If you’re planning a staycation this year then there’s no better way to explore than by motorcycle. You can take on the open road solo or with friends or family, and discover hidden gems you never knew existed. Embarking on an adventure by bike is not without risk, however, so you need to be prepared. Do your research beforehand and have contingency plans in place to change the route if necessary. Don’t skimp on safety gear either, as long-haul riding can take its toll more than hopping around the city. If you’re organized, a motorcycle road trip can be an unforgettable experience. Here are eight useful tips to get you started on your preparations.
Know your ride
There are different types of motorcycles that are designed for various uses. Adventure biking is one of the best hobbies for adrenaline junkies, and they might benefit from an off-road or dual sport. If you’re relatively inexperienced with long-distance riding, you might want to opt for something with a little less power that’s easier to control. Standard, cruiser, or touring bikes are all suitable for road trips for beginners and experienced users. The most important thing is to be comfortable on the bike and familiar with its capacity and all controls. The route you choose needs to be appropriate for the type of bike you have as well.
Wear the right gear
Safety gear is paramount whether you’re riding at sensible speeds around the city or tearing down the highway. For a longer journey, one thing that’s especially important is ear protection. Busy highways are noisy so consider earplugs, for example. You also need to wear high quality gloves, a full-face helmet, and protective clothing as standard. If you’re going off-road get knee and elbow pads for extra protection. Ensure your gear is snugly fitted but also comfortable. You’re going to be wearing it for long periods of time.
Consider the season
Consider the season when choosing your route and destination. There might be more to see at different times of the year. If you’re a nature lover, find out which flora and fauna are in bloom and if there are any national parks you can visit on the way. You can set off on a motorcycle road trip and any time of year as long as you are prepared. Check out some of the best routes during winter, for example. You could save money on accommodation and other activities if you choose to go off-season. It’s always a good idea to check in advance for availability.
Pack for adverse weather conditions
If it’s likely you’ll encounter some less convenient weather conditions, pack emergency gear. You should also take tools and a repair kit with you. Riding a bike, you’re much more exposed to the elements than driving. Wear layers and prepare for all possible scenarios. Here is a packing checklist to help you. It’s advisable to keep your phone or GPS device charged. Check it regularly for weather and traffic updates. This way you’ll know what to expect.
Have a contingency plan
If the weather or traffic do affect your route then you should have a contingency plan in place. Research alternative routes to arrive at your destination. Your GPS will be very helpful here so keep your devices charged. You can even invest in a helmet with Bluetooth functions to guide you. These are an innovation in motorcycle technology and you can use them to communicate with your fellow riders as well. If you buy a new helmet, especially one with advanced features, practice using it before you hit the road. This way you’ll be more familiar with it.
Take regular breaks
Riding a motorcycle can be more tiring than driving. It’s essential to take breaks. You should stop to rest, eat, and rehydrate, but how often to take breaks depends on you. If you’re feeling tired, park at the next rest stop and stretch your legs. Get off the bike and walk around when you take breaks, rather than just taking a quick pit stop. A fifteen-minute stretch out will do you the world of good and will help to combat muscle aches and saddles sores. Carry some emergency snacks and water with you so you can pull over if you need to. Energy bars are pretty convenient, for example.
Plan your stops
You should plan your stops ahead of time, including overnight stays and quick pit stops. There are plenty of road trip apps that can let you know where the nearest rest stops are and other services. It’s a good idea to have a schedule in mind, however. Plan where you will stop for lunch, to refill, to use the bathroom, and any accommodation. Otherwise, you may get uncomfortable on the road for long stretches of time. If you’re traveling during a busy season, book accommodation in advance. You don’t want to risk not having anywhere to stop overnight after a long ride.
Take it easy
Whereas having an itinerary is important, you don’t need to go overboard. Don’t try to cram in too many stops and activities and simply enjoy the open road. You’ll appreciate it more if you’re not in a rush and you can get to know each destination better on the way. Keep your spirits and energy levels high with frequent breaks to take in the views. There’s no point getting unnecessarily stressed or frustrated on your trip. Long-distance adventure riding is all about freedom. Try to soak up every moment as you’ll be making memories you’ll cherish forever.
One final thing to remember is to ensure you get your bike fully inspected before you go. Take it to a local mechanic for a checkup. Ask them for advice on how to prepare an emergency road kit and any other tips for long-distance riding. As long as you’re organized, you can relax and enjoy your motorcycle road trip safely. It’s a fantastic way to discover new destinations and experience stunning landscapes on the way.