A motorcycle road trip can be a fantastic way to have an adventure and see the world in a way that’s not possible in a car.
However, long motorcycle trips might take more planning than you might think.
Before you hit the open highway for your first motorcycle road trip, be sure you’re fully prepared with these important tips.
9 Important Tips for Your First Motorcycle Road Trip
Ready to start planning your first motorcycle road trip?
Here are 9 of the most important things you’ll need to know.
- Be Smart About Planning Your Route
While it may be tempting to ride like a free spirit and stop wherever and whenever you feel like it, you can’t count on that as your plan.
Plan your route carefully, with specific stops in mind ahead of time. If you’re exhausted or need fuel but the next town with hotels, gas stations, and restaurants is still 60 miles away, your casual joyride becomes a lot less joyful.
- Know What You Need to Pack
Packing for your first motorcycle road trip is a lot different than a long car ride, where there’s plenty of space in the trunk for things you might not end up needing.
You’ll want to pack lightly, so keep your destinations in mind when you consider what you really need for those climates and any activities you’re planning.
- Wear the Right Clothing
Weather can change frequently, and on long rides, you’ll also experience a variety of landscapes with different climates each day.
It’s best to dress in layers underneath your protective gear so that if something changes, it’s quick and easy to adjust and stay comfortable.
Keep your rain gear accessible in the event of an unexpected downpour.
- Get a Full-Face Helmet
Any good helmet usually works for around-town rides and shorter commutes, but the open highway brings greater challenges.
At higher speeds, a full-face helmet with a shield protects you from insects, dust, rain, and other potentially harmful hazards.
- Make Sure You Have the Right Gear
You’ll find that a long-distance motorcycle trip is a lot different than your typical ride around town in terms of what you’ll need to be comfortable.
Consider bike upgrades like throttle control, which keeps the throttle locked in position so you don’t need to wear out your hand constantly squeezing it.
A backrest isn’t a bad idea, either. Having that support can be a total game-changer after long hours on the highway.
And don’t forget the right saddlebags for your motorcycle. They allow you to pack more necessities and keep the important items handy.
- Be Aware of Your Posture
Just as sitting in an unsupportive chair becomes uncomfortable after a few hours, the same is true for riding your bike for long stretches.
It’s crucial to pay attention to your posture: if your muscles are tense or your body isn’t positioned properly, you may experience strains, injury, or become fatigued before you planned to stop.
Be sure to choose the right motorcycle for a long trip, and make adjustments as needed to be sure your body is in a healthy position.
Your hands should be about midway between your stomach and shoulders when they rest on the handlebars, with a slight bend in your elbows.
Keep muscles relaxed while you ride and correct when you notice you’re tensing up. This avoids fatigue, allowing you to react quickly to anything that might happen on the road and have better control over your bike.
- Wear Earplugs
Motorcycles are loud, and even though the noise level may not bother you much on short trips around town, it can really wear down your energy after long hours on the road.
Earplugs help keep the noise tolerable and protect your hearing, too.
- Check Your Motorcycle
You probably already know you should inspect your motorcycle before you leave for a road trip, but it’s also important to do so at the beginning or end of each day as you travel.
If you’re a beginner or not sure what you’re looking for, plan your stops in places where you can have a professional mechanic take a look.
- Take Plenty of Breaks
Unlike sitting in a car for long hours, riding a motorcycle requires muscle engagement and heightened awareness of your surroundings.
These factors can drain your energy, so it’s important to take breaks frequently (even if you don’t feel particularly tired or hungry).
Drink some water, have a quick snack, and stretch out your muscles for a few minutes.
Taking plenty of breaks can help you avoid a motorcycle accident by keeping you refreshed and alert throughout your ride.
There are a few safety tips to keep in mind while you ride:
- Be sure not to speed. It’s unsafe, and you’ll be less likely to enjoy the view.
- Get plenty of rest, and stop when you feel tired.
- Stay well hydrated by keeping a bottle of water where you can safely reach it.
- Pack a first aid kit.
While a motorcycle road trip might seem like an opportunity to be free-spirited and go with the flow, even the most seasoned pros know that proper planning is essential.
Being unprepared can put a halt to the fun pretty quickly, so refer back to these tips before you hit the road.