Taking a long distance motorcycle trip is a fun, economical way to see places you may otherwise not be able to afford. The trip is as interesting as the end destination. It doesn’t matter whether your plan includes arriving at a certain destination, or just touring different locations, you must still be prepared. These tips will help you have a fun, safe, journey.
Before the Trip
- Prepare the motorcycle for the trip. Have the bike checked by an authorized mechanic to assure it is ready for a lengthy trip. Make sure that things like chains and sprockets, or the drive shaft are examined. If you are a D.I.Y. motorcycle mechanic, go over the bike from the front wheel to the back wheel. Replace or repair any thing that looks worn.
- Change the oil and filter on the motorcycle. You want everything fresh and clean the day you start your long distance adventure. If you do not remember the size oil filter and type of oil the motorcycle takes, write it down on a small card and place it in your wallet. You may have to replace the filter or add some oil while you are on your trip, depending on how many miles you plan to go.
- Check the tires for any wear, cracking, or dry rot if the motorcycle has been sitting for awhile. Taking off on a long distance trip with bad tires is just asking for a ruined vacation. Replace both the back and front tires if necessary. Make sure they are properly inflated, remembering that you will be carrying excess luggage. Adjust the pressure accordingly.
- Discuss your itinerary with friends and family members. Even if you are not certain where you will end up, giving someone a general idea of your whereabouts will ease their minds and allow them a general search point in the event of an emergency.
- Go over maps to select possible routes, or destinations. If you know where you plan to go, follow that route and take note of any attractions you may want to check out. Motorcycles do not have the mileage capacity of cars, so be sure not to select a route that may be void of frequent service stations. It is very nerve wracking to see a sign that says the nearest gas stations is 50 miles away and you are running on reserve!
During the Long Distance Motorcycle Trip
- Equip the motorcycle with removable saddle bags. This allows you to take the saddlebags into the motel room nightly. This will make your job a lot easier than standing in a motel parking lot digging out the nightly essentials you need.
Keep a cell phone charged and easily available. This way you can check for messages when you stop for gas, food or the night. Call home when you stop for the evening. This will be appreciated by your family members that may be worrying about your motorcycle trip. They will enjoy hearing about your adventures and the sites you are seeing.
- Check the motorcycle over each morning before you head out. This is just for safety reasons. Mechanical failures happen to the best maintained vehicle, so even if you believe everything is fine, go over it quickly to make sure.
- Be flexible in your plans. Unless you need to arrive at a destination at a designated time, allow yourself the freedom to explore things of interest that you hadn’t planned on. This may be your only chance to see a historical interest, or a venue. If you run across something that strikes your interest, stop and explore. That is part of the fun of a long distance motorcycle trip.
- Mail your souvenirs home. Don’t even think you won’t find anything to collect along your trip! Instead of going through the stress of trying to shove them into an overloaded motorcycle, find a post office or ask if the motel handles mailing packages. This will allow you to collect the things you want instead of passing up a great souvenir. Most of all, enjoy your trip!
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