Every true-blooded touring motorcyclist dreams of riding out on a cross-country trip on their favorite bike. Regardless of whether you are riding between Mexican and Canadian borders or even venturing across multiple state lines within the United States, you will be spending a significant amount of time in the saddle, navigating unfamiliar territory.
Some Tips to Make Your Trip Memorable
This type of a trip is a far cry from your standard weekend or one-day trip and it’s important that you be well-prepared for it. Here are some useful tips for your cross country motorcycling trip:
- Tune up and service your bike– This is probably one of the first things you should be doing. After all, you don’t want to be stuck anywhere on a highway with a broken down vehicle. Get your bike serviced completely; check the tires to make sure there is plenty of tread. The headlights, indicators and brake lights should be in working condition as should the ignition system and all other electrical systems.
- Gasoline-filled bottles– No matter how well you chalk your route and follow highway signs, there could be times when you lose your way. And if that happens, it can be comforting to know that you have some gasoline to give you a few extra miles should you need them. Make sure you use a bottle with a leak-proof cap; the last thing you want is to deal with a potentially dangerous situation like a gasoline-soaked backpack. The Nash Fuel Bottle with Leather Sling is a perfect way to store some extra fuel on your motorcycle.
- Familiarize yourself with the directions– GPS is an extremely useful technology, but it has also made us a little lackadaisical when it comes to marking routes. So even when you are relying on GPS for directions, don’t forget that when you are on your motorcycle you can’t really search for directions on your cell phone without stopping. Adding something as simple as the Saddlemen Magnetic Phone Case is a great way to keep directions right on your gas tank off of a smart phone or GPS device.
- Don’t forget to waterproof your pack – Most good-quality packs will state they are waterproof, but you can’t really substantiate those claims until you actually get caught in a downpour with no shade in sight. This is why it’s best to use any waterproof gear you are carrying, to seal your pack. Instead of simply packing that extra jacket into the base of the pack, place it around all the things at the top of the pack. This will add an extra layer of protection to the items you are carrying in your bag. If you’re using only a pack strapped to a sissy bar, putting everything inside of a trash bag pefore placing into the bag is a great way to keep things dry.
- Pack smart- It’s important that you focus on what you would be reaching for more often, into your pack. For instance if you know you are going to need your gloves or goggles sometime while riding, place them at the top of the bag. The objective is to keep handy the things you are more likely to access quickly while you are on the road. You can push the things that you aren’t going to need as often, into the recesses of the pack.
- Pack the right kind of foods- When you are on the road for extensive hours, you are bound to get hungry. Pack foods that will last in your pack without leaking, smelling, spoiling or turning into a mess; which rules out foods like sandwiches. Pack foods like dried fruit, trail mix and beef jerky that you can munch on when hunger pangs strike and you want to take a quick snack stop.
- Converse with people you meet on your trip– Of course, you don’t need to get all pally with people and follow them into their homes; but you can safely converse with local people in any of the towns you happen to pass through. If you meet any other like-minded bikers who are also traveling that same route, there’s no harm in striking a conversation. You can share stories and tips and pick up useful information from more experienced travelers as well.
Pack weather-appropriate clothing and ensure that you evenly distribute everything in the packs on either side of your bike. This will add to the stability of the vehicle when you are cruising along the highway. As you can see, there is a lot of preparation that goes into a cross country motorcycling trip.
However, following these simple tips will ensure your ride is fairly stress free, allowing you to actually enjoy the scenery and the surroundings as you ride through the countryside.