Motorcycles are great for adventuring as well as commuting. In addition to this, their low cost makes them a great choice. However, whether you are going off on an adventure or simply following your commuting route, there are few things to consider. Long-distance trips will require much more preparation compared to short distance rides. As with most things in life, bad preparation will only invite trouble in the future. Since most motorcycles don’t have the luxury of cargo space, packing essentials gets even more challenging.
First, know your motorcycle, then it will be easy to find what you need when traveling on a motorcycle:
Your motorcycle needs to be well equipped and well maintained. Do a self-assessment if you are capable or have a repair center take a look at it. The worst thing that can happen in both commuting or long trips is to have your motorcycle break down in the middle of nowhere. You should also have a windshield installed on your motorcycle if one doesn’t exist already. While you can feel the thrill when the wind hits against your body, it can be exhausting after a couple of hours at high speed. A good windshield ensures that you can fight against the wind and ride comfortably for extended hours. While you’re at it, equip your bike with fairing, LED lighting and engine guards as well. It is advisable to carry things like repair kits, GPS mounts, chain lubricant, additional engine oil and so on, depending on what you can carry comfortably or might need on your backpack.
After you have taken care of your motorcycle, it’s time to look after yourself. It would be best if you had a sturdy full-face helmet. Don’t use half-face helmets. Not only do they provide worse protection, but they also generally don’t have shields that can protect your face against the wind. Motorcycles are statistically more prone to accidents than cars. Hence, you must wear protective riding gear for a motorcycle, although it might not be practical for day-to-day commuting. Motorcycle gloves, jackets, pants and boots aren’t just for show. In the event of an accident, they can save you from bodily harm or life-threatening situations. Their importance and safety value cannot be overstated. You might lose your fingers, break several bones, or have the very skin of your body scraped off like it’s nothing from your body if you aren’t careful enough. This is the one thing you must not overlook when considering riding a motorcycle. It might also be a wise idea to pack a rain jacket and rain pants during rainy seasons.
If you are planning to go for a long trip, map the route ahead of time. This preparation will give you a good idea of what sort of terrain you’ll be facing, where you can rest and stay, and an overall picture of your trip. Jumping on a journey without a planned route is like crossing a busy street with a blindfold. If possible, go for a practice ride beforehand to analyze the things you need and the things you missed. While a preemptive route plan is good enough, a practice ride can give you a first-hand experience and idea of things you need to prepare and your bike’s condition.
The authorities might stop you to verify your documents when you’re traveling in new areas. To avoid any issues, you should carry your necessary documents. This can help quickly resolve any issues and help you get back to your ride right away. Your passport, bike registration card, driving license, bike insurance card, etc., are a must-have whenever you travel on your bike.
If you’re commuting, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to refresh yourself. However, the opportunity might be hard to find for long-distance rides, even more so if you’re traveling in rural areas. Thus, it’s important to carry your own food and water. Traveling over long distances or for several hours can exhaust your body out making you hungry and dehydrated. This can affect your riding experience and performance. It is also a good idea not to go for a ride right after you’re done eating. Also, make sure to urinate or defecate beforehand properly, so the issue doesn’t arise when you are riding.
Fatigue is a common issue for most riders when they ride on long trips for several hours. This can hinder your experience and affect your performance on the road, which can lead to accidents. Thus, it is important to take breaks whenever you feel a bit tired. Just rest in a safe spot for a while and you can get back at it soon. You might hear from other people that they can ride for 5 or 6 hours, but keep in mind that even they took time to build up such endurance. It would be unwise to keep on traveling when you are obviously fatigued so that you can tell your colleagues about how long you rode a bike in one go. It won’t be a story worth telling if you end up hurt in the process and even if you might get by, it is not worth the risk.
To sum it all up, take your bike for maintenance, wear riding gear on long trips, plan a route, pack essentials and documents, and be sure to rest when needed. If you wish to make memories of your travels, consider also taking your camera. Be sure to carry your smartphone, charger or a spare battery wherever you’re traveling. Problems can arise suddenly and it’s best to be prepared for them as well. If you’re traveling in a rural area, make sure you inform a few close friends or family about your trip.