Tips for Motorcycle Touring

November 19th, 2020 by

While some motorcycle riders are content to roll through the city on their hog®, others are more excited about hitting the open road for days on end and experience parts of the country like never before. After all, what better way is there to get some fresh air and trek across the country? But long-distance traveling on a motorcycle, or touring, is a different kind of beast that requires different kinds of preparation to ensure you’re going to get the most out of the experience. A lot of things you’ll pick up as you spend more time clocking miles, but Powder Keg Harley-Davidson® has provided some steps for getting started. If you still need to find the perfect touring bike, then stop by our location in Mason, Ohio. We also serve the areas of Cincinnati, Springfield, Hamilton, Loveland, and Fairfield, Ohio.

Pre-Ride Inspections

You’ll want to make sure that your bike is in peak working condition. This will require a combination of you inspecting your ride and getting it checked by a professional on a regular basis. You’ll want to make sure your tires are properly inflated and don’t have any obvious damage or excessive wear. Also check all fluid levels, including fuel, oil, and other engine fluids. Change out any fluids that look old and sludgy and top off anything that needs it. Also look around for any leaks and take a look at your belts and chains for any potential problems.

You might also want to take your bike for a test ride around your neighborhood or to the next town over. Pay special attention to how the brakes, clutch, and throttle run. If anything seems out of the ordinary, you’ll want to get that looked at while you’re still in town and near your preferred mechanic. In general, if you notice anything as you’re inspecting your ride that might be cause for concern, talk to a professional about it and see what their opinion is.

Route Planning

When you’re sure your bike is ready to go, you’ll want to make sure you also have a plan. This may go against what some riders prefer, those who just want to hit the open road with no plans and no obligations, but there are many advantages to having a basic route and itinerary. Firstly, it allows you to reserve sleeping areas in advance. Whether you’re motel hopping or you’re camping, it can be difficult to predict when a motel or a campground is going to be busy and you won’t want to be wandering around late at night looking for a place to sleep.

It will also help you decide how long you can comfortably ride and under what conditions. As fun as it is to ride all day, it puts a lot of stress on your body and you’ll probably need to rest more often than you might in a car, especially if you’re new to touring. Having a route will help you locate key resting points so you can give your body a break as often as you need to. You can also look up the weather ahead of time and decide if there are certain times when you’d rather not be riding. For example, if you know it’s going to rain in the evening or be particularly hot in the afternoon, you might want to have a plan to get off the road and wait out extreme weather. And who knows? You might find some attractions that you’ll want to see that you wouldn’t have spotted from the road.

Packing Essentials

One of the most difficult parts of touring is packing. Even though touring bikes generally come with more cargo space, you’ll still be severely limited and it’s easy to overload your bike, so you’re going to need to be careful. Start by packing only the essentials, and find ways to consolidate wherever you can. Only pack a few articles of clothing and use laundromats as often as you can. Avoid packing multiple bottles of water and instead continuously refill one. Also try not to pack too much food, as it often takes up space.

If you’re going camping, consider looking into camping supplies made for backpackers, as they’re usually much lighter in weight. You’ll also want to pack some personal hygiene supplies, a first aid kit, and anything else you think will be important for your trip. Only once you have the essentials should you consider packing any luxury items. Just remember to mind your weight and not overload your bike.

There are other tips that you’ll probably pick up from experience or from other riders, but this should give you a good place to start. You may also want to consider a few test rides to get used to the feeling of riding for hours on end. Go to a different part of the state, or to a different state altogether, so you can figure out how long you can comfortably ride at one time. And if you need your bike looked at before you hit the road, schedule a service appointment with Powder Keg Harley-Davidson® in Mason, Ohio. We welcome all riders from the areas of Cincinnati, Springfield, Hamilton, Loveland, and Fairfield, Ohio.

Posted in Riding