The idea of setting out on a long, adventurous motorcycle road trip is romantic and exciting. If planned right, your trips should turn out to be all that you hoped they would be.
If you’re a responsible rider you already know that your bike needs to be in tip-top mechanical shape before you head out but packing for any long distance bike ride can be tricky. Here’s what you’ll need:
Riding Suit – If you’ve checked the weather forecast and it says “sunny and warm” don’t believe it. Weather has a mind of its own so be prepared. Get yourself a light, weatherproof riding suit that you can quickly slip on over your clothes at the first sign of bad weather.
Storage – Unless you have a touring bike equipped with hard storage cases, you’ll need to add some type of storage capacity to your bike. Backpacks are no good on a long motorcycle trip. They don’t hold much, can throw your balance off and after a while, they just plain hurt your shoulders and back.
Storage racks, saddlebags, tail bags, tank bags work great. Depending upon the style of your bike, how far you’re traveling and what you need to pack will determine your best option. Do some research to see what has worked best for other riders.
Repair Kit – If you don’t have a repair kit yet, get one before you go. They are affordable and you’ll be thrilled you have it if you get a flat in the middle of nowhere.
Food and Water – Pack a few energy or snack bars, trail mix, or similar snacks plus bottles of water in case of emergency. Even better, get yourself a CamelBak water pouch and fill it to the brim every time you stop for gas. Know ahead of time where to find gas, food, and water. If long spaces are in between stops, your stash will go a long way toward keeping your energy level up.
Full-Face Helmet – A full-face helmet offers maximum protection; it’s the only way to go. Not only does it give you better protection in the case of an accident but it protects you from bugs, weather, and bouncing objects.
GPS – A portable GPS system is invaluable. If you don’t have one, apps are now available for your smartphone. If you have neither, be sure you have mapped out your trip carefully. However, a GPS is far more effective than a paper map.
Pack smart. Bring what you absolutely need for safety and comfort and leave the rest at home. Aside from what’s on this list plus a few light layers of clean clothes and some personal care items, you won’t need much else for a perfect ride.
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