Motorcycle touring is a great way to clear your head and relax. It is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, if you are looking for an adventure, a way to see the country, or a way to relax, a motorcycle trip tour is a great option for you. From packing the essentials to knowing when to hit the gas and when to lay off the throttle, these motorcycle touring tips will help you make the most of your time on two wheels.
How To Pack For Motorcycle Touring
When it comes to motorcycle touring, you will need to pack a whole lot less than you think. The items you pack, however will need to be the top priority essentials that you cannot go without.
Knowing the weather and climate of the areas you will be touring is crucial knowledge. The weather you will face will dictate how fast your journey will be, what kind of clothes you’ll wear and should pack, the gear you choose for the trip and so much more. In general, the best time to travel long distances on a motorcycle is early summer and early fall. That way, you’re not stuck in the harsh rains of early spring and harsh cold weather of late fall, as well as stuck in the heat of the mid summer. For the most part, this timeframe offers the best and driest riding conditions.
Many veteran touring enthusiasts will encourage one true fact above all, when it comes to long distance riding–and that is to pack light. While you may be used to packing 2-3 luggages for the traditional car road trip, a motorcycle trip is completely different. You will need to utilize what little space you have and even then will more than likely have to cut down what you think you need by at least 50%. That is not to say that you shouldn’t bring anything but the clothes on your back, but you will need to be smart with your space. You should pack only the absolutely necessary. A few changes of clothes for the week, first aid kit, and some essential bike tools. A good rule of thumb is to just bring more cash than you think you need and less clothes than you think you need. If you’re staying at hotels throughout your trip, just wash your clothes and keep track of your dry and clean clothes by separating them in different saddle bags.
First Aid Kit
In this article, we talk about what your first aid kit should consist of, and why all riders need to have one on them at all times. For a touring trip, this stays the same. If anything you may want to invest in a very inclusive first aid kit. You never know what accidents may happen on your trip and it is best to stay prepared for the worst. First aid kits will save your life, or at the very least, make it easier on your journey. Make sure you keep enough space to have a first aid kit with you.
Some extra things you may want to consider bringing and/or investing in for your next motorcycle tour are not at all required, however they can bring you some additional comfort, convenience and safety.
Cushioned Seat: If you’re planning on sitting on your bike for 12 hours a day, for 300 miles or if you’re simply a person who enjoys the comforts of life, you may want to consider buying a cushioned motorcycle seat. These will save you from getting fatigued, keep you comfortable on the road and also help you stay focused and less squirmy in your riders’ seat.
Bluetooth Headset: A Bluetooth headset/comms system is a really great addition to any long distance motorcycle trip. They allow riders to be off their phone trying to navigate, get their playlist in order and answer calls. Almost everything on their phone such as calls, music and navigation are connected to the headset, giving riders the freedom to just press a few buttons to make their desired choice. Additionally, headsets give riders the ability to communicate with their riding buddies without any worry. Overall, bluetooth headsets are really convenient and improve ride comfort and sensibility while out on the road. One of my favorite’s this year is the Cardo Packtalk Edge, and I seriously recommend it to every rider who can afford it.
GPS system: GPS systems are also another way riders can keep track of where they want to go without having to use their phone. Further, GPS trackers that are motorcycle specific, are built to withstand wind, weather and non-service situations. They’re really great when out on the road in the middle of nowhere and can be extremely useful to riders.
Weatherproof Motorcycle Cover: Riders who plan on riding throughout the rainy season should invest in a weatherproof motorcycle cover. They will protect your bike from weathering and damage from rust, rain and snow. The elements can damage your bike, and if you’re in the middle of nowhere or camping in a place without service, you may be in a situation where you get stranded. A tarp or motorcycle cover will give you a lot of protection and can go a long way.
T-CLOCS is a motorcycle pre-check list that riders should do before every ride, and especially if you plan on going on a motorcycle tour. In case you need reminding, here are the elements of T-CLOCS that you should make sure are all in proper condition before every ride:
T - Tires & Wheels
C - Controls
L - Lights & Electrics
O - Oil & Other Fluids
C - Chassis & Frame
S - Stands
What To Wear
Depending on the weather, as mentioned above, you will have to wear certain clothes. Typically during the moderate-warm climate and dry seasons you will be fine with a cool-wick long sleeve, jeans, and maybe a shirt. However, if you’re going to be riding in colder weather it will be wise to layer up. Above all else besides your clothes, you need to wear gear (riding jacket, gloves, boots, helmet, and riding pants if you choose). You know what is comfortable to yourself more than I could tell you, so just be intuitive to your needs, your surroundings and to your safety and you will be fine. One more thing to add however, is perhaps wearing earplugs for long distance riding. The whistling wind for 10+ hours a day can be extremely damaging to your hearing and will cause you to grow irritable and tired faster (ignore this if you plan on wearing a comms headset).
During The Ride
During your ride, there are some things you should constantly be aware of. One, is to make sure you stay hydrated well at all times, especially if you plan on riding through the desert. This will help maintain your stamina and keep you from becoming fatigued. Secondly, take breaks when you need to. Motorcycle riders do not have the leisure to get mindless/go on autopilots on a barren road, the way car drivers seem to do. We have to be 110% focused at all times–so take breaks to keep your focus.
Another thing riders must take account of is their mileage and fuel economy. If you know your bike will last 50 miles per gallon, make sure you keep track of your mileage and stop for gas before you get into a low populated area. In low populated areas with few gas stations, you'll want to lay off the throttle and use momentum to really keep it pushing. On that note, don’t ride more than 300 miles in one day, unless you absolutely know you can handle that kind of physical and mental challenge. 300 miles is the typical rate riders can handle without riding recklessly/with fatigue.
Some more tips for when you’re actually riding is to plan your stops ahead of time. Plug in your route into your GPS and use them as little landmark locations that you can take your rests/spend the night at. That way you’re not in a rush, trying to book a night in a sketchy hotel. Try not to ride during the night unless you have to. Usually drivers fail to see us during the daylight, so imagine their struggle when it is dark outside. The time you will save on your trip by riding is just not worth it for your safety.
If you plan on riding for more than seven days, plan a rest day. This means don’t ride, and enjoy the town you land in. Take a break. Riding is a physically and mentally demanding activity and for every seven days of travel, it’s smart to give yourself a rest day to recuperate and regain some energy.
How To Keep Your Bike Safe
Some ways to keep your bike safe while you’re on a motorcycle tour, is to keep an extra set of keys or keep your keys on a lanyard. That way it’ll be hard to lose them, easy to keep track of them and if you do lose them, you have an extra set. Next, is to invest In Bike Lock/Disc Lock, to keep your bike safe from theft. These are fairly cheap online and can even save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Motorcycle touring is a great way to see the country and get some fresh air. It can be a great bonding experience for friends and family, and it's a great way to get some exercise. There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a motorcycle tour, such as making sure everyone has a valid driver's license, having a map, and planning your route. With a little planning, motorcycle touring can be a great way to explore the country and get some fresh air.
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