGATT). You could be riding through a range of climates, weather, and times of day, so you should layer properly and be prepared to change when needed. Invest in a set or two of good base layers for under your gear to help you adjust to rapid temperature changes. Synthetics are the best choice, as they wick away sweat and are lighter than cotton.
- Rain Gear: This is one thing that it is always better to have than not. If you get stuck in a downpour without it, you will regret it, especially if you packed light and do not have many options for a change of outfit.
- Personal Items and ID: Have your wallet and cellphone on your person or easily accessible on your bike from your riding position. You should also try to keep a small amount of cash with you for tolls or cash-only purchases. And of course, keep your license, registration, and insurance information handy and safe from loss or damage, in case you get pulled over or get into an accident.
- Eyewear: Since you may be travelling through different times of day, you may consider bringing two different visors or goggles, a dark, tinted one for bright sun and a clear one for night. If you wear corrective eyewear for riding, consider carrying a spare pair of contacts or glasses with you.
- Sunscreen: Being out in the elements all day can spell sunburn. Apply and pack sunscreen for your journey, as well as some lip balm with SPF. This can also help with windburn.
- Earplugs: During a shorter commute, noise from your ride may not bother you. But if you are riding for hours on end, earplugs can help reduce wind noise and helmet static and can protect your hearing and prevent headaches.
- Toiletries: Even if you don’t plan to stay somewhere overnight or you are counting on supplies at where you are staying, it is a good idea to carry some toiletries and emergency items, just in case your ride doesn’t go according to plan. In addition to soap, toothbrush and paste, deodorant, and feminine sanitary items, pack things like a first aid kit, pain and allergy medications, and bug repellent.
- Tools: Carry tools for emergencies and bike maintenance. Make sure your kit includes a crescent wrench, pliers, socket set, flashlight, screwdriver, Allen wrenches, bungee cords, a tire repair kit, and a set of jumper cables. Spare parts, like wire, cable ties, replacement bulbs, duct tape, cotter pins, and fuses, also belong in your kit.
- Fuel: Extra fuel can be a lifesaver if you are riding in remote areas where gas stations are infrequent.
- Hydration Pack: A water bottle will do the trick, but a hydration pack is more convenient and doesn’t require you to take your hands off the bike or eyes off the road to drink.
- Snacks: You may have a long way to ride between meals. Pack some nutrient-dense snacks to keep your energy levels up.
- Camping Equipment: If there is any chance you could end up camping on your journey, pack the essentials, such as a light source, batteries, fire starter, toilet paper, sleeping bag and pad, tent, small camp stove, eating utensils, and a knife.
Last but not least, it is important that you stay safe out there and keep your wits about you. Too many mistakes or lack of attention can quickly turn a great trip with fond memories into a headache. Keep these safety tips in mind.
- Stay Well-Rested: Get proper sleep each night. Caffeine is not a good substitute for actual rest. If you are tired, pull over.
- Eat Well: Eat a solid, balanced meal before and after your ride. Eat snacks and hydrate frequently throughout the day. A breakfast high in protein and fiber will give you long-lasting energy without a crash to help you stay alert and motivated during the day.
- Get an Early Start: Leave yourself plenty of time to coverage you planned mileage for the day. An added benefit of starting early is you can beat heavy morning traffic and the heat of midday.
- Take Frequent Breaks: Much like at work, your brain will function better if you take breaks every hour. Try to stop regularly to stretch, eat, or rehydrate. This is also a good opportunity to take in the scenery and enjoy some sights on your trip. Move your body in ways that will counteract all the sitting and will energize you.
- Be Flexible: When you are riding in an unfamiliar place, you can’t plan for everything. Traffic and weather can change, so have a contingency plan if you have to break your schedule.
For Your Bike
- Check Your Fluids: Your bike needs to stay hydrated too! When you stop for breaks, check your oil and fuel levels and make sure there are no leaks.
- Bring a Spare Key: The worst time to lose your keys is on a long trip, so always bring an extra set. Store it in a secure location so no one can steal it.
- Inspect You Bike Each Morning: Before you set out, check your tires, controls, electrics and lights, fluids, chassis, and stands and make repairs as necessary.
- Know Your Fuel Range: Even if your map shows you will be riding through a town, don’t assume it has gas. Be aware of how many miles you can ride on one tank of gas and how to calculate your miles per gallon. You don’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere without cell service
This is the end of our long-distance riding series. Remember that you can get into an accident anytime and anywhere. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident here in Florida and want to find out if you entitled to compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz for a no-obligation initial consultation. You will get to speak directly to a real attorney who will understand and explain the intricacies of your individual case.