Roger Rosentreter Flickr.com Web February 25, 2007
Since the production of the first motorcycle in 1894 by Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, the motorcycle industry has gone through a drastic change. Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield were probably the best companions for long distance trips, they still are, but now bike lovers have a lot more choice to choose from a number of other powerful and efficient bikes. Honda, KTM, BMW, Yamaha and Kawasaki are few amongst many that are loved and preferred by bike lovers these days.
While there have always been motorcycle lovers since this piece of machinery came into existence, but in the recent years, the number of people to have joined the motorcyclist bandwagon and the people taking up long road trips has increased dramatically.
Having a sturdy and powerful bike would surely tempt you to take up long road trips at some point in time and only a motorcycle enthusiast would know the thrill and delight of taking up such trips. If you are a pro in these road trips, you would have surely figured out the tricks and tips of having a successful journey.
For the first-timers here are some important tips that you must keep in mind before taking up your maiden voyage.
1. Choose a comfortable bike: We know that you love your bike! But if you are planning to go on a road trip, you need to be sure that yours wheels are comfortable too. Long journeys can be strenuous, so you need to have a bike that you can ride comfortably.
Usually, small changes to the handlebars and seats can enhance the comfort levels. Having proper headlights and other safety gears also boost up the confidence level while you are out on those lonely roads.
2. Get your bike serviced before you start: A good amount of preparation is required before taking up any road trip. Getting your bike serviced from an authorised mechanic gets critical. All the lights and the tyres should be checked and changed, if required.
Tyres should be according to the terrain that you are planning to ride the bike on. Different type of tyres are recommended for off-road biking, so make sure that your bike has suitable tyres. Electronic covers are essential to safeguard your bike’s vital electronics from rocks and other elements, so don’t hesitate to equip your bike as per it’s requirements.
3. Accessorize your bike: A road trip involves a lot of planning for the seen and the unforeseen incidents that might happen. Useful bike accessories can effectively save you from trouble in unwanted situations.
Crash protection gears such as frame sliders, fork sliders, swingarm spools, bar ends etc are essential in safeguarding your precious bike even from minor crashes. And if you thought radiator guards were useless, think again. They can save you from a hefty hole in your pockets because even a small stone can damage the radiator.
The good news is that nowadays markets are flooded with amazing motorcycle adventure products. You name it and we got it, so there are a tons of varieties to choose from.
4. Pack light and smart: Travelling light is essential in order to have an enjoyable trip. Pack smartly- don’t keep too many extra pairs of clothing as while riding you’ll be in your riding gear only. Try and pack disposable stuff that can be discarded after use. Opt for a sturdy luggage rack, it’ll make it easier for you to carry your stuff comfortably.
5. Dress appropriately: Riding a bike is not the same as driving a four wheeler. You need to dress appropriately while riding your two wheeler, especially on long road trips. Riding pants, ankle length safety boots, riding jackets and full-face helmets are a must.
Additionally, knee and elbow guards can also be worn if you are off-roading. Initially, you might feel a little uncomfortable in such riding apparel, but once you are out on the road, it’ll make you feel safer and boost your confidence.
6. Start early and be realistic: Once everything is set and it’s time to hit the road, a thumb rule to remember is to start early- as soon as the sun is up and finish before the sun’s ready to hit the horizon. By starting early, you can beat the morning rush and cover a longer distance in short time.
Schedule your lunch in a manner so that you are able to avoid the sun when it’s low on the horizon and staring right into your eyes. Call it a day once the sun is about to set and rest sufficiently.
7. Plan your route properly: The route that you are going to follow should be properly planned and charted before entering an unknown territory. Planning each day’s route in advance is essential. Talking to the locals can help you with the road conditions of the route that you are about to catch.
Take help of technology and mark the fuel stations for quick fill-ups and spots where you can rest or even take a power nap if required. Be proactive and get the skid plates of your bike checked if you are planning an off-road bike trip.
8. Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is of utmost importance. Dehydration makes you feel tired and can even lead to a loss of concentration. Direct exposure to the sun and the wind will rob you of the water content sooner than you think. So, drinking water at regular intervals even when you don’t feel thirsty is highly recommended.
Carrying a backpack hydration system is a good idea. It’s basically a water bottle in a bag with a tube attached to it, that can easily be slung over your shoulder and be near your mouth. This hydration pack helps you drink water without stopping or taking off the helmet. Keeping a check on your pee is a good idea to check for dehydration.
9. Take regular Breaks: Trust me on this, you are going to need more breaks than you planned for. Take some time to drink water, have some snacks, relax your back and stretch your legs. Inadequate rest would wear you down by the end of your day’s ride. It’s not a marathon, so take breaks whenever your body and bike signals you to.
10. Carry Earplugs: This might seem unnecessary to you, but trust me, it’s going to help you cross the noisy highways without the loss of hearing. Earplugs also help in reducing the wind noise, they are easily available and they literally occupy a tiny space in your luggage. So, there’s no harm in carrying these tiny pieces even if you don’t get to use them on your trip.
Plan your trip intelligently and do not ever compromise on your safety, because you get only one shot at life.