Nothing beats a long road trip, and taking one on your motorcycle can be a truly exhilarating experience. Feeling the open air as you travel through different landscapes feels all the more personal when you’re on the back of your bike, instead of confined to a car. If you’re planning for your first motorcycle road trip, here are some important tips to keep in mind.
Make sure you have the right gear
A road trip is much longer than a casual ride, so it’s vital that you have the right equipment for your journey. Storage is a must on long trips, and you can maximize your storage while minimizing its impact on your bike’s weight by picking up a few saddlebags to keep your things safe. You may also want to invest in a hydration system so that you can easily access water while riding. Packing a spare pair of motorcycle gloves is also a good idea if you expect the weather to be warm or humid because long days on your motorcycle can leave the inside of your gloves wet and slippery.
Brush up on the rules of the road
Depending on what cities and states you’re riding through, it’s a good idea to look into applicable laws for motorcyclists in each region you’ll be visiting on your trip. In some areas of the country, noise restrictions and muffler requirements may necessitate an alternative travel schedule so that you can respect local noise ordinances late at night or in the early morning. While some states require you to wear a helmet, other states like Illinois and Iowa are laxer. Still, it’s definitely advised that you wear all the proper safety equipment when taking a long road trip. If you get in an accident and have to hire a personal injury lawyer, the judge will be far more likely to rule in your favor if you were being extra cautious even in states with looser laws.
Maximize your riding time
Timing is everything when you ride, and you’ll make the most of your road trip by maximizing when and how long you’re on the road. One way to divvy up your time during long rides is to avoid stopping during peak mealtimes. If you can take your lunch breaks earlier or later than noon and stop for dinner past 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., you’ll be able to minimize the time you spend at these stops. Depending on whether your trip is taking you east or west, you may also want to consider timing your meals during sunrise or sunset so that you avoid riding into the sun.
Inspect your bike each day
While many riders make sure to have a mechanic look at their motorcycle to make sure it’s fit to ride before embarking on a long road trip, it’s just as vital that you spot-check your bike each morning before riding out. Even if you’ve stopped for lunch or dinner, give your motorcycle a quick once-over to make sure that nothing has become loose or damaged during your ride. The last thing you want is to be part of an accident because of your own negligence, especially when you’re traveling out of town.
For many, nothing is more freeing than a trip on their motorcycle. When traveling long distances, you may need to consider a few factors that you don’t normally think about riding locally. No matter how long your road trip is, it’s bound to be a good one if you follow the above tips.