Nothing beats a nice long ride on your motorcycle. Whether you’re heading to the latest biker rally or you’re just trying to put some more miles between you and the everyday scenery, a long distance ride can be one of the most memorable experiences a person can have.
The longer you ride, the more specialized gear you’ll need and the more planning you’ll need to put into the trip. This short guide covers the basics of long distance riding, or touring. If you need a bike that can stand up to the challenges of touring, stop by Rattlesnake Mountain Harley-Davidson®. Harley-Davidson® Motor Company builds some of the best touring bikes for long distance riding on the market. Our Kennewick, Washington dealership proudly serves the areas of Walla Walla, Moses Lake, Clarkston, and Goldendale, Washington.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Planning your route should be done long before you ever saddle up and hit the road. With careful planning, you can find the best routes around the country for motorcycle riding. Long, straight interstates rarely make for the best rides and you might find yourself downright bored before long. Instead, look for older highways and rural roads that get deeper into the local scenery. These roads often pass through quaint small towns and past interesting roadside attractions.
When you plan your trip ahead of time, you can also make sure you aren’t passing through areas during their most inhospitable times of the year. For instance, you don’t want to plan a route to Los Angeles that goes through Death Valley in August or a route to Denver that passes through the Rockies in January.
PREPARE FOR DIFFERENT WEATHER CONDITIONS
Long distance riding requires that you prepare for many different weather conditions. Just consider the Columbia River Gorge, for instance. When entering the Eastern end of the Gorge at Tri-Cities, you’ll be in an arid high desert environment. Only an hour or two later you’ll get into the pastoral area surrounding Hood River, and by the time you’re in Cascade Locks, you might be in a torrential downpour. If you’re going to be passing through multiple states, you might have to put up with desert heat, mountain snow, humidity, and high winds all within a matter of a few days. Having the riding equipment to deal with all these conditions is extremely important.
Since you’ll need to pack gear for different weather contingencies as well as all the other gear you might need for camping, it’s important that you learn how to pack efficiently. Efficient packing requires that you learn how to reduce cargo volume and weight. Sometimes that will mean substituting your favorite coat or jacket for something more packable and lightweight. It will also mean learning what things you can leave behind altogether. For example, you can fit thousands of books on a tablet, which will save you the space of all those paperbacks. Or, you could decide to leave the books behind altogether and spend more time in local libraries wherever you go.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH
Healthy riding is safe riding so make sure you always take care of your body. It’s crucial that you stay hydrated as you ride, especially in warmer climates. Before you climb on your bike every day, make sure you get something to eat. Finding a good night’s sleep on the road isn’t always easy, but it’s important that you get enough rest because being sleepy while you ride can lead to a serious accident. It’s also important that you continue to take whatever medicines you might be on. You won’t be able to just pop into a pharmacy and get more meds, so take all that you’ll need and more.
MAINTAIN YOUR BIKE
Maintaining your bike is almost as important as maintaining your health. Check your tire pressure every day before you ride and make sure the engine fluids are topped off. It’s critical that you keep your bike on a normal maintenance schedule.
If you’re leaving for a touring trip soon and haven’t had your bike serviced recently, stop by Rattlesnake Mountain Harley-Davidson®. We’re located in Kennewick, and proudly serve the areas of Walla Walla, Moses Lake, Clarkston, and Goldendale, Washington.