Your motorcycle trip can look and be whatever you wish for it to be, as experiencing new destinations from a bike seat is one of the best ways of travelling.
However, proper planning goes a long way whatever the destination. A good plan will make your experience that much more fun. Read on for some great advice about planning a bike trip!
1. Point A to Point B
Obviously, first you need to pick somewhere to go. When it comes to bike trips, the old saying that it is not about the destination but the journey is perhaps the truest possible. You still need a destination tough, so being familiar with the total mileage, the look and sense of the terrain, and the weather while you are on the road will make it possible to calculate how many days you are going to need for the trip. This way you can better decide on the destination.
2. Map A Route
When you decide on the goal, you have to plan how to get there. It is different from going by car, as that is when you opt for the quickest route. This is not recommended when a bike is in question. Driving for hours on interstates is extremely boring and mind numbing. Try to instead plan the trip by connecting several smaller highways and backroads before you hit the finish line. For one thing, you will experience less traffic. Furthermore, a bike trip needs more curves and better scenery along the way if you are to fully enjoy it. Depending on the time of year, check which areas on your way are worth visiting. Check in advance the facts and rumors about the roads you will cover. Call road services or visit some online forums for accurate insight.
3. MPG And Gas Stops
Determine the mileage of the bike before you venture on a trip. Almost all modern bikes have readouts providing MPG and miles to empty. Just to be sure, you can check by doing a few rounds the old, analog way, just to confirm it and be sure. Fill the tank completely, and then ride at the pace you imagine you will be travelling at on the trip. Go through several gallons and fill up again. Compare the miles traveled and the gallons to go back to full, and divide the miles by the gallons used. You will have an accurate data to work with, and know what to expect on the road. Next, when you know the MPG, multiply it by the size of your tank, and you will end up with a reference point of when you are between two fill-ups.
It is crucial to do this, because while travelling through the countryside, you will have to plan for the gas stops. For example, if your bike gets 200 miles from a tank, you will have to move in the direction of a petrol pump every 150–180 miles, which affects your route planning. Plan every bit on info here, so that you escape unfortunate scenarios on your dream trip.
4. How to Pack for a Motorcycle Trip
Since bikes do not have much room for luggage, planning your necessities goes a long way here. Never overload your bike with the comforts you have at home, but determine what you need the most and leave the rest at home. Three changes of clothes or your favorite bathrobe may not be necessary. It also greatly depends on your route what you need with you. If you plan to camp, there is much more to plan for than if hotel nights are involved.
One thing you must have is a cover for worst-case scenarios. For example, rain gear is tucked away easily, and is crucial in a storm. A small tire-repair kit should go without saying. Zip-ties, a small tool roll, a few snacks and a bottle or two of water should all be obligatory. They might take up some valuable space, but you will wish to have them if things go bad.
When you decide on everything you will need, be sure to strap it evenly on both sides of the bike to keep it balanced. Triple-check that all of your cargo is secured and do not pile it too high on the bike. It can be extremely dangerous to have a bungee cord or a ratchet strap come off on the highway, for you and for the other drivers.
5. Tell Someone about Your Trip
Tell someone you know, both at home and near the destination, what exactly your plan involves. Give them a map of your route, give them a rough estimate of the checkpoints, and tell them when you arrive. This is an extra measure of safety is something dire happens. If nobody knows you went somewhere, nobody will be able to assist you in any way.
6. Consider Bringing Along a Friend
Again for safety reasons, consider inviting a buddy who enjoys riding on your journey. Two heads think better than one, and you will have someone to have your back along the way. In addition, you will have someone to talk to on the road or at stops, and they can help you to capture the important photos you will need to make the people jealous.
7. Tune Your Bike
Another one that should go without saying. Make absolutely sure that all mechanical work is done to your bike, and that it is running in tip-top shape. The tire tread should be at safe levels for the duration of the trip, watch for tire pressure, the oil has to be changed, and brake fluid in shape. Take the bike to a shop for a routine checkup if you are not comfortable doing it on your own.
8. Be Open to Change
Last but not least, on trips like these you have to be open to change. Route maps, safety measures, packing plans are great. However, there may be things on the road you did not expect and prepare for. If you want to deviate off the route for an amazing sight, do it, as long as it does not change your whole trip or leave you without gas. Let the ones who care about you know about the change. It is not the end of the world if you must change something. It may turn out great! Just be safe, smart, and have fun along the way!