A cross country motorcycle trip can be especially exciting. Whether this is a solo motorcycle trip or an adventure with some friends, it is important to be prepared. Long distance motorcycle riding can be especially daunting, especially for the novice rider. That’s why it is important to prepare and keep these tips in mind when going on a cross country motorcycle trip.
1. Have your motorcycle serviced and checked over by an experienced mechanic. It’s definitely a good idea to replace any parts with excessive wear or that are nearing the end of their life. You don’t want to break down in the middle of nowhere.
2. Make sure you pack the following:
· Cell phone and charger
· First aid kit
· Tire repair kit
· Tool kit
· A map – it’s always good to have backup, even with GPS
· Water, a water bottle, and easily portable snacks
· Any medication you take
· Rain gear
· Jacket and gloves
· An easily portable motorcycle cover
· Clothing- pack light, easily portable clothes
· Laundry detergent and quarters
· Dry socks
· Ear plugs
3. Make a customized map and take it with you. The Harley-Davidson Ride Planner is a great map service, and allows you to the ability to find dealers, hotels, events, and points of interest along the way. There are other free map services online, as well. Some come in the form of apps that you can add to your phone, but it’s great to have a paper back up, just in case. These map services are great for all long distance motorcycle trips.
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4. Add travel apps to your phone to safe big bucks on hotel rates. You can find much better rates using apps like Priceline and Hotwire. Just plug in your city and voila – great rates! The only downside is you may not be able to know the name of the hotel before booking. In my experience, anything with 2 ½ stars and above is great! While you are at it, add a weather app, too!
5. Find a hotel with free breakfast and load up. Hotels offer fantastic free breakfasts, and this can be a great way to save on your cross country motorcycle trip. Eat a large breakfast before you start your day. Even hotels that have just a continental bar can be a great place to stock up on snacks. Many will let you have your fill of granola bars, muffins, mini boxes of cereal, and fruit – not to mention coffee. These easily portable snacks can be a godsend on your cross country motorcycle trip.
6. During any long distance motorcycle trip, make it a point to stop regularly for food and drink. When you ride, you sweat, even in cooler conditions. Replenish your water frequently to stay hydrated and alert. And eat snacks throughout the day, as well.
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7. Plan some of your stops ahead of time. I know – I really love to fly by the seat of my pants, too, but try to plan at least your most important stops ahead of time. This way you won’t be kicking yourself for missing something. Stops can also be great for breaking up long days on the bike. If you will be riding a lot on a particular day, find a site to see midway through your day. You won’t regret it.
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8. Take lots of pictures! No matter how many photos I take, I always wish I took more. When undertaking a cross country motorcycle trip, you compact a lot of adventure into a short amount of time. After your trip, you may find you can’t remember everything you did. Fortunately you can use your photos to jog your memory and get shots of the people and places you see along the way – even on a solo cross country motorcycle trip.
9. Some mom and pop locations and rural shops do not accept credit cards. Make sure you carry plenty of cash, just in case. And, when budgeting for your trip, make sure to pad your trip sufficiently. No one wants to be in the midst of a great trip only to realize you are running short on money.
10. If you are riding in the summer, invest in a cooling vest. If you are riding in the fall, try a heated vest. Great gear sets you up for a great time!
Long distance motorcycle riding is a great way to bond with friends and family, or just be one with nature, the world around you, and your bike. No matter your reason, be sure to ride safe. If you are involved in a motorcycle crash, call 1-800-MOTORCYCLE for help from a team of biker lawyers. The experienced lawyers at Kass & Moses can help you recover so that you can ride again!
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