There are more miles of beautiful, well maintained highway in the United States than in all but a few other countries around the world, and a motorcycle is one of the best ways to acquaint yourself with it. Cars may be fun, but motorcycles put you in touch with the scenery, offering an experience no other vehicle can replicate. But long-distance riding isn’t quite as simple as jumping on your bike and taking off. There are supplies you’ll have to bring, preparations you’ll need to make, and techniques you’ll want to learn. This guide will show you some of the best tips and tricks for long distance motorcycle touring so your next trip can be a success. If you’re in need of a new bike, stop by American Harley-Davidson in North Tonawanda, New York. We’re located near Buffalo, New York, as well as Niagara Falls and Lockport.
Plan Your Route
If you want to get from point A to point B, you could take a plane, train, or automobile. Or, if you want to enjoy the trip, you take a motorcycle. With that in mind, why would you leave your route planning to the computer? Mapping and GPS services can be helpful, but part of the fun of the trip is blazing a new path, getting advice from other riders, and letting your route evolve along the way. So instead of plugging in a city name and letting the GPS drag you along whatever interstate happens to be nearby, try putting together your own route!
Preparing for the Weather
Weather is one of the most decisive factors on a motorcycle trip. It doesn’t take too long for a storm system to roll in on you with wind and torrential rains. You’ll want to be prepared for any outcome. Before ever heading out for the day, check the weather forecast along your route. This will tell you if you need to head out extra-early, get off the road before the afternoon, or take a different route to avoid a wind storm.
Weather-resistant riding gear is extremely important, and depending on the time of year and the places your ride will take you, your gear will change substantially. If there’s any chance you’ll be riding in cool or wet conditions, a one piece full body riding suit is a great investment. Some models are fully waterproof and offer protection from even the worst road conditions.
Motorcycles aren’t known for their hauling ability, and in general, cargo room is limited. You’ll probably want to bring along everything you can think of, especially if you’re new to motorcycle touring. But packing light is always a much better idea than packing heavy for long term trips. When you pack light, you won’t have to worry as much about folding everything up and organizing it perfectly every morning before your ride because you’ll have the space to pack quickly and leave. If you need anything along the way, you’ll likely be able to pick it up. At the same time, you won’t have to worry about leaving things along the way that are too cumbersome to continue packing.
Maintenance & Pre-Ride Inspections
When you’re putting serious mileage on your motorcycle, the likelihood of something breaking or getting knocked out of alignment goes way up. Pre-ride inspections are incredibly important. You’ll find many resources online for quick motorcycle pre-ride inspections, but it’s important to at least check the conditions of your tires, your engine fluid levels, your lights, and your brake function.
Of course, your bike isn’t the only thing you’ll need to maintain on the road. Keeping your body in good condition is equally important. Try to get plenty of sleep before each ride and don’t get on your bike if you’re having trouble staying awake. Keep hydrated as you ride by drinking water constantly, especially when riding through warmer areas. Finally, stay on top of any medications you’re taking and make sure to eat consistently so your blood sugar doesn’t get thrown off.
Motorcycle touring is a great experience, and it’s something every motorcycle owner should try if they get the chance. If you’re looking for your first bike, stop by American Harley-Davidson in North Tonawanda, New York. We’re near Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Lockport, and we can help you find a great bike today!