A long motorcycle trip has several elements that should be considered to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Prior Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance
Most of us have heard this old saying more than once, but it still bears repeating. By taking time to plan; not just the route you are going to take, but also the trip you are going to take, you will increase your odds of having a pleasant, memorable experience. Let’s get started.
Set a date
- Sounds silly to state the obvious, but setting a date sets in motion many important elements of your trip.
- Having a date set gives you and your riding companions something tangible to look forward to with anticipation. Some experts think that looking forward to, and planning your trip, is a very important part of a positive experience.
- Have a travel date, also creates windows of time that you can get a much clearer picture of weather forecasts along the travel route. Take time to look at historical weather patterns in the general region of your travel and plan accordingly.
- Spend time looking for events along your travel route, during this window of time. With a small change of travel dates, sometimes you can experience what may be a once in a lifetime event, just by taking time to investigate what’s happening locally along your route.
As a diver, the golden rule is… never dive alone. I feel almost the same about riding a motorcycle.
- Traveling with other riders is safer for you and your companions.
- Staggered riding gives everyone more visibility because of the “train effect.”
- For the “train” to be effective, the space between the bikes should be kept to a minimum safe distance. Otherwise you invite other vehicles to “break” into your train, which can be dangerous.
- Rear riders should keep up, or front riders must slow down. Maintain a steady pace. This will help everyone to ride as a part of the group.
- Set clear methods of communication before leaving. (CB, bluetooth headsets, or even hand signals)
- Just be clear.
- If you are in the rear, don’t just leave the train. Contact the lead and arrange for a stop.
Be considerate of your passengers.
- Adjust stop patterns to accommodate everyone, not just your bladder or the size of your gas tank.
- Don’t try to set speed records when traveling long rides. This can be unsafe and can keep you from enjoying the “journey.”
- Stop earlier in the day. Three or four hundred miles a day, on the back of some bikes, is like running a marathon or getting beat with a stick.
- Give your body time to recoup.
- Plan variety. Mexican food one day, Chinese next, Italian next, etc. Keeps everyone involved in the evening after stops.
Physically lay out the clothes you think you will need on your journey.
- Eliminate half of it. Everyone takes too much. Blue jeans can easily be worn 3 or 4 times or more, before you stand them up in a corner. Keep it simple.
- Almost anywhere you go will have a laundry close by, or a creek to hand wash the essentials in.
- Do you really need to pack 4 pairs of shoes?
Don’t overlook simple things
- Check age of battery before your long trip. Almost always cheaper to replace while a home.
- Check air pressure in both tires frequently. It’s amazing how quickly you can lose 4 pounds of air pressure. This can not only be unsafe, but also can have pronounced affect on range between fill ups and tread wear.
- Discuss stop routine with travel companions before leaving.
- It is disrespectful to be taking your time browsing around in the store, while your travel companions are geared up and waiting on YOU outside.
- If group decides on a 7AM roll time. YOU be on time and ready at 7AM.
Don’t forget the butt
- On long trips, some bike seats are almost torture. Sitting in one place too long can make the rest of the day a real pain in the #@!
- Move around slowly while en route, to give the nerves and pressure points in the hip zone a little relief.
- Put a fair amount of downward pressure on the bottom of your feet while riding. This will tighten the muscles in the thighs and buttocks, increasing blood flow and circulation.
- Another alternative, is custom seats or seat cushions to help fight “butt burn” or “monkey butt” for a more pleasant journey. Can be expensive, but helps.
Motorcycle trips can be an exciting adventure with lifelong memories made along the way. Motorcycle trips can also be a experience you will never forget, but wish you could. Planning and simple courtesy can help you do your part in making it a safe and wonderful adventure. Be safe!
Darryl Pierce an avid motorcycle rider and horse trainer, developed the ButtBudy Gel Pocket Pad to solve the pain and discomfort associated with long motorcycle rides and horseback riding. These Pocket Pads are a cooling gel pad that simply fits into your back pocket. This gel pad is made up of four layers of different densities of gel and foam, creating all day riding comfort. The specially designed shape can be worn in a “point up” or “point down” configuration creating a “custom ride” for all riders. They are washable and can also be used as stadium seats, kayak seats, pads for horseback riding as well as boaters and other outdoor activities.