Summertime is perfect for motorcycle road trips. There are many important things to remember while you're preparing for your tour, including required insurance. With both fun and safety in mind, take these pointers into consideration.
Stay connected and alert
It is vital for both solo and group riders to remain in contact with family, friends or fellow riders throughout their trips. A cell phone will do the trick for most. Not only do smartphones allow riders to stay in touch, they provide valuable information for tours, including maps, tourist attractions and weather alerts. Keep your eye on exit and route numbers, mileposts and towns you've passed on the occasion that an emergency dispatcher needs to locate you. The American Motorcyclist Association also recommends a portable weather radio, which will alert cyclists to storms in their route. If you're taking trip by yourself, make sure to keep others informed of your whereabouts for safety and emergency purposes.
Make sure your bike is in good shape and secure
Before you leave for your trip, do regular maintenance on your bike to ensure that you have everything in your tool kit for your trip. While on the road, make sure to check your bike before you get on the road every day, keeping an eye on tire pressure, oil levels and anything else that could cause trouble on the road. Prior to heading out for another day, make sure to look around where your bike was parked for things you may have dropped.
Keep a spare key handy, either by fixing it onto your bike with a zip tie or duct tape or by swapping keys with your tour companion. Packing extra bungee cords can protect you from losing any valuables along the way. The AMA also suggests a lock for your bike, as well as a packable cover that keeps your motorcycle safe from the elements and thieves.
Don't overdo it
It's easy to want to push yourself on the road, but pacing yourself will help you safely enjoy your trip. Plan the miles you will travel every day and try to stick to it as closely as you can. Carry eye drops and use them at every stop you make to protect from weary road eyes and on days when you're driving more miles. If you're feeling tired during a day's trip, find a rest area where you can take a quick nap. Pick up your trip right where you left it, feeling rejuvenated and alert.
Furthermore, enjoy your trip! If you feel like taking a break to see the sights, do it. While it's important to plan out your mileage and stops prior to your trip, occasional pit stops won't hurt you in the long run.
It's important to also stay more nourished and hydrated during your tour. A good rule of thumb is to eat when you're hungry and drink when you're thirsty. A water cooler backpack is a smart and efficient way to keep from getting dehydrated, while not hurting your mileage for the day. Eating during your trip requires a bit of strategy. Try to eat at times when others don't, so you don't waste time waiting at restaurants and pit stops during rush hours. The AMA suggests an eating schedule that takes the sunrise or sunset into account, if you're traveling either east or west. With that in mind, you won't have to drive when the sun is low on the horizon and directly in your eyesight.
Stay dry and cool
Summer is a beautiful time for a cross country tour, but it also exposes riders to elements like extreme heat, the sun and quick changes in weather. Good biking gear, like a cooling vest if you're driving into warmer climates, is a smart investment. Look for items that are breathable and waterproof and try to test them out before you get on the road. Pack a small towel or cloth for drying off morning dew, rain or just for a quick cleaning of your bike. To ensure that your stuff stays dry inside your bike's saddlebags, wrap your belongings in durable trash bags.
Make sure you have insurance
Motorcycle insurance is vital when you're planning a long summer trip. Hitting the open road without it leaves riders at risk of not being covered if or when an accident occurs. Protect yourself and double check what's included in your insurance plan.
A road trip on your bike may contain many moving parts, from mileage plans to changing weather to unexpected motorcycle trouble. By following these tips, you can protect yourself and your motorcycle.
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