Tips for Long Distance Motorcycle Trip
Some tips for preparing and planning for a long distance trip on your motorcycle trip.
Things are now starting to open back up so I know many of you who have been cooped up are just itching to get out and go for a nice long ride or trip on your motorcycle.
There are some tings to think about when planning this.
Planning the trip
- Check the laws for the states you will be going through before you leave. In some states it is against the law to ride in the Left lane all the time. Most require you to slow down and if possible, move over a lane when coming up on an Emergency vehicle on the side of the road.
- Check the weather for trip. Not only for your destination but for the entire route.
- Check your planned route for road closers and/or construction projects. You can check most states Department of Transportation, Department of Hi-ways, or State Police websites to find that information.
- When traveling by bike it can be hard to read you print out of directions. If you put them in a Ziploc bag, and that one in another one (Plastic page protectors can be used as well). Then zip tie them to your handlebars so you can see them. They are water proof and you can see them without having to stop. (Another idea is buying magnet strips and putting them in the Ziploc bag then it will stay on your tank.
- If you are using your smart phone as a GPS make sure it is securely mounted someplace that does not obstruct your view. Also be aware if you have water proof phone and run into rain when riding, it is possible for the rain drops to activate your touch screen and you may lose your map and/or some of your phone settings might get changed. Some phone of the newer phones have issues with the vibrations from the bike, so you may want to invest in phone holder that helps with that.
- Put I.C.E. (incase of emergency numbers) in your phone so if something happens, the First Responders or hospital have someone to call for you.
- Make sure everyone in your group knows the route or has a copy of it in case you are separated.
- Have a plan for if you get separated from the group you are riding with. (Maybe stop when you see you are separated and if they don't catch up then start calling, if you are behind and loose the ones in front and are not sure if they took an exit stop and call.) One good rule of thumb is: if separated, always go to the first gas station on the right on the route where you are supposed to meet. **just a suggestion you can work out your own plans***
- Make sure everyone in your group knows each other's cell phone numbers and has them programmed into their phones. Make sure that everyone has their cell phone on them and it is charged and ready to go!! Also have a charger handy incase the phone does go dead you can get to someplace you can plug in the charger and make a call that way.
- Every group should have a First Aid Kit with them.
- Pack a tool kit. At the very least have the stock tool kit your bike came with along with Duct Tape and Zip Ties. I also have a knife, flashlight, multitool, Metric and standard Allen wrenches. Another good thing to have along the same lines is Road Side Assistance of some kind. I have it with my Insurance and with my Discover Card and AAA.
- A pen or pencil and paper are also a good Idea. A notebook with pen in a metal case, can find at Barns and Noble that I keep in my vest pocket.
- The following is a check list you should follow before you leave on the trip.
- You should call your credit card company and let them know you will be traveling. If not they may put a Fraud Hold on your account.
- If you take daily meds make sure you have enough for the whole trip and that you take them at as close to your normal time as possible.
- If you have any emergency meds (Epie PINs for allergies, Inhalers for Asthma, Glycogen for Diabetics, and/or Nitro for Cardiac), Bring it and let someone traveling with you know where it is and how to help you take it
- Don't forget: Sunscreen, rain gear, Driver License, Insurance cards, money, credit card, medical or insurance cards, camera, phone, charger, glasses and or contacts and their care supplies (if you need them). Over the counter pain reliever is also a good thing.
- Have clothes for all weather climates you may encounter. HOT and steamy, Hot and dry, Rain, Wind, Cool and damp.
- Make sure your tires are good and the bike is in good running order, all lights work and the brakes are good.
- Packing the bike for a long trip is very important. You have limited storage space on a bike and even less if you have passenger that will be riding with you. You don’t want to overload your bike or cause the bike be out of balance. The best way to pack a bike is evenly space the load on each side and across the back. If you have a truck or luggage rack that is great. If you are tying everything on your backseat or fender be careful. Your stuff should be securely attached. Bungee nets or cords are good for that. You should also try to pack stuff low on the bike. It is not good to have a pile of stuff on back that is taller than the rider. Everything you put on the bike adds weight and changes the balance and handling of the bike. This is especially true if you end up in rain or on curvy roads. There are trailers you pull behind your bike, just remember that these also have the same issues of weight and balance, and they also change the handling of you bike even when empty.
