While it may be getting cold in many parts of the northern hemisphere, some of you may still be looking to go on a long year-ender ride. Of course, there are also a lot of you folks, myself included, who don’t live in the northern hemisphere, and still have many months of good riding weather left in the tank. Whatever the case may be, going on long rides is surely an adventure, and for some riders like myself, one of the biggest highlights of the two-wheeled lifestyle.
With that being said, the idea of packing up and going on a long ride can seem daunting and intimidating. Indeed, making sure you’re 100-percent ready seems like a big task, but all it takes is being detailed, thorough, and paying close attention to the details. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.
Make a list of the things you need to bring
Just like whenever you go on a trip out of town, packing up for your next long ride starts with you making a list of things to bring. As you ride more often and rack up the miles, the essentials will come to you like second nature. However, if you’re just getting started, it’s always a good idea to take note of the stuff you need to bring.
Of course, you have your essentials like your clothes, medicines, toiletries, and other personal items. However, being on two wheels necessitates that you bring a little extra. As the saying goes, it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. As such, add items like a portable tire pump and tire repair kit to your list. A handy set of tools is also an excellent addition. On your journey, you may be met with unpredictable weather, so throw in some rain gear, too.
Make sure your bike is in tip-top shape
Whether or not you’re embarking on a long ride, your bike should always be in good condition. However, getting stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere is worlds apart from breaking down outside of Walmart or your local gas station. It’s precisely because of this high-stakes scenario that being on top of maintenance is crucial.
Personally, I start preparing my bike for long trips several days before the actual trip. I start by making sure that anything that’s close to the end of its service life has been replaced. Tires, brake pads, fluids and oil, and bearings all get a thorough check up. Additionally, I make sure the bike’s electrical system is in good health (my bikes are usually always kept on a battery tender, so that may be a worthy investment for you, too).
Make sure you’re in tip-top shape
Your bike is only half of the equation. The other half is the one piloting the machine to your destination. Riding a motorcycle can be tiring, especially when rides are long and go through unfamiliar roads with unpredictable weather. Getting ready for a long ride means building your stamina and keeping tabs on your physical wellbeing.
Of course, your mental health is equally important, as well. Making sure you have the proper mindset when embarking on a journey is essential. A lot of us ride motorcycles for the thrill they give us. However, when covering long distances, it may be a good idea to take on a slower, more leisurely pace, especially when covering unfamiliar routes. Take in the scenery – the sights and sounds of the places you’re visiting.
Bring only the essentials
When packing for any trip, it can be tempting to overpack and bring much more stuff than you actually need. When I started riding, I felt the need to pack way too many things with me, especially when it came to clothes. After my trips, I’d have two or three sets of unused clothes in my bag – space that otherwise would have been used for other more useful stuff, or better yet, reduced weight.
Packing light comes with many benefits. For starters, a lighter bike is much easier to ride, especially on twisty roads and uneven terrain. Although a couple of pounds may not seem like much, when multiplied by hundreds, if not thousands of miles, this small weight can make quite a difference when it comes to reducing rider fatigue, and not to mention, improving fuel economy.
There you have it! I hope these tips will be able to help those of you who are just starting to ride longer distances get ready for your next adventure.