It has come to my attention that there are motorcycle riders that have never taken their bike on a road trip. There are few things you can do with a motorcycle that are more rewarding than a motorcycle trip. You don’t have to spend weeks in the saddle headed to exotic locations and you don’t have to rough it, unless you want to. Weekend getaways, that include an overnight stay can be just as rewarding as a cross country jaunt especially if it is your first time. Here are a few tips that can make touring by motorcycle safe and rewarding.
If you plan a long day’s ride and aren’t accustomed to riding for more than just a few hours a day, don’t jump right into a road trip. Try taking some practice rides to get used to being on a bike for longer periods of time or cut your travel time down to more manageable bits. The more prepared you can be for how endless six or seven hours is going to feel, the better. Wind protection goes a long way toward making your ride a pleasant one.
Fighting the wind for two or three hours at highways speeds gets exhausting. Five, six, and seven hours into riding, it’s even worse. A windshield helps cut the wind and fight fatigue. Make an investment in comfort. On my VFR I have added a comfy aftermarket seat, raised the handlebars and lowered the foot pegs. These changes do not take away from the handling or the fun of the bike but they make the “sport” riding position a little more neutral. The result is a bike I can ride hour after hour.
Prepare for the weather. You may think it’s hot at home when you leave but will it be the same in the mountains? Clear skies have a habit of developing clouds and dropping rain. Be sure to take something warm along with your riding gear. Layers are best. Also pack a rain suit. A cheap rain suit is better than no rain suit. Trust me on this one. Not only will a rain suit keep you dry it will also keep you warm by keeping the damp frigid air at bay.
Wear ear plugs. Nothing saps your good mood and ruins you hearing like the wind noise droning in your helmet. Rest is as important as riding and making good time. Take some time and stop. A motorcycle trip is not a marathon (unless your are riding the Iron Butt.) Stop and smell the roses, pull over for interesting attractions or just to stretch your legs. Frequent stops will keep you fresh and riding longer.
Technology is your friend. A helmet equipped with Bluetooth, for example, can link you to your phone and not only play music but receive calls, follow GPS directions, and allow rider-to-rider communications. If you have never been on an overnight ride make this the year you go. If you haven’t been trippin in a while make plans to get out there again. You will be glad you did.