By Alessandra de Faria
For open-road enthusiasts looking for a little more adventure this summer, a motorcycle road trip is the perfect way to travel. It’s the perfect road trip idea for one, or two, or for that adventurous couple that wants to do something a little different this year.
Like any great adventure, the more you plan, the more fun you'll have. So, let's delve into the world of motorcycle driving, and how to plan for your cross-state, cross-country, or multi-country adventure for those who want to head north (or south) of the border.
Must-Have Items for Motorcycle Driving
The open road, the warm summer breeze, and the freedom of being on a bike are all liberating, but safety should not be overlooked. Biking can make for very loud trips. One of the must-have items every biker should own is a quality pair of earplugs. These additional items will help ensure safe arrival at your destination:
A protective jacket
A tinted visor
Saddlebags for carry-on items
A padded seat cushion
Comfort is a must, especially as you're trekking along the open road for hundreds of miles at a time. But every biker is different. So, make a list of the imperative items you need for your trip ahead of time so that you can relax knowing you're prepared for the open road.
Tip for Bad Weather
Summer's the best time to take a road trip. That is, of course, for when it isn't. Those unexpected 2 PM thunderstorms, wind gusts, and hail storms can wreak havoc on your travels. That's why you need to plan accordingly. Map out your trip in advance... and, don't forget the roadmap (or GPS). You don't want to get lost in the middle of nowhere, and not know how to get back on track during your drive.
When packing for your motorcycle driving trip, some must-have items include:
Raincoats in your saddlebag,
A helmet visor to improve visibility,
A leather jacket (and vest for warmer days) to protect you from heavy winds and the roadway elements,
The perfect jeans to keep you comfortable on the saddle during the long ride.
These are obvious items every biker owns. But, preparing for the unexpected will also help keep you dry, and comfortable, no matter what you encounter on the open road.
Demonstrate Safe, Defensive Motorcycle Driving
Drivers safety also applies to auto drivers. They need to show respect and caution when traveling alongside motorcycles. For motorcycle riders, easily protect yourself by using the entire lane while driving on crowded roadways, rather than lane splitting. This creates barriers around your bike on crowded roads. Using headlamps in dark (and light) conditions helps alert other drivers you're nearing.
Don't Underestimate Safety and the Importance of Planning
Yes, you really should wear a helmet, even if you've been biking for 20 years. The more protective gear you're wearing on your motorcycle, the safer you are in the event of an accident. You should protect your body, face, and eyes on the open road, as you never know what elements you'll encounter along the way. There are certain items you want to bring on every bike trip including:
A helmet and goggles to protect your head, face, and eyes,
Sunscreen and protective sun gear to minimize sun damage,
Body armor to wear below your clothing,
Compression gear to help keep you cool as the weather heats up.
Then, of course, there's your test run before the big date to set off on your road trip. Taking the bike out on a test ride allows you to check for low tire pressure, issues with the braking system, or other possible mechanical issues you need to tend to before heading out for the summer.
Bikers should also map out trips in advance, or at least have a solid idea of the places they're visiting. Map out the rest stops along the way, book hotel stays in advance, and plan for restroom stops and meal time before you head out on the open road. Planning in advance minimizes stress and results in the most enjoyable travels during your summer road trip.
Sounds simple enough, right? But, many biking enthusiasts plan so much for the trip, and map out everything, that they forget to enjoy the journey. Having a plan will keep you on track. But, enjoy the small moments along the way. If things don't go 100% to plan, don't fret about it. Have a hankering for a good motorcycle road trip? Learn how to get your motorcycle license to get started.