How to Plan & Prepare for a Long Distance Motorcycle Trip
Road trips are an American tradition, and with more than 2 million miles of paved roads in the United States, it’s not hard to understand why. With plenty of wide-open spaces, a wide variety of landscapes and scenery, and the potential for millions of miles between any two points, the Great American Road Trip is built into our cultural DNA, feeding into our love for freedom and individuality. And this appeal is never more potent than when the trip is on a motorcycle.
The freedom and openness that one experiences during an automobile road trip is nothing compared to a long-distance motorcycle trip or motorcycle tour. But like anything else worth doing, a long-distance motorcycle trip is something that needs to be done right, and that means putting in the necessary effort for planning and preparation.
If you’re thinking about taking a long-distance motorcycle trip or tour, congratulations! You’ve got an exciting road ahead. Get started with planning and preparation by reading the guide from the team at Gravitate Jeans below.
Getting Started: Planning Your Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip
Before you hop on your bike or even start packing your saddlebags, you need to figure out a few details. Such as: When will you be leaving? Where will you be leaving from? Where do you plan to stay? Where do you plan to stop? Will you be riding alone, or with friends? When do you have to be back? What’s your budget?
These kinds of considerations might seem overly-fussy from the outset, but their essential you can make the most out of your trip with the time and resources you have. And it doesn’t have to be a chore – dusting off an old road atlas or motorcycle tour guidebooks can be one of the most exciting parts of the journey (apart from actually taking it).
The details of your trip will depend not just on practical concerns like how much vacation time you’ve got at work and how many night you can afford to stay in a campground or motel, but what you’re hoping to get out of it. Trying to see as many U.S. States as possible? You’ll probably want to stick to the Eisenhower Interstates. Want to take your time and chew on the scenery? Check out some scenic route guidebooks and take it from there. Ultimately, though, your trip is up to you and your riding partners if you have any. Plan the one you’ve always wanted to take.
Getting Prepared for Your Trip
Once you know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and when, it’s time to take care of the due diligence required to make sure your long-distance motorcycle ride is as safe and comfortable as possible.
Making Sure You Have the Right Bike
Perhaps most important is making sure you have the right motorcycle for your trip. Although not strictly necessary, touring motorcycles are favored by many who undertake long-distance tours or other trips, simply because they’re designed and built with long hauls in mind.
Compared with regular bikes, touring motorcycles often feature greater wind protection, larger fuel tanks, more relaxed seating, and additional space for storing luggage and supplies. The BMW K1200LT and Harley-Davidson Road Glide are examples of modern touring motorcycles.
But more crucial than the style or size of the motorcycle you’ll be riding is that it’s in good shape. A long-distance trip requires a bike that’s in good working condition and won’t threaten to leave you stranded on the side of the road somewhere due to engine problems or other mechanical failure. If you’re no expert, take your bike to a mechanic you trust. Let them know you’re plans, and ask them to make sure your motorcycle is up to the task.
Making Sure You Have the Right Gear & Supplies
Once your trip is planned and your motorcycle is in good working order, it’s time to make sure you’ve got the right gear. While your checklist will always include gear like a good helmet, comfortable boots, a toolkit for surprise repairs, spare clothes, roadmaps, and other necessities, other supplies may be required based on the details of your trip. Some things to consider:
- Will you be riding alone? Consider having a satellite phone on-hand in case you have an emergency in an area with no cell reception. Satellite phones also sometimes offer geo-tracking for emergency situations.
- Will you be staying in hotels or camping? If the latter, make sure to have all the camping gear you need on-hand.
- How long will you plan to travel each day? Consider having plenty of food and hydrating liquids on-hand if you’ve got too much ground to cover to stop for lunch or dinner.
- What time of year will you be riding in? In what part of the country? Make sure to have weather appropriate gear (neck wraps and sunscreen for summer; gloves, long underwear, heavy outerwear in winter).
Related post: 7 Awesome Motorcycle Accessories you Need
Other Tips for Long-Distance Motorcycle Rides
In addition to the advice above, take the following tips into consideration:
- Make note of your motorcycles load limit and take care not to exceed it. You should be able to find this in your bike’s owner’s manual.
- If you’re crossing national borders, make sure your Passport is up-to-date and on-hand.
- Be aware of where you can get gas, and keep an eye on your fuel levels. Nothing is worse than running out of gas!
- They don’t quite fit with the badass biker stereotype, but consider wearing earplugs on your ride. Riding on the highway is loud. Riding on the highway for a long time is loud, for a long time. That could mean permanent hearing damage if you’re not careful. As an added bonus, wearing earplugs could cut some of the wind and helmet white noise to let you better hear you bike and its engine.
- Eat light, at least during the day. You don’t want to be on the road bloated or groggy because you decided to go with the lumberjack slam for breakfast. And stay hydrated!
- Rest when you need to. There’s nothing wrong with losing some time to a nap, especially when the alternative could be losing your trip to a fatigue-induced accident.
- If you’ve got a lot of luggage, bring extra ties and bungees to keep it all together. Odds are you’ll need them.
- Keep a first aid kit handy for minor scrapes and injuries.
Ride Comfortable with Gravitate Jeans
Whether you’re taking a long trip or a spin around the block, nothing is more comfortable while riding than a pair of Gravitate Jeans! Made with quality denim and featuring a Patented Comfort Panel without center seams, Gravitate Jeans stretch where you need them to, and don’t bunch up or ride your inner legs like normal jeans do. With lines available in men’s, women’s, and women’s plus-sized cuts, there are Gravitate Jeans for every rider.