If you’ve ridden a motorcycle for very long, you know it’s one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have. Tooling down the Interstate or along twisty country roads without a care in the world, with nothing between you and the fresh, invigorating air except your helmet and riding clothes–what could be better? Riding a motorcycle is a thrill, but whether you’re going around the corner to the grocery store or across the country for the trip of a lifetime, there are things you can do to make the ride a little better–and a little more memorable. Following are few tips for traveling by motorcycle.
In order to make the trip truly enjoyable, you need to come away from it with nothing but positive thoughts. Because traveling by motorcycle is different–a little more dangerous–than taking the same trip in a car or truck–after all, you’ll be out in the open, and exposed to the elements, you need to take a few extra precautions.
Wear a Helmet
Wearing a helmet is mandatory in most states and a good idea even if it’s not required. Going without a helmet may feel more freeing, but having one on your head if the vehicle in front of you kicks up a bunch of stones or a bird loses its sense of direction and plows into your forehead at 55 mph can at the very least save you from a tremendous headache–and if the worst were to happen and you took a spill, that helmet could mean the difference between a headache and hospitalization.
Other Safety Equipment
You should also wear safety glasses, or a face shield, for the same reasons–a bug in the eye at 55 mph could cause severe damage. Protective clothing is also called for. That doesn’t mean you have to be covered from head to toe in leather, but a few precautions like denim jeans and a jacket, gloves and riding boots could save you from road rash.
It may also be a good idea to have a good, quality set of raingear available. Riding for hours in pouring rain can be extremely uncomfortable. The rain itself can be distracting and reduce visibility. Having raingear close at hand that you can get into quickly will make you more comfortable and less likely to be distracted by the elements. Keep in mind that when it first begins to rain, the oil that is on the roadway will quickly come to the surface, creating extremely slippery conditions. As it continues to rain, the oil will be disbursed and it won’t be as slippery. If you can find shelter to wait out the rain, it may be to your advantage to do so.
Another thing that will help make your motorcycle trip pleasurable is riding a machine that you can trust to get you from point A to point B quickly and safely. Making sure your bike is in good working order before the trip begins is one way to make that happen. Routine maintenance may be boring and time consuming, but it’s also necessary. A few minutes spent every day to check the oil level and tire pressure can save you from having engine trouble or a flat tire while you’re on the road. You don’t need to be an expert mechanic to make sure your machine is in good condition. Spend a little time checking the drive system and the braking system now and you won’t have to worry about it while you’re traveling.
Because a motorcycle is inherently unstable you should make sure it will handle well when you’re in the saddle. When you’re packing, don’t overdo it. Take only what you think you’ll actually need, and pack it as low on the machine as you possibly can. If you keep the center of gravity low, the motorcycle will handle better. Pack heavier items in saddlebags and smaller, lighter things in the trunk or on the seat. Rolling clothes instead of folding them will save space, and allow you to take an extra pair of pants or a sweatshirt. Instead of taking a big, heavy jacket, opt for smaller, lighter clothing that you can wear in layers. That way you can take a sweatshirt or light jacket off as the day warms up. If you plan on staying in motels, there’s no need to carry a sleeping bag and tent–that room could be used for another change of clothing.
Guest post from Sydney Sommers. Sydney writes about motorcycle insurance quotes for MotorcycleInsurance.com.