Preparing for a long-distance motorcycle trip can be exhilarating. There’s the anticipation of knowing you’re going to be hitting the open road and likely seeing some pretty beautiful scenery along the way.
However, it would help if you prepared for some logistics before you leave to make sure you have a safe, enjoyable trip.
The following are ways to prepare your bike and other provisions to make ahead of time.
Plan Your Itinerary and Route, at Least Loosely
While you might like the idea of heading where the road takes you, this isn’t typically the best idea for a long trip. You want to know where you’re going so you can plan your route, check the weather and ensure that you don’t overwhelm yourself.
You want to make sure that you have the right gear for whatever situations might come up, and then when you have a plan, you are able to focus more on relaxing when you’re actually on the road.
You should plan your overnight stops ahead of time as well, especially if you’re going to be traveling during a peak season. Accommodations can fill up fast.
Build Your Stamina
If you haven’t done a long-distance tour before, and you’re typically just a weekend leisure rider, you should build up your stamina. If you’ve only ever ridden 30 or 40 miles at a time, you need to increase the distance gradually you can cover. Long-distance motorcycle riding is a lot different than shorter distances.
You want to not just acclimate in general to riding long distances, but you also want to test out luggage scenarios to see what’s going to work best for you on your actual trip.
You might start with trips that are one or two hours initially and then progress upward.
Plan for Bad Weather
One of the big reasons you want to have a route in mind ahead of time before a long-distance trip is to check the weather. Even if the weather looks like it will be good on your trip, you should still plan and prepare for what you’ll do if it isn’t. Of course, check the forecast right before you leave, but bring rain gear regardless.
You should also bring a tarp with you, although it’s much better to find shelter under a safe structure if it starts raining.
Think About Specialized Gear
Along with all-weather protective gear, if you’re going to make a long-distance trip, there is a lot of aftermarket gear that can make it more enjoyable and safer. Some of the specialized gear options for long-distance trippers include:
- Heated grips: if you’re going to ride somewhere it’s colder, or maybe you’re planning to ride early in the day or later on in the evening, heated grips can help you stay warm. Padded grips are another excellent option that cushions your hands and wrists and lower pain and tightness as you grip for hours.
- Gel seats: A gel seat gives you that extra support, and some people who ride long distances even opt to have custom seats made just for them.
- Backrest: For long rides, having a backrest is one of the best things you can do for yourself. They mount to the seat, and you can find these in gel options as well.
- Cruise or throttle control: There are some grips with a throttle lock so that when you’re cruising, you don’t always have to keep your hand squeezed around the throttle. You can still keep your hand on the controls so you stay safe, but you’re squeezing less often.
Other Things to Bring With You
When you’re packing, the following are some things you might want to ensure you have with you:
- Rain gear
- Protective eyewear and a spare set of glasses or contacts if you use them—you might want to think about bringing a separate visor to use when the light changes
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Additional toiletries and medications
- A tool kit for emergency adjustments and repairs—your tool kit should include at least a crescent wrench, small pliers, a simple socket set, and a flashlight.
- Bringing some extra parts may help in a bind, like the standard fasteners used on your motorcycle, some electrical wire, and spare fuses
- Cleaning supplies for your windscreens and visor
- Snacks and hydration packs
- Plastic bags
Finally, the night before you head out, make sure that you get plenty of rest, and continue that along the way on your trip. Take lots of breaks, and have energizing, healthy snacks.