When you are a motorcycle enthusiast, you love to take to the open road for long trips. You enjoy the outdoors and the ride much more than if you are in a car. However, planning for a long journey on a motorcycle requires careful thought, planning and organization.
First on the list is a thorough inspection of your bike. Your tires must be properly inflated and if a tire looks worn, replace it before the trip, as it is bound to let you down. Don’t forget to pack an air pressure monitor: you will need it frequently on your trip.
Check the lights: your turn signals, brake lights and headlights, both high and low beam, must be in perfect working order.
Check your engine oil, brake fluid and coolant. Inspect your controls: cables, clutch, brakes must be working.
Is your stand secure? Inspect the centre stand and the side stand and check for any cracks or damage.
Make sure the suspension, chain, fasteners and frame are in good working order. Ensure both stands fold away correctly, when the stands are not in use.
Depending on your destination and the time of year, your clothing must be appropriate to the weather conditions but should also be comfortable to wear and easy to clean on a long trip. The most important item of clothing will be your touring suit and it pays in the long run to buy good quality.
Wearing thin layers of clothing allows you to strip off when you get too hot and to add to your comfort when you get too cold. Waterproof clothing is a must on a long trip, unless you travel through the desert.
Food and Drink
There are some excellent energy bars on the market and packing mineral water is a must. Keeping up your energy levels and focus during a long motorcycle riding trip will depend on the number of rest stops you put in and on the nutritional value of the meals and snacks you have. Dehydration is a serious issue so be sure to drink plenty of soft drinks or water during the day.
Don’t overload your backpack and make sure you don’t overload your storage bags either. Heavier items should be placed at the bottom, with lighter items being the final layer on top. Secure all loose items and make sure that the weight will be centralised. Don’t forget to place essential items like your water bottle, First Aid and repair kits, maps, driving licence and passport in a handy place for easy and quick access.
Before you set off, let somebody know the route you are planning to take and how you are planning to stay in touch. Regular contact will ensure family and friends are reassured as to your whereabouts and you will get a morale boost, every time you hear from “back home”. If friends and family know where you are and that you are getting in touch every couple of days, they won’t be suspicious of a scam, when they suddenly get a plea for an urgent money transfer in an emergency situation.
Make sure you always wear protective clothing like your touring suit and your full-face helmet for personal safety. You will need a shield that will keep dust, rain, snow and winds out of your face and allow you maximum vision. Don’t forget to wear good quality footwear that will protect you.