Tips to ensure a good summer motorcycle rally season
We’re right in the thick of summer rally season, so now is the time to really start to think about all the things that can go wrong if you’re not prepared. That is to say, a lot can go wrong if you don’t have the right mindset. This time of the year is exciting for most of us, but let’s not allow that excitement to override some logic and forward thinking. You really don’t want to be the rider who looks like a newbie (even if you are) and you don’t want to be the one in the group that slows everyone else down because you weren’t prepared.
But I’d like to think we’re pretty good friends, right? While there’s a vast amount of considerations to make, I’m going to give you some of the top tips that can be the difference between an awesome rally time, and one that you'll remember for all the wrong reasons.
Enjoy, and share these tips with the friends you care about!
Water, people...drink it.
Obvious? Sure thing. Is it still the most frequent mistake that riders will make? You bet! Don’t be the person that passed out from dehydration because they drank way too much beer and not enough of the clear liquid. No, Vodka doesn’t count as the clear liquid I’m referring to. Try to drink a bottle of water for every two alcoholic drinks you have. Sure, you’ll have to use the bathroom a lot, and while that’s potentially a whole other horror story, it sure beats passing out in the middle of the party downtown.
Bring a little thing people call CASH.
I know, I know, we’re pretty driven by credit and debit cards, but there will be vendors at these rallies that only accept cash. And if you don’t have cash, how will you buy that Harley-Davidson back scratcher that suddenly has become a necessity? Plus, carrying cash might prevent you from spending more than you need to! There’s a chance your cards might be put on a hold for being in a new state, and you don’t want to be that rider that is relying on other people. Friendship only goes so far!
You won't be a lobster if you wear sunscreen!
Do you enjoy the feeling of your skin being on fire? Yeah, didn’t think so. Sunscreen is a must during summer rallies, and as childish as it may seem (I can hear Mom nagging me now) it’s a true statement. You’ll want to keep applying it, too, because even if you drop $50 on a reputable brand (are you crazy?), no sunscreen brand will withstand 9+ hours of being outside.
Be your own weather forecaster!
Technology has made it really, really easy to stay up-to-date with the weather. Seriously, just call yourself Weatherman Bob! Check to see what the weather is going to look like ahead of time, so that you know what kind of clothes to bring along. Are you going to need an umbrella? Are you prepared to drop $60 on an emergency umbrella when you’re at the rally? Yep, didn’t think so, so look at the weather and prepare!
Oh where, oh where did the key go?
While no rider is going to fall over themselves to admit this, tons of us have misplaced a bike key…or five. No, just me? It’s very easy to lose something that small, so make sure you bring a spare in case the worst case scenario happens. Luckily, if you do drop your key, there will probably be over 200,000 motorcycles there, so someone picking it up and finding your bike isn’t likely. But now I just jinxed it, so just be mindful.
Give your bike the lovin' it deserves!
You know what I love? Breaking down with my motorcycle on the side of a road with the sun beating down on me. It’s seriously something that I look forward to. You don’t feel the same? Then make sure you give your bike a good tune-up before heading out! Make sure your fluid levels are stable, your tires still have some tread on them, and your headlights are in working order. If you’re not going to treat your bike well, then what’s the point of being a bike owner? Give it the loving it deserves and gives yourself some peace of mind.
As long as you keep these things in mind, you should be on the road (ha, get it?) toward a good time at any rally! There are other things to remember, like reserving a room or campsite ahead of time, but a quick look at the calendar will tell you whether you might be a little late in the game for that one. Remember these necessary things, but more importantly, have fun and enjoy!
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