Roughly 47% of motorcycles that are owned are touring bikes—units that are designed specifically for travel. Just as more and more people are planning their getaways and staycations this summer, you might be eager for a journey with your touring motorcycle.
Whether you’re looking to stop in at a couple of nearby cities or you’re planning for a cross-country trek, here are nine motorcycle travel tips to keep in mind!
1. Make safety a priority
Making safety a priority means wearing all of your protective gear, including a full-face helmet. It’s believed that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.
It also means driving defensively, following traffic rules, and avoiding risky maneuvers when sharing the road with bigger, much heavier vehicles. Traffic rules may vary from state to state. As you venture into new territory, avoid maneuvers that are legal back home but may not be legal in another area.
Failing to practice proper safety could result in an unfortunate motorcycle accident that cuts your touring experience short.
2. Prepare your motorcycle for the trip
Before you hit the road, you will want to confirm that your motorcycle is in proper riding condition. Otherwise, the consequences could be deadly. There were over 5,000 motorcyclist fatalities in 2019 alone.
First and foremost, take your motorcycle in to your local motorcycle technician for servicing. Your technician will change your oil and inform you of any repairs that might be needed or recommended before a long trip.
3. Don’t over-pack
While a long trip may require you to pack a few extra things than you’re used to bringing, be careful not to over-pack. Weighing down your bike can make for an uncomfortable and cumbersome journey.
Keep your pack filled with only the most essential items and try not to pack items that can easily be picked up throughout your trip.
4. Stock up on water
When you’re enjoying the wind in your face and taking in all of the beautiful scenery of new territory, it’s easy to forget about the need to stay hydrated. As the sun continues to beat down on you, however, you’ll want to make a habit of stopping to drink water.
It’s wise to keep a large canteen or multiple water bottles in your pack. Also, be sure to restock whenever you’re able to reach a grocery or convenience store.
5. Adjust your suspension
During your average ride around the block, you probably don’t have to travel with much luggage. On an extensive trip, however, your bike may need to hold a bag, accessories, and perhaps even a second person over long distances.
Because of this increase in weight, you’ll need to set up your motorcycle for the trip—which involves adjusting the sag on your suspension.
6. Plan out all of your stops
Failing to plan stops for food, fuel, and rest can quickly throw a wrench in your travel plans.
There are certain stretches in more rural areas of the country where gas stations may be up to a couple of hundred miles apart. You’ll want to be aware of these distances between stations and even have a container or two on hand in case of emergency.
7. Invest in a comfortable pair of earplugs
Those who travel in enclosed vehicles are largely shielded from the sounds of roaring engines, heavy winds, and the constant rumbling of tires tracking against the pavement at high speeds.
When you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re not afforded this kind of comfort. Your ears are constantly being exposed to loud noises that, over a long period, can cause significant damage to your hearing.
Consider investing in high-quality earplugs before hitting the road. Make sure you choose a pair that fits your ears comfortably and doesn’t interfere with your helmet!
8. Check your motorcycle before you ride each day
Given the sheer number of miles you’ll be putting on your bike during your trip, you will want to keep a close eye on its condition before you ride each day.
A simple check on your tires, brakes, air pressure, and oil level will go a long way towards helping you keep your bike in tip-top condition and ensuring your safety on the road.
9. Eat at off-peak times
If you want the majority of your day to be spent on the road—making progress toward your destination—the last thing you want is to get held up at restaurants for your meals.
The most popular eating times are 8 AM, 12 PM, and 6 PM. If possible, structure your stops so that you’re eating at times when people aren’t typically flooding restaurants.
This will allow you to get in and out quickly so that you limit downtime and reach your destination faster!