If you’ve never done a road trip across America, perhaps you should add it to your short-term bucket list. And if you’re a biker, perhaps you should do it in style, in the form of a motorcycle road trip.
6 Tips for a Fun, Safe, Economical Trip
A motorcycle road trip offers a unique experience that very few people ever get the chance to enjoy. But in order to do it right, you must plan ahead. In particular, you’d be wise to keep the following in mind:
1. Be Realistic
The first piece of advice is perhaps the most important: be realistic with your expectations. If you’ve never ridden for more than a couple of hours at a time, you probably won’t find it feasible or enjoyable to ride for six, seven, or eight-plus hours per day. In fact, you won’t be physically fit enough to do it.
Riding a bike over long distances is much more demanding than the average person realizes. Not only does it require strength and stability, but it’s also mentally taxing. Before embarking on a full road trip, try a few weekend trips to build up your stamina and figure out if this is something you really want to do.
2. Prioritize Safety
Not to sound like your mother, but motorcycles are dangerous. And no matter how much time you’ve spent riding around town, driving for hours on an interstate is far riskier.
Make sure you know the common causes of motorcycle accidents. These include distracted driving, inattention, driving while talking on a cell phone, speeding, following too closely, failure to yield the right of way, failure to obey traffic signs, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and sideswiping when changing lanes. It’s better to take your time on a road trip than to rush yourself and increase these risks.
3. Choose the Right Bike
You don’t necessarily want to take your bike on a road trip. Not only will you put a bunch of miles on it, but your bike might not be properly optimized for a long ride.
Do your research and consider renting a bike. Find one that’s designed for comfort and fuel economy. Don’t worry about looking “cool.” Cool means nothing if your back is killing you at the end of the day.
4. Pack the Right Gear
You obviously have to pack light on a motorcycle road trip, but you can’t skimp on the gear you really need. This includes:
– Proper weather gear – including protection from rain, sun, and any other elements that could be present on your trip.
– Maintenance supplies, such as a tire inflation kit, jumper cables, bike cover, and motor oil.
– Personal items, such as lip balm, sunglasses, Bluetooth earpieces, etc.
With enough weekend trips under your belt, you should be able to easily determine what’s necessary and what can be left at home.
5. Get Comfortable
“Feeling the wind blow as you ride is one of the most wonderful parts of riding, but two or three hours at 75 or 80 miles per hour gets exhausting,” biker Collin Woodard writes. Five, six, and seven hours into riding, it’s even worse.”
If you’re going to spend more than a couple of hours driving per day, you need a windshield to provide some protection. You’ll also want to optimize your bike for the right position. Handlebars should be at the right height and a backrest is always a welcome addition.
6. Develop a Budget
For most people, a road trip must be done on a budget. If you aren’t careful, the costs of gas, food, lodging, and other expenses can add up. In order to have an enjoyable trip that’s also economical, develop a budget and plan on sticking to it. The smarter you are with your costs, the more often you’ll be able to take trips like these.
Putting it All Together
A road trip is fun, no matter the vehicle. But there’s something invigorating about hugging tight curves and experiencing the cool wind in your face. A motorcycle road trip allows you to enjoy America the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Plan ahead and your trip will be something you remember and cherish for years to come.