Tips for Long Distance Motorcycle Riding
As fun as it is to show off your motorcycle to all your neighbors and everyone you pass when you’re traveling through the cities, there’s nothing quite like exploring the backbone of the country on the back of your hog. Whether you’re taking the usual route or you’re heading to a spot you’ve never seen before, long distance motorcycle riding, or touring, is a great way to spend the weekend or an extended vacation. But it’s also going to require a special kind of preparation if you want to comfortably travel around. For those who are new to this, we’ve provided some basic tips for planning your first or next touring trip. If you want your ride looked over before you head out, then schedule a service appointment with War Horse Harley-Davidson® in Ocala, Florida. We welcome all riders from the areas of Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Silver Springs, and Summerfield, Florida.
Route and Itinerary
Start by making sure you know where you’re going. As fun as it can be to just hit the road with no plans or obligations, there are a lot of benefits to knowing your general route, namely that you’ll know where you’ll end up every night. Whether you’re camping or hopping from hotel to hotel, you’ll be more relaxed knowing you have a place to sleep after a long day of riding. This is especially important in peak travel seasons, like the summer. A route will also help you search for attractions you might otherwise miss from the road.
Plan for Weather
Another great reason to plan your route ahead of time is so that it makes it easier to plan for the weather. Start by considering some of the general patterns of a given season. If you’re going to Arizona in July, you’ll want to pack fairly light clothing. If you’re going to Minnesota in January, you’ll probably want to pack clothes that are a little thicker. You can also plan for storm seasons, like hurricanes along the Gulf or fires in the west.
It’s also a good idea to check the weather every morning. This will help you plan when you should be on the road. Weather patterns like high winds, rain, and extreme heat might be a reason to consider making an extra stop along your route.
Now for the hard part: packing. Packing on a motorcycle is unlike packing with any other vehicle because motorcycles are so much smaller. It’s much easier to overload them with additional weight, so be judicious in what you pack. Start with only the basics and find places where you can consolidate. Rather than packing a lot of clothes, pack a few and utilize laundromats as often as you can. If you’re camping, try to find supplies that are lightweight and won’t take up too much room. Only after you’ve packed all the necessities should you consider packing luxury items.
But be careful with those luxury items. Remember that everything you put on your bike adds more weight to it. As it gets more weighed down, it will be slower to respond and less efficient so consider taking a few practice laps once you’re done to make sure it’s not going to severely impact your riding.
Finally, before you hit the road, make sure your bike is in peak riding condition. Hopefully you already have a pre-ride inspection strategy, as this should happen before any ride, no matter how long. If you don’t, you’ll definitely want to give your bike a once-over before a long trip. This should include checking your tires, oil, fuel, chains, brakes, clutch, throttle, and lights, as well as anything else you feel might need some extra attention before your ride. You should do this on the morning of the first day and then every morning after that to ensure you won’t have any surprises when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
You should also bring your bike in for regular inspections from a professional and a quick checkup before a major trip. This will alert you to any red flags that may need to be addressed before you leave. When that time comes, schedule a service appointment with War Horse Harley-Davidson® in Ocala, Florida. We proudly serve Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Silver Springs, and Summerfield, Florida areas.