4 Ways to Prepare for Long-Distance Motorcycle Rides
Most serious motorcycle enthusiasts attempt at least one long-distance ride in their lives. While it's not for everyone, those who find themselves addicted to touring describe the feeling of freedom as being impossible to match on a normal ride. Because long-distance rides can be challenging, it's important for anyone setting out on their first one to be prepared. Read on to find out about four ways to get started preparing for that first long-distance ride.
1. Take the Challenges of Long-Distance Rides Seriously
It's okay for riders to decide that long-distance riding isn't for them. There are plenty of alternatives that require less of a time commitment and fewer preparations. Dirt bike riders, for example, must spend time improving and maintaining their bikes, especially if they want to find a graphics kit, but there's no need to commit to full days in the saddle.
Long-distance riders need to be very comfortable on their bikes. They also need to be physically fit, have the skills required to ride at high speeds confidently and be able to maintain full concentration for hours at a time.
The challenges of long-distance rides extend beyond skill and comfort, too. Bikers need to be familiar with essential motorcycle maintenance tasks if they plan to ride across areas of the country where services are limited. They'll also need to have solid navigational skills, especially when touring alone.
2. Figure Out Luggage Configurations in Advance
It's much harder to pack effectively for a motorcycle tour than for an ordinary road trip. Most riders use a combination of a top box, roll bag, and panniers, which can weigh down a bike significantly and change how it handles.
Getting the luggage configuration right is essential to maintaining both comfort and safety. Take the time to try out new gear in advance, and make sure everything is packed in a way that makes sense. There are few things worse than arriving exhausted at the first nightly checkpoint only to realize that all the most crucial gear is packed at the very bottom of a roll bag.
3. Research Routes Carefully
While it may be tempting to hit the open road with the full freedom to choose how to spend each day, newcomers to motorcycle touring should really research their routes in advance. Mapping out the route will make it easier to plan appropriate stopping points, understand what kinds of terrain the bike will have to handle, and make sure it will be possible to keep gas in the tank.
4. Plan Frequent Stops
It's a good idea to plan frequent stops. Although circumstances may arise in which riders have no choice but to put hundreds of miles behind them at a time, that should be a worst-case scenario, not a plan. Getting up and walking around at least every few hours will make the ride more comfortable and give the rider a chance to see the country in ways that just aren't possible while on the move. Plus, more frequent, shorter stops won't lose riders any time on the road compared to riding too hard and then needing to take hours-long breaks.
It's Time to Get Excited
Long-distance motorcycle rides are challenging, but that doesn't mean riders shouldn't also be excited. That first chance to hit the open road can be truly exhilarating, and planning well in advance will help to ensure that riders are prepared for every potential scenario that could come up along the way.