Most people who ride motorcycles, from enthusiasts to occasional riders, have at one time or another thought about getting away for a long road trip. For such a trip, planning is a very important part of the preparation. In this article we’ll talk about what to pack on your bike.
Make a list First, after the initial rush of energy and excitement when you finally are able to arrange your dream trip, the first thing you need to do is relax and start making a list of all the things you might need. Some suggestions:
- Road map. You can buy fold up maps, or if your cell phone has internet access, you can use one of the many free map services (Yahoo, Google, Mapquest). If you really want to get fancy, you can purchase a navigation system for your motorcycle.
- Tool bag/kit. Don’t forget to bring along some simple tools in case the need for minor repairs arises. Cable ties, screwdrivers (Phillips and standard), pliers, a couple of standard size wrenches, and a repair manual may save the day in case of a problem. You certainly don’t want to be out in the middle of nowhere and be stuck because of a minor problem that could have been easily fixed with a simple tool.
- Clothes. Keep an extra set of clothes handy, and don’t forget your rain gear. It’s best to pack the rain gear last, so you can get to it in a hurry if a sudden rainstorm kicks in.
- Snacks. You should pack some light snacks for the road-nuts, dried fruit, power bars, granola bars, water, and a couple candy bars are OK if you have a sweet tooth. Don’t forget to take care of your trash.
- Think of anything else you might want or need on your ride, and include that on your list. You can always remove non-essential items if you are getting too loaded down.
After you make your list, gather everything together, and go through each item, checking it off. It may seem like overkill, but sometimes this is the stage where you remember a critical item that you forgot when making your initial list.
Packing Make sure that as you pack your luggage, the weight is balanced on both sides of your bike. An off balance bike is harder to handle, takes much more energy, and safety is always a major issue for riders. When your bike is fully packed, take it on a short test drive to ensure that everything is packed tightly and well-balanced.
Planning for your long bike trip is essential to the enjoyment of the ride, you won’t have to spend time (like I do!) wondering what you forgot, you can just relax and enjoy being on the open road.