Safety Tips for Long Motorcycle Trips
Date Posted:20 July 2012
Road trips can be awesome, especially when you’re heading out into unchartered territory and have the whole weekend stretching ahead of you. Whether you prefer to ride alone or in a group, there’s just something about climbing on a bike and hitting the road that makes you feel glad to be alive.
However, if you’re planning a long road trip, it pays to do some preparation beforehand and to keep a few basic tips in mind.
Prepare your bike
Check all the basics before you head out. Make sure your lights work, check all your fluids (engine, brake, clutch, coolant) and make sure your tyres have enough air and enough tread to complete the journey.
You’re going to be on the bike for long stretches, so having a way to rest your throttle hand is important. Think about getting a wrist rest or a cruise control throttle lock.
Make sure you have a suitable saddle. A hard, flat saddle -- rather than soft or preformed -- allows you to change your riding position more often and take the pressure off those tired muscles.
Prepare yourself for your ride
If you don’t know what the weather’s going to be like, dress in layered clothing so you can take it off or put in on as required. Fill up your water bottle or hydration pack and pack a few snacks that you can eat while riding.
Make sure your Bluetooth helmet is working properly. Whether you’re riding alone and just want music, or you’re going with a group and want to communicate, a Bluetooth helmet is great for long road trips. If you don’t have it yet, think about getting one.
Check your first aid kit and make sure you have a puncture repair kit and some basic tools for on-the-spot repairs.
Plan your trip
Know your bike’s touring range and plan your route with fuel stops in mind. Try and stick to major roads so you’ll make better time and avoid potholes and gravel surfaces.
Plan to ride during daylight hours to avoid fatigue and encountering animals on the road. Think about where you’re going to stop at night and work out where the motels are, or pack a swag if you’re planning to sleep rough.
If you don’t have it already, consider investing in a GPS system. You can run it through your motorcycle Bluetooth, and it means you won’t have to stop and wrestle with maps all the time.
On the road
Take a break before you get tired, eat before you get hungry and, above all, take it easy. An even speed means less braking and acceleration, which means less wear and tear on the bike and lower fuel consumption. It also means less fatigue at the end of a long day’s ride.
Riding a motorcycle takes more discipline and concentration than driving a car, and on long road trips, the consequences of inattention can be fatal. If you just remember to enjoy the ride, rather than pushing yourself to get there, you’re bound to have a safer and much more enjoyable trip.