While some areas of the country as still snowed under, spring is coming, and no time is too early to start planning those long distance trips. No matter what you ride, there are several common factors to consider before heading out. We love the details, so check out this handy guide for everything from bike prep to route planning, and enjoy the ride.
There are all kinds of great sights to see from the road, or to stop and visit for a while. If you don’t have a dedicated route planned, just a destination, check out a detailed road map and see what is available on the back-roads. Single lane highways and small towns offer some of the most scenic views and character you’ll ever see. Check road trip websites to find the most oddball places and attractions you won’t believe unless you see them for yourself. A general rule is to avoid traffic, congestion, and tourist attractions on a great road trip, and there are a few apps that can help with that. Search popular traffic alert and weather applications and you will have the knowledge of where and when to go. Last, consider packing a decent camera with all your gear. Sure, the iPhone takes nice pics, but it is no comparison to a real camera, and you might want to share some of these snapshots someday.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Benjamin Franklin, world renowned Fatboy rider. Okay, maybe he wasn’t a Harley fan, but the Founding Father would have appreciated a modern biker taking a critical eye to their ride. Check the tires for wear or damage, and replace as needed. Also check the manufacture date on the sidewall, and replace if they are ten years old, regardless of condition. Then it’s just the usual spring pre-riding tune up. Change the oil, filters, inspect everything brake/suspension/electrical related and replace if necessary. Flip through your owner’s manual and see if there’s anything you missed.
Make sure your tag is up to date, and get a new one if it is close to expiring. At the same time, take a look at the expiration date on your license. In many states it is quite the pain to renew an expired license, but pretty easy to renew one that is still valid. If you have new glasses, do they work with your helmet? If you have a new helmet, does it work with your new haircut? If you had Lasik done, have you ridden after the procedure? Any medications? Take ‘em with you. Is this a new (or new to you) bike? Log as many miles as you can now to get familiar with its characteristics. Practice some emergency stops and maneuvers in a safe and empty location to get an idea of what your motorcycle is capable of under extreme conditions.
Remember: motorcycle riding is a lot like life. It’s not so much about the destination, but the journey.