Prepping for a Long Motorcycle Ride
Summer motorcycling often includes long rides that include travel to different states or even across the country. These rides typically include visits to tourist sites or scenic regions of the country in order to enjoy the gifts America has to offer. They can also include stress, fear, and discomfort. That is why you must prep properly in order to have a successful long motorcycle ride.
Planning for a Long Motorcycle Ride
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning on a long motorcycle ride is neglecting to plan. For understandable reasons, motorcycle rides are about freedom. You can travel places other vehicles cannot. As such, people feel they are free on the open road. They are unencumbered by schedules or other constraints. Unfortunately, the freedom one experiences on a bike does not remove the reality of scarce resources or the need for goals.
When you begin your motorcycle plans, focus on the reason you are travelling. Are there certain sites that you need to see in order to have a satisfying trip? Do you have enough money to allow for deviations from your plan? How much time do you have to travel? All of these considerations will help you to plan.
Use a map, and devise a plan for your trip. You don’t have to strictly adhere to the plan. In fact, you should experience some of the assumed freedom many hope for on a long ride. However, be prepared to re-evaluate and change courses, so you don’t end up stressing about your final miles home. Some experienced riders recommend mapping out your mileage and adding 20% to that number to allow for deviations. You can adjust that number depending on how much you predict to wander.
Not planning for a long motorcycle trip can make a wonderful long ride seem like a disaster. It is important to arrive home happily, so your trip is not remembered as a failure.
Don’t Pack Too Much
Another huge mistake people make, especially when venturing out on their first long motorcycle ride, is packing too much. This is because too much gear makes your bike heavy, which makes it more difficult to maneuver on the road. Packing light means a more comfortable and safer ride.
There are many ways to gauge your packing. One is to look at the load capacity of your bike. Make sure to include the weight of fuel in your calculation. You may have to increase the air pressure in your tires if you are maxing out your load. Another way to gauge your packing is to prioritize your items by weighing them. This helps to give you a conscious cause-and-effect rating to each item you pack. Once you find out how much your travel books weigh, for example, you may decide to leave them at home.
Other things to consider when packing are space and organization. You have to have space to remove and store cold weather gear. You also need things to be organized, so when you get things out of your saddlebags, you don’t have a mess. It seems that no matter what you need, it’s always going to be at the bottom. Compartmentalizing your packing can help you to remove items in a quick and orderly fashion.
Also, consider things that can be replaced on the road. Clothing may be one of these items. You don’t need a vast amount of toiletries. Consider using bar soap for all of your cleaning needs.
Lastly, if you are picking up souvenirs or gifts for friends and family, send them home in the mail. This may cost a little extra, but it will be worth it to keep down the weight of your load.
You may want to pack camping gear or other items that make your ride more comfortable. Making sure you limit your other items ensures that you have room for the items that will really help you during your trip.
Know Your Riders/Passengers
If you’ve never traveled with the person whom you will be riding with, or the person who will be your passenger, go on some shorter rides first. A long ride may take weeks to accomplish, and not knowing the idiosyncrasies of the people you are riding with can result in disaster.
How can it result in disaster? People can be annoying, and motorcycle riders are no exception. Maybe you don’t appreciate their riding style. It may be too fast or too slow. Maybe the person likes to take too many breaks, which could add a significant amount of time to your trip. In a worst case scenario, you may not be compatible to ride together. You don’t want a trip to end early because of arguments or fights.
Everybody has different personalities, and some of those personalities are not meant to mix. If you want to have a good long motorcycle ride, you need to test out a few rides with the people whom you plan on riding with.
Wear Safe and Multi-weather Gear
Lastly, it is important to wear safe gear when you are venturing on a long motorcycle ride. Of course this is for safety’s sake, but it is also to improve your chances of finishing your trip. It is possible to lay down your bike and only suffer body damage. As long as your own body is also undamaged, you may be able to continue.
Multi-weather gear is also important in order to comfortably handle changes in weather. Instead of wearing a half-helmet to feel the wind in your face, invest in a modular helmet. This will give you added safety, the freedom to feel the wind, but also the comfort of a face shield should the weather get rough.
Pack for the regions you are likely to travel. You may need rain gear, a heated vest, or mesh gear depending on extreme hot or cold conditions. If you are travelling far enough North, you may experience hot and cold weather. This is where packing plays an important role again.
A Long Motorcycle Ride is Freedom…And Prepping
When you prep for a long motorcycle you get get freedom, but only if you properly plan, so you can experience that freedom. You don’t have to adhere to a strict schedule, but you should have an overall plan for your trip. This means looking at maps and finding optimum routes. Maybe you want to get there quickly, and freeways and highways sound appealing. Maybe you want to experience some scenery, and back roads are more of your milieux. Whatever the case is, you won’t be able to guarantee that you get what you want from your long ride unless you focus on your goals and plan to achieve them.
A long motorcycle ride should not be among your first motorcycle journeys. You should slowly work up to a long ride by increasing the length of each of your rides. Each rider is different, and packing preferences will differ. You are more likely to pack well with experience. Talk to other riders, and get their take on packing and planning. You’ll find that the happiest travelers are those who have a plan, but they also plan on the freedom to deviate from that plan without the stress of not having one.