This is the third in a 3-Part Series:
- Part 1: tips on choice of motorcycle related to riding style.
- Part 2: tips on improving long distance riding comfort.
Today ... contributor Marilyn Elmore Bragg wraps things up with tips on route, refueling and more.
Check out Marilyn's advice as you plan your next long distance motorcycle trip.
Planning A Smart Route
Creating a route isn’t rocket science. But it's advisable to start by considering the reasons for your ride and time constraints as you begin planning your journey.
Devise a wise game plan:
Which is more important to you ...
- winding through the countryside discovering the unplanned and unexpected, or
- taking as little time as possible getting to your destination?
For instance .. are you leaving for Sturgis this summer? What’s your game plan?
- Do you want to zoom and be there in as short a time as possible in order to vacation at the rally? Or is the ride to and from the rally more important?
- Would you rather spend a couple of days at the rally and a week or more on the road to and from Sturgis?
Many riders prefer the more picturesque back roads, winding through the countryside that delivers the local roadside treasures and scenery -- but only you can make that determination.
Note: As you plan your route, it often helps to get advice from other riders. An online search of blogs or forums like Adventure Rider can be a great help in route planning.
Effective Fuel and Rest Stopping
After chosing your road preference, your next priority is on fuel and rest stops.
First, consider what size gas tank you own:
For instance, with a small 2 gallon tank, you may average around 100 miles to the tank. That’s a lot of gas stops … and once you’re in the mid-west or west, fuel stops are often further apart than you think.
If you're positive there is more fuel within reach of your fuel tank, you may feel confident riding longer before stopping. But so much depends on where you are, and the time of day.
- We recommend stopping to refuel whenever you notice a gas station in daylight, especially after consuming 2/3s of your tank.
You don't want to find yourself running out of gas in a strange and lonely place at night, stuck pushing your bike even for a short distance!
- DON’T assume the next town has a gas station. Many out west don’t, and things change. The business you remember may have closed down last week and you’re out of luck.
Fuel stops are also your best opportunity for a rest from the road. In order for the ride to be enjoyable, one must consider how hard it is on the body to ride for long distances. So, schedule in ample time for breaks.
This kind of riding is a physical endurance test. What to expect:
- Without a fairing, you have wind resistance hitting your body. Your shoulders will cry for a break, after they’ve been fighting that cross-wind all day.
- No matter how much you paid for that seat, your butt will want out of it for short periods of time -- and your shoulder blades are also getting a workout.
- Without proper hearing protection you have the added stress of dealing with tinnitus once you stop. A word to the wise -- the sound of the wind rushing through your ears all night long while in bed is NOT restful.
To reinvigerate yourself so you feel rejuvenated for the road, consider these 3 points:
- Dehydration can occur after a few hundred miles. Always consume plenty of water at your rest breaks.
- In addition to refueling, take this opportunity to check your tire pressure and oil levels. Odd things can happen while your bike is pounding the pavement for a few hard hours.
- Refuel both your body and your bike. Grab a bite while your filling up your gas tank. Give legs and arms a good stretch. 'Pit stops' should help cool you down, warm you up and get blood flowing to your limbs.
Smart Clothing Choices
Here's how we sum it up: keep it loose, keep it dry, keep it real.
- In our experience, loose fitting clothing is best!
- Cotton is fine, but consider apparel specially designed to wick sweat away from your body, a more effective way to stop chaffing and discomfort.
- Remember to remain covered as much as possible. Sun and rain do a job on your skin.
- We all know a thing or two about cage drivers with blind spots. Consider visibility to oncoming traffic -- for safety, choose high visibility gear with reflective trim.
- Dress for the season. Spring and fall days can start out cool and heat up. so wear layers.
- Hands are one of your most exposed areas -- protect them.
Choose gloves with the comfort and safety you need. For instance, to absorb vibration and gives hands a break, lots of riders choose gloves with gel padding in the palm. Other choices include insulated, waterproof , windproof gloves, etc.
- Pack light! When it comes to long distance motorcycle riding, sometimes less is more.
Long Distance Motorcycle Riding: What's Your Advice?
In our 3 part series, we've listed some important aspects of riding that all riders should be aware of, regardless of how long you've been riding.
- Read Part 1 for tips on choice of motorcycle related to riding style.
- Read Part 2, for tips on improving long distance riding comfort (choice of seat, foot placement and more).
This is meant to be a start, not an exhaustive list.
What tips do you wish you'd have known, before your last trip? Any advice to share?
Ride easy, ride well…enjoy life on 2 wheels ... and if you have one, leave a comment!
P.S. We make over 70 styles of gloves, many windproof, and some with free shipping. To learn more about our windproof motorcycle glove styles, visit a local dealer or our online store: