There’s probably no better feeling than getting into your car, turning off the GPS, and heading out for a cross country drive. Wait that’s not right, of course there is. Getting on your motorcycle and heading out on a long distance cruise! There are a lot of differences though between going cross town, cross state, or country on a motorcycle instead of a car. With that in mind we’ve put together some tips for preparing you and your motorcycle for a long ride.
Tips for Preparing Yourself for a Long Distance Motorcycle Ride
Get Yourself a Warm and Weather Proof Riding Suit.
While it might be fun to ride in jeans and a jacket when you area heading across town, you’ll want to get yourself a full riding suit for any serious long distance rides. If not you’ll run the risk of getting stuck waiting out the rain, or worse, freezing while cruising at night. Make sure to get some waterproof boots or covers too, nothing sucks more than wet socks on a long ride.
Extra Storage is not Optional
Make sure to get some good capacity saddlebags or a luggage rack installed on your cruiser. While a backpack might be fine for short rides, you’re going to want some good storage options for those “bulkier items” you need to bring with you on a long distance ride. On top of that a backpack will eventually make you cramp up or cause shoulder and back pain that will take all the fun out of your ride.
Now that you have some good storage space make sure to use it smartly. Keep your supplies to the bare minimum, but never leave on a long ride without the following: Chapstick, Sunblock, Seat Cover (smaller than a full bike cover), Water, and a Flat Repair Kit. Bring less clothes and plan for a laundry day while on your trip if you can. Once you’ve got everything you want lay it all out. Then ask yourself two questions: Do I actually NEED this? and can I buy it affordably if i end up needing it. Use this process to whittle down your packing to the minimum. Doing this will ultimately make for a more enjoyable trip, as you won’t be fussing with useless items while looking for something you need.
Bring Extra Cords
Whether you are using bungees, straps, or rope, alway bring a little extra. Why? You ever try to repack a tent? You’ll never get everything packed the same way twice so you’ll appreciate that extra tie down when you need it.
Know Your Limits
According to the Iron Butt Association a rider will typically only be able to ride about 65% of their most comfortable distance on an extended trip. If you can comfortably ride 500 miles in a day, plan on riding 325 miles each day of your long distance trip. This will make sure you’re safe and comfortable while also leaving time for weather and other unexpected obstacles.
Tips for Preparing Your Motorcycle for a Cross Country Ride
Check Your Tires
You should ALWAYS check your tires before any ride, but it’s an absolute must before a long ride. Besides the usual check for debris and tire pressure, take a careful look at your tread depth. If you are light, you are better off changing that tire than risking a blowout, and your life, on the road.
Chain / Drive Belt / Cables
Same logic here as your tires. Make sure your chain is lubed, kink free, and properly tensioned. Check your belt for frays or runs and replace it if you find any excessive wear. Do the same check on your throttle and brake cables.
Make sure your battery is corrosion free and dependable. If not, consider installing a gel motorcycle battery for great performance and durability.
Fluids / Filters
Make sure your fluids are full and your filters are clean. Look for any signs of corrosion when checking your fluids as they can be indications of a potential parts failure as well.
Hopefully with these tips you can make sure you and you’re motorcycle are prepared for your first/next long ride. Did we miss anything? If so let us know in the comments.