You can not just throw in a few pairs of boxers in the backpack and off you go. It requires a lot of forethought and planning to embark on a two-wheeled transcontinental odyssey, weekend long motorcycle camping trip or even an overnight jaunt. First, you have to nail down a destination. Second, will you be motorcycle trekking with a group or will you go it alone?
You might want to pick up a copy of “Riding The World” by Gregory Frazier or Harley Davidson’s Ride Atlas. These must-have guides features scenic routes,maps and motorcycle travel advice. This informative volumes will help you decide if you want a weekend ride along the California coastline, The Grand Canyon or The Sturgis rally and many more. If you have GPS device you can load up a map of a place you want to visit complete with detailed guide to gas stations, hospitals, airports, hotels, restaurants, banks etc. You can visit the Harley Davidson website click the “experience” tab and find great information for riders and under “Great Roads” is a treasure trove of information to destinations and roads that are rated for scenic value. If you are the old-fashioned type of rider, you can bring along a compass and hard copies of maps of a certain region. Mad Maps offers weather-proof and maps.
You do not have to own a motorcycle to go on a full-blown motorcycle trek.There are motorcycle rental companies at almost any place near you. You can rent any models of Harley Davidson motorcycles or any brand motorcycle. Riders can rent a motorcycle on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Have a pre-flight inspection done on your motorcycle. Check if the tires are of correct pressure and tread. Always bring a tire gauge and check pressure regularly during your tour. Remember, not to overload stuff on your bike by adhering to the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) on your bike’s VIN plate or owner’s manual. Load the heavy stuff on the bottom and on center of the motorcycle so as not to affect the handling. You can wear up a tire fast if you travel at higher than normal speeds on under-inflated tires with heavier than normal loads.
If you expect to have your tires replaced on the trip. contact your dealer and order an extra set of tires on hold, then have him send them over to your next stop when your current pair got thin or damaged. This sort of planning makes you avoid tempting fate by stretching worn rubber to its limit. Always bring a tire repair kit or tire patch kit if things are still workable. If not, aforementioned strategy is one viable option. They say tread life expectancy is a ride around the perimeter of the United States, give or take.
Ideally, it would be nice if your cruiser has saddlebags ( throw-over or bolt on) and sissy bar bags with backrest of course. And additional tank bag, tail bag or fanny pack are convenient. You should make every space count. Things to pack are clothes (no cotton), rain gear, shoes, toiletries,bandanna, leather jacket, food, spare gloves and face shields (clear and tinted ), clean rags, water bottles,credit cards, cellphones, spare batteries, charger, digital camera, extra memory sticks, weather band radio, compass,led lights. For tools in separate bag, you need to pack duct tape, jumper cables, nuts and bolts,spark plugs. CO2 cartridges, fuses, cotter pins, resealable plastic storage bags (for dirty clothes), bulbs, bungee cords and net, pliers, knife, screwdrivers etc.
Bringing along tools to make roadside repairs on today’s new generation of high-tech motorcycles probably is not practical because modern motorcycles rarely breakdown anymore. But the simple thought of knowing that anything inside your tool pack can still be a lifesaver is comforting.
Your first aid kit should consist of hand cleaning wipes, rubber gloves, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, small packets of anti-biotic ointment, non-aspiring reliever. These are for treating abrasions, bleeding and insect stings. And bring basic over-the-counter medications such as anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, analgesics and Benadryl for allergic reaction. If things don’t go as planned and bikers get sick or injured while on tour virtually anywhere around the globe, there’s an insurance where you can avail of this medical evacuation program designed solely for motorcyclists. If you are a member and hospitalized a hundred miles or more from home, Medjet Assist will fly you to a hospital of your choice aboard a medically-equipped aircraft. Visit their website to know their annual membership fee.
If a motorcycle camping trip is right up your alley, you need to pack up an easy to pitch lightweight tent and self- inflatable mattress, that blow themselves up and in the morning all you have to do is open the valve, roll it up and you are ready to go. You also need camping utensils and portable cooking stove. You have to be creative in loading all your camping gear into the saddlebags, sissy bar bag or what have you. Make sure you know the rules of the campground you are heading to because not all welcome motorcycles. Do your research if a laundry facility and showers are what you are looking for in a motorcycle-friendly campgrounds.
A long cross- country motorcycle tour means you have to beat fatigue by getting adequate rest and sleep. You have to drag along with you appropriate riding gear to be ready with whatever weather-changes that you may encounter. Always re-hydrate by drinking water frequently especially crossing mountainous roads where there is notably thin dry air that can dehydrate you faster than you may have notice. Dehydration can cause confusion and delay response times. Bad combination if you are on a motorcycle. If you cross a desert like the Mojave, don’t be tempted to go shirtless because of heat. Hose down your shirt and jacket or scarf with water before wearing it. You will feel cooler and not risk sunburn, wind burn, dehydration and fatigue.
Some riders can ride for 500 miles a day and still do it leisurely. If you are a beginner just start carving away at that figure especially if you are riding down little country back roads, planning to have un-hurried meals and see scenic spots.
The main aim of taking a long hiatus on a motorcycle is learning for yourself what moves you to travel by motorcycle. Is it experiencing different culture than what you are used to? Is the long hours on the bike the perfect vacation? Or to succinctly put it, is the ride the destination? Perhaps for you, the road is simply a way to connect points of interest which are best experience on a cruiser. Once you will know your ultimate passion, you can plan and embark on a motorcycle journey that are exciting, fun and experience life altering adventure.