The Day of the trip
- Try to get good nights sleep before heading out. (Even in a car or truck this is good advice).
- Do stretches to loosen up your muscles and make sure you are feeling good before taking off. It is important that you are not sick or under the weather when you are starting out. It just makes for horrible ride or even a dangerous one.
- Stop if you need to don't push yourself beyond your limits!!! (Better there late then not at all).
- "Drink lots of water!!” A frozen water bottle on a strap is great but it still works if you have a cup holder or can get to ride in the windshield. Just so it is easily and safely accessible while going down the road.
- Make sure your Cell Phone is fully charged and that you have a charger with you so when you stop for the night you can charge it (or if you can plug it in and charge on the go if you are able).
- Make sure you have not only credit cards but also some cash on you not just on the bike or in the car/truck. Incase something happens to the bike/car/truck at a stop (God forbid) you still have access to money.
- Eat good meals when you stop to eat!! Less sugar more protein!!!
- Watch for Deer and other critters!!! They are running even in the middle of the day!!!!
- At gas stops it is usually a good idea to pull off away from the pumps when you are done filling and stretch and walk a bit before climbing back on.
- When riding in a group you should know how far everyone can go on a tank of fuel and have prearranged signals for when someone needs fuel.
- Be aware of your surroundings!!! Avoid riding in blind spots and watch for hazards!!!
- Pay attention to Road signs. Not only to know how far you are from where you want to be but also so you can pinpoint your location if something happens. Also they may give info on Traffic conditions or changes or construction. **NOTE*** The little green numbered marker signs on the side of the interstates are mile markers and tell how many miles into a state you are. They start at 0 at the Southern and Western most point and increase going North and East. (In most states) The also usually coincide with Exit numbers.
- Most States have special fines for speeding in Construction Zones
- More and more places are using Camera's at intersections beware and follow all traffic laws
- Hot weather tip: If you where a long sleeve T-shirt you can soak it in water at each stop and put it back on. It will keep you cool with the air hitting the wet shirt as you go down the road. You can do the same with a dew-rag or head scarf.
- How to deal with Toll Roads: If it is the new version with the tickets you need to stop when you get on the toll road and pick up a ticket. Do not lose it and put it where you can get to it. When you leave the toll road you will need to produce the ticket so they can determine how much you owe. If it is the “Cash” or old style, you will need to be able to get change out and into the basket or to the person in the I usually pull off to the shoulder before the booth and get my money out. Lessens the time you hold up the line digging for change. There are ectronic “I-Pass” or Subscriptions that you can buy to get though the tolls. You pay up front then don’t have to stop. You have a ransponder that allows you to just bypass the booths. This is good if you travel the toll roads a lot. And they do work on motorcycles or from inside your vest pocket.
- Some states are using Decibel meters and if your bike is too load and you are unable to fix it on the spot they are confiscating your bike. My Advice Don’t Rev your bike unnecessarily especially in residential areas!!!
- If for some reason you are pulled over by the Police. If you don’t feel you are in a safe area to pull over, you have the right to turn on your flashers slow down and continue to a safe and populated area to pull over. If you are still not sure or uneasy as to if the car pulling you over is really a police officer you can call 911 on your cell phone to make sure it is an officer behind you. You are also within your rights to ask the officer for photo id, just be nice about it so you don’t piss him or her off before they can tell you why they stopped you.
- Info you will need when talking to 911
- Your Car Make and Model
- Info you will need when talking to 911
- Your current location(City, State, Street name, Direction of Travel, Mile marker if on Interstate)
- Description of Police Car attempting to pull you over.
Additional Info that may help
- Your License Plate number
- The License Plate number of the Police Car attempting to pull you over
Here are some more articles and videos to help with preparing for a long motorcycle trip. How to pack your bike, and other information you may find helpful.