How to Plan for a Motorcycle Road Trip
Every motorcyclist knows that the open road is the perfect way to experience the beauty and diversity of the country and the way to reconnect with feelings of freedom and independence. So the open road is always calling. If you open to heeding this call and are planning on taking a trip on your bike, there are some essentials that you need to do in order to ensure that the trip is safe and successful.
The most obvious thing to do is to repair or replace any damaged or not working parts on your bike before your trip. So, contact a reputable supplier of the best motorcycle parts for your bike and purchase what you need. Then also do the following to make sure you are prepared:
Storage bags on a trip are a necessity and unless you’re riding a fully-fledged touring motorcycle with the storage built-in, you’ll need to purchase some type of storage bags that fit on your bike. Your options include saddlebags which straddle the seat and rest on either side of the rear wheel, and tank bags, which sit directly atop the fuel tank. These are very handy because they often have clear plastic windows for displaying physical maps. Centrally positioned tail bags are another great option. In the choice between hard and soft bags, the more expensive hard bags have better protection against the weather than soft bags, but they also are heavier and have to be installed. Riders often think that they can pack enough gear into a backpack in lieu of more conventional storage bags. For longer trips this is a bad idea because backpacks get heavy for the rider.
Emergency Tool Kit
Every motorcyclist should have is a complete roadside emergency toolkit. All modern bikes and many older ones, have an under the seat limited toolkit. But chances are that kit is not going to be that useful if you ever find your bike in need of repairs on the road. This is why aftermarket tool kits that can be bolted or strapped to your bike are so valuable. Buy one with:
- Flat tire repair kit: A flat tire is the most common problem so you need to have a tire repair kit.
- Adjustable and Fold-up Allen wrenches: They should be as small as possible but good quality and fit all of the areas of the bike.
- Flashlight: Compact yet powerful and will light a wide area if needed.
- Screwdriver for all heads: Should have Flathead and a Phillips crosshead bits.
- Pocketknife: For cutting the end of a new hose.
- Pliers: A good quality small pair.
- Battery cables: Lightweight cables that can be rolled up tightly.
- Spare fuses and bulbs: You should have fuses and bulbs for all areas of your bike.
Online and Physical Maps
You can pull up great apps like Google maps to know your exact position with its geo-location features, and this should definitely be your first choice for maps. But there are times when you may not have internet service, and having a physical map can be indispensable. So you need a compact yet thorough and easy to read map you can have at the ready. Butler Maps are designed for motorcyclists, and are the best resource for any kind of riding.
Two Pairs of Riding Gloves
Your hands control your speed, braking, upper body balance, and give you a sense of control on your bike. When you measure their true worth, it can be said that they are the most important parts of your body for riding a bike. They are also very defenseless and are usually the first parts of your body to hit the ground in a crash. So purchasing a great pair of gloves, is a must. The gloves should be padded and offer protection around the fingers and knuckles yet do not inhibit your ability to steer and brake your bike. And, a second pair is essential in case your gloves get wet.
Also, you need to get a service check of your bike that includes checking the following ten items:
- Brakes. No leaks or cracks in your brake lines and brake pads are not worn out.
- Nuts and bolts. All should be present and tight.
- Spokes. Spokes should all be tight.
- Filters. All filters should be clean or replaced.
- Oils and Fluids. Make sure all are topped off.
- Battery. Make sure both the connections are tight and the cells are full of fluid.
- Drive belt or chain. Make sure properly lubed and has the correct tension.
- Tires. Your tire pressure should be correct, and tires should have proper tread depth.
- Cables. All should be adjusted correctly and properly lubed.
- Lights and turn signals. All be working properly.
Now you are ready to have a great trip on your bike. Enjoy!