If you ask any biker, they’ll tell you that there’s absolutely no greater feeling in the world than cruising the open road on two wheels. That’s why many riders jump at the opportunity to hit the highways and explore the world around them. Road trips are an exhilarating, adventurous, and even stress-reducing, way to get away from your daily norms and fuel your passions.
In order to have a great time, however, safety must be a priority. All too often, novice riders embark on these excursions unprepared and end up suffering extreme consequences. From getting lost and running out of gas to mechanical issues and motorcycle accidents, anything could go wrong turning what should be a good time into a disaster.
To reduce the likelihood of something going wrong during your first motorcycle road trip, please follow these safety tips listed below:
- Make Sure You’re Comfortable – As excited as you may be to take a road trip, driving for hours at a time before you’re ready increases your risk of getting in an accident. Therefore, make sure that you’re comfortable with your bike and driving long distances. You can practice taking short trips and extending the distance as you get comfortable.
- Choose a Safe Travel Destination – Even if you do feel comfortable driving for several hours on your motorcycle, driving too far or on roads that are too complex early on isn’t advised. Select safe travel destinations located just a few hours away from your home. When mapping out your route, be sure to check the conditions of the roads as not all terrains are ideal for new riders.
- Have the Bike Serviced – Whether your bike is new or used you should always have it serviced by a motorcycle technician before going on a road trip. At the very least, you want to have the oil changed and ensure that the tires are properly inflated.
- Pack Light – Too much weight on a motorcycle can throw off the way you ride. Not to mention, it burns through your gas much faster. Try to get everything you’ll need for your road trip into one bag that can either comfortably fit on your back or in a luggage carrier located on your bike.
- Wear the Right Gear – The idea is to be comfortable during your motorcycle road trip. Keep in mind that you’re a lot more exposed to various elements of weather than if you were in a car. So, you’ll want to wear fitted yet warm clothes for protection. They have riding pants and jackets that you can purchase for the ride. You should also opt to wear a full-face helmet as the wind and bugs flying in your face at rapid speed can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
- Plan for Breaks – Driving for more than 2 hours at a time as a new rider can increase your chances of becoming fatigued and getting in an accident. So, it is highly recommended that you plan for breaks along your route. Depending on where you’re headed, you can find a lot of cool things to see and explore along the way. At the very least, pull over at designated rest stops to check the condition of your bike, fill up on gas, stretch your legs, use the restroom, and grab a bite to eat.
- Use GPS – Getting lost can take hours off your trip and waste a lot of time and money. That’s why it is highly recommended that you utilize the GPS on your smartphone to help you track your route. They have helmets with Bluetooth capabilities or GPS devices you can install to make listening to instructions safer. Just for precautions, however, you should also take printed versions of the directions with you. Should your GPS lose signal or your phone battery die, you still need to be able to know how to get where you’re going.
- Ride with Companions – If it’s your first time on a motorcycle road trip, bringing along a few riding companions is ideal. Having others along with you is not only fun, but the experience the other riders bring to the mix can make the journey that much safer. From knowing what shortcuts to take and which roads to avoid to where the best places to eat and the most affordable hotels, you could learn a lot from your motorcycle buddies.
Motorcycles are designed for long-distance travel which makes them the perfect means of transportation on a road trip. If you’ve recently started riding bikes and want to plan a great escape, just be sure that you’ve prioritized your safety by keeping the above-mentioned tips in mind.