It’s something you’ve been planning for quite some time, and you’re finally ready to take your motorcycle on a long road trip. Are you absolutely sure you’re ready? A motorcycle road trip is a lot different than a car trip. There’s a lot more to consider, such as weather (there’s little protection from thunderstorms on a motorcycle, and riding in bad weather is extremely dangerous). Moreover, you need to be aware of local rules and ordinances in regards to your bike.
Use this guide to ensure you’re fully prepared for whatever the road may bring, and that your trip is as successful as you hope it to be.
Pack Light and Use Saddle and Tank Bags
A backpack can be worn, but don’t pack it too full. You don’t want it to weigh you down. Saddlebags and tank bags are where you should store your heavier items, such as boots, a change of clothes, and a first aid kit. Unfortunately, space is limited so be discerning and choose to only pack those items that will be most beneficial in an emergency.
You can choose a pre-packaged first aid kit, or you can create a DIY first aid kit. Outside Online recommends including equipment (flashlight, etc.), medications, CPR and bleeding treatments (gauze, etc.), wound care items, and elastic bandaging. Include water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated on the road. Energy bars and dried fruit can keep your energy up between meals, so include those snacks as well.
Pack waterproof clothing, such as a poncho and rain pants. You never know when weather can change, and you could end up roadside waiting for the rain to subside before it’s safe to travel again. For this reason, it may be good to also pack a small pop-up tent. To avoid this potentially dangerous scenario, frequently check weather forecasts.
Preparing Your Bike for the Open Road
The last thing you need is a breakdown on an empty highway. Do the following to ensure your bike is in good working condition before beginning your road trip.
- Check the tire pressure using an air pressure monitor
- Replace worn tires
- Check the brakes and clutch cables
- Ensure lights are clean and in good working condition
- Check that oil and fluids are at proper levels
- Ensure chassis is intact and not cracked
- Ensure stand isn’t cracked or bent
Preparing for Accidents and Other Unfortunate Events
It’s essential to have a plan should an accident occur. In the event an accident does occur, call the emergency services for your area immediately. Do not wait; the first hour after a trauma can mean the difference between life and death, and the shock may cause you to believe you’re uninjured when in fact you are injured.
Once you’ve notified authorities, move your bike off the roadway if you can. While you’re waiting for police, you can exchange information with the other motorist (if there’s another motorist involved).
Take pictures of the accident, including damages to your bike. This is especially important; regardless who is at fault. Pictures can help your case in the event of legal action.
At this point, you’ll want to call your insurance company and report the accident. Never head out on the open road without insurance; this is illegal and it can end up costing you a fortune. Before any road trip, call your insurance agent and discuss your coverage. You may find that more than basic coverage is needed for a long trip.
Consider insurance coverage that includes towing and rentals (in the event of an accident). If you’re traveling with a passenger, your motorcycle insurance should include guest passenger liability. Moreover, you can discuss the discounts that may be available to you, such as safe driver discounts, senior citizen discounts, and discounts for included safety features.
When it comes to travel, there’s nothing more liberating than a motorcycle road trip. These trips provide a scenic view and a great deal of fun. As long as you’re prepared, you should have a great time with little to no trouble.