There’s nothing like the thrill of packing up your bike and heading out on an open road adventure, especially if it’s a bucket list ride. You’ve probably ridden on hundreds of roads, but the feeling of getting out of your comfort zone and barreling down a famous road is one that goes unmatched. They’re called bucket list rides for a reason. But before you roll out, you’ll need to make a few plans to ensure your trip goes smoothly. We’ve rounded up our top tips for planning your next bucket list motorcycle ride.
Select a Destination
One of the best parts of planning a motorcycle trip is selecting the destination. There are tons of epic rides all across the country, so there’s bound to be one near your home base. We encourage you to talk to fellow riders in your area about some of their favorite rides, check out riding blogs, or use motorcycleroads.com or roadtrippers.com to help plan your trip from the start. Picking a bucket list ride is your chance to go big and to select a destination you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Have a ride that’s always been on your bucket list? See which one is closest to your location and start planning. Haven’t started a list of your own? There’s no time like the present. Take some time to research – there might be an epic ride closer than you think.
Determine Trip Length and Daily Mileage
You’ll want to set parameters for your daily mileage before you head out so you don’t burn out on the road. Riding fatigue is a thing and road trips are supposed to be fun. When you set your trip length, we recommend dividing the mileage into the number of days you have planned for your trip and tweaking from there.
Plan Your Route
It’s important to plan your route before you swing your leg over the saddle. Take a look at a map and plan out your route for each day. Make sure you account for pit stops including food, gas, and any attractions you might want to see along your route. Interested in making a pit stop at the world’s largest pistachio in New Mexico or having a burger at Horseshoe Cafe, the oldest 24-hour diner in the U.S.? Make it happen and plan those stops from the start. After all, no one likes to ride on an empty stomach. Bottom line, if you know you want to hit a specific landmark, or a famous road, make sure you incorporate those into your route plans from the get-go.
Consider the Season and General Weather
It’s important to consider both the season you’re planning your trip as well as expected weather along your route. Keep in mind that some roads are closed or restricted during the winter months and you’ll also need to take into account for potential icy conditions during your trip. On the flip side, riding in extreme heat can take a toll on even the most experienced riders so you’ll want to plan for extra stops to hydrate and to cool off. As a general rule, we highly recommend checking the forecast before you head out for any ride. Storms can come out of nowhere and you want to be ready.
Consider Sleeping Accommodations
When planning your motorcycle trip, you’ll also need to consider where you’ll sleep for the night. Some riders prefer camping while others enjoy hotel accommodations – the option is totally up to you. We encourage you to book your campsite or hotel stays as early as possible especially if you’re traveling to popular destinations or during special events.
Make Sure Your Bike is Ready to Roll
Before you set off, it’s critical that you check to make sure your bike is in top shape. We recommend using the T-CLOCS method to check your bike from top to bottom before you hit the road. It’s also a great idea to pack a small tool kit or roll in case anything goes unexpectedly on your trip.
Check Your Gear
Make sure you have all the gear you need in place including all-weather gear, helmets, gloves, boots, jackets, pants, body armor, etc. You’ll want to inspect your gear for any tears or cracks so you can replace them as necessary before you start your journey.
Along with the essential gear you’ll wear during your trip, you’ll also need to make your packing list. As we all know, space is limited on a motorcycle, so you’ll need to prioritize accordingly. We recommend keeping it to the basics like gear, clothes, toiletries, camping items, water, snacks, chargers, etc. Make sure all items are securely stored on your bike (zip ties are encouraged), in saddlebags, or in your backpack. Remember, there are typically convenience stores along popular routes and you’ll likely be able to find what you need if you’ve forgotten anything.
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