Many area riders are likely making plans to attend a variety of motorcycle events throughout the year. In this post, we want to share a few recommendations to help you prepare for an upcoming road trip. Being proactive about planning for a motorcycle trip can allow you to relax and just enjoy the ride.
TIP 1: Make sure your motorcycle is properly maintained before you hit the road. Especially when planning a long ride, it’s essential to confirm that your motorcycle is in good working order. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) recommends a method known as T-CLOCS.
T=Tires: Check that your tires are properly inflated, and carry an air pressure monitor with you while you travel. Also, be sure to check your tires’ tread depth, wear and weathering. If you’re concerned that one of your tires may need to be replaced, err on the side of caution and get a new tire before you take off.
C=Controls: Specifically, you’ll want to check that your cables (clutch and brakes), hoses, throttle and controls are in good condition and good working order.
L=Lights: Your brake lights, turn signals, and headlamp (high beam and low beam) are a key part of alerting other motorists to your presence and to your intended maneuvers.
O=Oil and Fluids: In particular, check your engine oil and coolant, along with your brake fluid.
C=Chassis: Check your motorcycle’s frame, suspension, chain or belt, and fasteners to confirm that are all intact and in good working order.
S=Stands: Inspect your center and/or side stands for cracks and bends, and make sure the springs are in place with enough tension to hold your bike in position.
TIP 2: Pack smart, given the length of your ride, your destination, and your planned lodging. When packing, consider how long you’ll be on your bike, the weather conditions you may encounter, and where you’re planning to stay. For example, if you’re camping, you’ll obviously need different clothing and food items than if you’re staying in a hotel. And of course, don’t forget your safety gear.
TIP 3: Know your route and be ready for any obstacles that may come up. When possible, it’s best to travel with a portable GPS system, just in case you get turned around or decide to take an unplanned detour. It’s also a good idea to check for any detours, construction zones, or heavy traffic areas that you may be passing through.
TIP 4: Keep safety in mind. As motorcyclists, we know that we can be more vulnerable to injury than other motorists on the road. Always ride with caution: don’t tailgate, watch for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers, and obey the posted speed limit.
TIP 5: Enjoy the adventure! Once of the best things about taking a motorcycle road trip is the freedom and adventure that comes along with the journey. Taking steps to ensure you’re well-prepared for the trip will make the ride all the more enjoyable.