The feel of the open road laid out in front of you, the smells, the sights, the sounds. For the majority of riders, these are the most alluring aspects of riding a motorcycle. And in the past decade, the U.S. has seen a significant uptick in the number of motorcycle riders. However, gone are the days when the typical rider was a young buck. According to the most recent statistics,
- The median age of motorcycle owners is now 50.
- The percentage of owners who are married is now 68%.
- There are now well over 13 million motorcycle owners in the United States.
But whether you’re an experienced vet or a beginner, if you’re planning a long-distance motorcycle trip, preparing your mind, body, and gear ahead of time can ensure an enjoyable trip.
Wrap Your Head Around It
It’s true, a long-distance motorcycle adventure will take you away from work and home responsibilities. And this can feel overwhelming if you haven’t taken a vacation in a while, or if you feel underwater at work. But remember, whether you’re an over-stressed business owner, time away is crucial to help your brain recharge and rejuvenate. In fact, it’s been proven that time off can actually boost productivity upon return.
So, if this long-distance trip has been a dream of yours, it’s time to turn that dream into a reality. Start by alerting staff to your absence, and appoint a trusted employee to tackle specific tasks. You can let clients know you’ll be out, and make appointments to reconnect with them a few days after your return. Having a solid strategy in place will ensure your business keeps running smoothly so you can get away and decompress.
Plan Your Route
This should be done early in your preparations since your route will determine the difficulty level you’ll need to train for and the gear you’ll need to pack. Consider rugged and hilly terrain as well as temperatures and adverse weather conditions. If your trips thus far have only involved short distances in mild weather, you might want to gradually work your way up to higher mileage, especially if this will be your first time doing an overnighter. Take into account the number of miles you plan to cover each day compared with your current ability and experience. Set reasonable mileage goals, and take challenging roads into account. This is especially important if you’re crossing the border into Canada or Mexico.
Build Your Mileage
Once you’ve planned your route, you’ll have a good idea of how many miles you’ll need to cover each day to reach any planned rest stops. If this number soars above what you’re used to or what you can safely accomplish, you’ll need to train before your trip and increase your mileage gradually. If you’ll be going uphill or riding a lot of curvy roads during a large portion of your trip, you should train on equally challenging terrain before you set out on your motorcycling vacation.
Prep Your Bike
Before you hop on your bike, you’ll want to give it a good check-up. Revzilla suggests giving the bike a thorough once-over, examining moving parts for wear, checking the battery, and checking fluid levels.
If you’d feel more comfortable having a professional check out your bike, schedule a tune-up well in advance of your trip as many service shops can be booked for weeks during their busy season, and if a repair is necessary it could push back your trip. While you’re in prep mode, put together a maintenance kit with tools, jumper cables, an inflation kit, and motor oil.
Pack Your Gear
You’ll want to pack light for your adventure, so stick to the essentials such as clothing, food, hydration, legal documents, and a map. If you find yourself on your trip with an abundance of unused gear that you regret having packed, stop by a post office (if that’s feasible) and ship those items home. The reduction in weight will make the rest of your trip easier and more enjoyable.
Prepare for Unforeseen Events
In a perfect world, your trip will go off without a hitch. However, life has a funny way of throwing curveballs, so you always want to be prepared. Pack an emergency roadside kit, and be sure to share your route with someone from home. You may even want to have set check-in days so family or friends can keep tabs on your travels. If you’re crossing into Canada or Mexico, you’ll need to take your passport, so make several copies, and leave one at home.
Hide some extra cash on your person too, but have a plan in case you lose your wallet. The best solution, in this case, is to ask family or friends to use a money transfer service to quickly send funds. If you happen to be in Guadalajara, for example, you can easily receive funds through a site like Remitly, which offers speedy, safe, and secure transactions, and the opportunity to pick up your cash at more than 40,000 locations.
Ready Your Home
There are also steps you’ll need to take to make sure that your home is secure in your absence. Ask a friend or neighbor to check on your home daily, and leave them a key so that they can bring in the mail and water the plants.
Unplug all small appliances, including televisions and computers, before you leave. This will protect them from power surges and electrical storms. Instead of leaving the lights on to ‘trick’ burglars, buy an inexpensive timer and set a few lights to power on between dusk and dark.
If your goal is to log some miles on your motorcycle and discover new places, then you’re well on your way to increasing your cycle time–not only while you’re on your trip, but while you train for it as well. And once you’ve returned home, washed the laundry, and packed your gear away, you’ll likely find that your mind is already focused on your next ride.
To fully immerse yourself in your preferred destination, you want a carefully crafted travel guide that allows you to enjoy the sites like a local. Wild Bum offers a variety of guides to match a variety of getaways. Check us out today!