The movie star swagger of James Dean and Marlon Brando certainly brings to mind the outsider status of the motorcycle. And, whether it comes to the prototypical leather jacket or the attitude, there are a lot of things about motorcycling and the open road that offer an appeal beyond the movie screen.
But, while there’s definitely a rebellious appeal to getting out on the open road on a motorcycle, you’ll need a lot more than a leather jacket to have the kind of road trip adventure you’re looking for. Whether you’re heading to an unknown destination or looking to see an old place in a new way, there are a lot of things to keep in mind before starting up the bike.
Whether you need to invest in some motorcycle adventure products before making the journey or just need to ensure that your bike’s in fine form for the trip, here are a few things to do before throwing caution to the wind.
Think (and plan) ahead
A short motorcycle trip that lasts a day or two may not require the same type of planning as a long-term adventure, so making sure you’ve got everything you need is of paramount importance. Instead of leaving things to chance since you don’t know what you’ll find along the road, make sure that you’ve got an available quantity of any needed prescription medication and make sure you’re not running low on the toiletries you’ll be taking with you. In addition to making sure your motorcycle inspection documents are in order, you’ll also want to ensure that your house is taken care of in your absence. Whether you have plants or pets, it’s a good idea to reach out to a neighbour or close friend at least a couple of weeks in advance to make sure you don’t have to adjust your departure date.
Get the right gear
Weather conditions, particularly if you’re going for the long haul, can change on a dime so it’s important to have all the gear you might need, even if there’s a slim chance you’ll come across difficult weather. When it comes to motorcycling, there’s nothing between you and the elements, so packing synthetic fabrics that have wicking properties will allow you to layer while keeping you warm and dry. In addition, you’ll want to pack some light shirts, an extra pair of pants, a set of gloves and a fleece vest. If you think you might be heading into a storm, packing a rain suit and a heated jacket can go a long way towards keeping your adventure on the right track. It might seem unnecessary to say, but night goggles and sunglasses will also help you handle bright days and long drives.
All the extras to spare
It can be enticing to pack light so there’s less to haul down the road with you, but finding things when you need them can sometimes throw a wrench into your plans. Instead of changing it, ensure you have your ID, your insurance, your phone charger, a notepad, a pen and a map for those places where your phone may not help you. While you’ll need to bring along the basics like shampoo, conditioner, and soap if you’re not stopping at a hotel, you’ll also want to pack toothpaste, deodorant, suntan lotion and lip balm. It’s never good to be without the proper tools if you suddenly require a roadside tune-up, so preparing a toolkit complete with a hex key, an air pump, a screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench can go a long way towards adding to your sense of ease and freedom on the road. Last but not least, there will be moments along the way where you won’t know when your next meal is, so pack some healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and granola bars for an instant energy boost.
Check your motorcycle
The most important aspect of a good road trip is going to be the reliability of your bike. Before kicking off for the long journey, give your bike a thorough check-up so it’s not something you’ll need to make time for on the road. If a scheduled service is coming up in the near future, take your bike to the shop to get it checked beforehand. At the same time, you may also want to change your oil, oil filter and fuel filter in addition to scheduling a tune-up and chassis inspection. If your tires have experienced routine wear and tear and are nearing the end of their life, consider getting them replaced. Since you’ll be relying on your luggage to carry all of the stuff you’re taking with you, make sure your luggage bags are installed and attached to your bike properly for safety and comfort. For any additional tune-ups, you may want to bring along a tire pressure gauge, a tire tread wear gauge, a funnel, and a few motorcycle cleaning supplies.
Do a daily checkup
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It might seem like it’s all fun and games once you’re on the road for your adventurous trip, but to keep things running smoothly you’ll need to complete some daily checks on your wheels. Before you start out for the day, do your T-CLOCS inspection, checking your tires and wheels, controls, lights and electrical, oil and fluids, chassis and side stand. Once you’re at the gas station and ready to refuel, check your motor oil when the bike is at a full operating temperature and ensure that your luggage load is secured and safe. You’ll want to take advantage of every gas stop you can too by performing a visual inspection of your bike and cleaning off any accumulations of dirt or insects. At the end of the day, when parking for the night, choose a secure parking spot and cover your motorcycle.
Few final tips
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It’s easy to get carried away when you’re on the road, but you’ll want to take a laid-back approach for a trip that’s worthy of all the planning. Instead of thinking of your trip as a destination, enjoy each day and ensure you’re not pushing your bike and your body too hard. It’s important to take the time to rest and relax and get off the road in good time so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of an unknown place. It’s easy to get out of the habit of healthy eating when you’re on vacation, but for the sake of making your motorcycling trip sustainable make sure that you’re drinking water and eating foods that are light throughout the day. While you don’t want to erode your road adventure by over-planning, having some ideas for where you want to get in a day can enable you to do some planning ahead of time so you’re not scrambling for a place to stay.
There’s something to be said for picking up your helmet and heading for the road without a care. However, when it comes to a long-distance adventure, it’s important to have the things you’ll need to make it worthy of the road. By writing a list, checking your bike and bringing all the right gear, you should be well on your way to setting that departure date.
About the author:
Jessica is a traveller by heart. She loves to pen down her thoughts related to her travel experiences and share her knowledge about motorcycle adventure products to ensure that other’s travel safe and enjoy the ride. She loves to meet new people during her trips.
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