Spending 7 days on a cycle makes for good adventures. If you ever have an opportunity to take off on a cycle and ride far from home than seize the moment. Don’t get me wrong, short rides are a blast but there is something inspirational about an extended two-wheel trek. It has something to do with the insecurity of being a long way from home on a motorcycle. When you find yourself a few states away from family and friends, you realize that you’re vulnerable. This vulnerability leads to an awakening of the senses that one does not have when surrounded by their protective infrastructure. That’s what makes road trips so exciting and intense. Road trips are awesome in a car but on a motorcycle the Road Trip can become a Positive Existential Life Experience.
There are risks associated with long distance rides on two wheels as compared to a road trip in a car. One must measure the inherent risks verses the projected rewards. Let’s use weather as an example. On a road trip in a car, any rational person would check the weather patterns to make sure their route is clear from storm activity. If a storm does hit, the vehicle provides a certain amount of protection from the elements that a motorcycle can’t provide. If caught in a rain storm the automobile driver stays warm and dry and is relatively safe in his car. At worse while in an auto an individual just needs to pull over and wait out the storm. On a motorcycle, getting caught in a rain storm can present a ton of issues specially 16 hours away from home. If caught unprepared in a storm, where does the motorcyclist seek cover from the precipitation? Where does a rider change into dry clothing? With the limited space on a bike, do you have dry clothing? Hypothermia is a real threat when one is wet, cold and riding through the wind. When riding around your hometown a motorcyclist can suck up the wetness till they arrive home where warmth and dry clothing awaits. This is not the case on a road trip. Being prepared is the key to long trips on a cycle. Having the proper rain gear is essential but having the ability to adapt to ever-changing environments is the ultimate key to success. Think outside the box to find solutions. Here are a few ideas that have helped me through some of my long distance trips:
• Duct Tape Fixes Holes in Rain Gear
• Use Zip Ties to Leash Equipment/Bags on your Ride
• Plastic Garbage Bags makes for Good Waterproofing Liners and Can Substitute for Pillows when Camping
• Fishing Waiters make Great Rain Gear
• Bank Drive Thurs are Great Hail Shelters
• Plastic Garbage Bags can make good Emergency Rain Gear
• Use Tupperware to Keep Cell Phone and Electronics Dry
• Use Public Libraries to Charge Up Your Cell Phone
• Hotel Lobby Bathrooms are Cleaner and More Comfortable than Restaurant Bathrooms
• Never Screw with Karma, Good Things Happen to Good Bikers
• Backpacks Cause Back Pain
• Use a Storage Bag which sits on your Passenger Pillion as a Back Rest
• Full Face Helmets Keep you Warm
• Free Camping on National Forest Land
• Never Leave Home without a Utility Tool, Duct Tape, Zip Ties, a Head Lamp and Rain Gear on Long Distance Trips
• A Windshield makes for a better ride on Long Trips
• Sometimes Having No Pre-Planed Route makes for a Better Trip
• Always Research the Weather and Plan Accordingly
Riding is an individual learning experience. What works for me may not work for you. Start off slow and work yourself into longer trips. Experience is your best teacher when it comes to extended motorcycle trips. When beginning your first excursions expect to be wanting. You will never know what you need till you want it but remember we have a limited amount of space so “needing” is a relative term.
Any hints for long distance motorcycle trips????