Your First Motorcycle Trip – What You Need to Know
The image is romantic and iconic, exemplary of the motorcyclist lifestyle: a lone rider blazing down a country, desert or coastal road, ticking hundreds of miles as he or she travels great distances across the many grandiose and idyllic landscapes of America. If you are a relatively new rider, then you’ve probably daydreamed about this scenario. One day, perhaps sometime soon, you plan to make it a reality.
As cool as a motorcycle road trip may sound, however, it can actually get pretty miserable, especially if you are unprepared. Rather than learn the hard way, take the following tips to heart and use them to keep your first trip memorable in all the right ways:
- The trip will be longer than you think. While two or three hours on the road might be bearable, six or seven hours can feel like an absolute eternity. If you aren’t used to riding for more than just a few hours, don’t jump right into a road trip. Think about it: no runner ever starts with a marathon. They gradually build up to it by running a few miles at first and then ramping up the distance over time. Think of a motorcycle road trip as a marathon. Try taking some practice runs to get used to being on a motorcycle for longer periods of time. It’ll be worth it in the end.
- Windshields are a godsend. You may think that a windshield makes your bike look “lame”. However, try riding at high speeds for five, six, or seven hours, and see how you feel about it then. Spring for a proper windshield and you’ll thank yourself immensely down the line.
- Good positioning is key to comfort. Your bike may feel comfortable enough on short rides, but on longer trips, the slightest imbalance can contribute to terrible back and bottom pain. Save yourself the trouble by getting your seating and riding position down pat. Also make sure your handlebars are adjusted to an optimal level. You might even want to consider buying a back rest – remember, comfortability beats cool.
- Be ready for tough weather. There’s a saying amongst motorcyclists that on a long trip, at some point you’ll be hot, cold, wet, and then hot again – and it’s true! In the course of your journey, you may face both freezing and stifling temperatures, in addition to rain, sleet, and snow. Wear high quality, well-ventilated gear to make riding in such extremes much more tolerable. Also mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you will experience at least a little discomfort on the open road.
- You will get filthy. Roads are covered with dirt and grime, and by the time you reach your destination many hours later, you will also be covered by the nasty stuff. If you plan to grab a dinner at a nice restaurant right after your trip, you might want to rethink those plans. Either hit up a well-established biker joint or make sure you have time to squeeze in a shower before heading out.
- Technology is your friend. While leaving all technology behind for a purer road experience may seem romantic, embracing a few helpful gadgets will probably make your ride better. You can use your smartphone (after having stopped and pulled aside, of course) to find your way if you get lost, listen to music, find the nearest gas station, and for other useful functions. If your motorcycle has cruise control, take advantage of it when you can. Reliably maintaining a constant speed for long periods of time helps keep riders safe.
- Rest, rest, rest. Long motorcycles take a lot of concentration and endurance. You will want to take a good amount of breaks to relax your muscles, drink water, and restore your energy. If you ride for several hours without stopping, you will wear down not only your body but also your concentration. As a (hopefully) smart motorcyclist, you know that that’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t take unnecessary risks – get as much rest as you feel you need.
The California motorcycle accident attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm hope that you have found this guide to be helpful. If you have need of legal representation after an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact us for immediate assistance. We can provide you with a FREE comprehensive evaluation of your rights and options. Just call us at (800) 522-7274.