Heading out on a long distance journey on your motorcycle isn’t simply a case of getting up and going, there is planning to be done beforehand. Most motorcycle journeys, particularly long ones require more planning than trips made over the same distance in a car. A motorcycle may give you more freedom than a car, but it does come with certain practical limitations that need to be considered. The following post will discuss some of the things you need to think about and plan out before that journey cross-country or beyond.


Inspect your motorcycle thoroughly

Before you head out on journeys of any length, you should check your bike to ensure that it is road safe. While this need not be done for that quick ride to the shops and back, on a long distance run through rural areas it is essential. It is recommended that you use the T-CLOCS method set out by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. This means checking the Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil and Fluids, Chassis and Stands. If you are unsure about any of this, take it to a trusted bike mechanic to give it a once over.


Plan a route

Although you may be tempted to head out like they do in the movies, just follow the roadsigns and hope you get to your destination, in reality this is not the most sensible way to go about things. Google Maps is very useful for planning out your route beforehand and if possible, bring a motorcycle GPS system with you. Bear in mind that if you ride a smaller capacity motorcycle, motorways are probably not the best idea, so ask your navigation software of choice to avoid motorways; as a bonus, you’ll find that avoiding motorways often takes you on a more direct route!


Invest in a storage solution

Unless you have a specialist touring bike, you will need to consider some form of storage. On-bike storage comes in three main varieties – tail boxes, panniers (these sit behind the seat and rest at either side of the rear wheel, respectively) and tank bags (that sit on top of the fuel tank). Harder bags have the advantage of being more weather resistant than the softer material ones, but are also heavier, more expensive and trickier to install.

If you are looking for a more budget friendly solution, you can use a good old fashioned backpack, but bear in mind that you won’t have as much storage capacity and after a while, your back and shoulders can become tired with a pair of straps dragging down on them the whole time. If you are going to use a backpack, it is vital that you make sure any straps and cords are tucked away securely so they do not get caught in the wheels or other mechanical parts.


Packing

When it comes to packing for a long journey, you have to strike a balance between having enough to make the trip pleasant and comfortable and not packing so much that you are weighed down by your luggage. After planning your route, check out the weather forecast to get a hint of what the conditions are going to be like when you are on the road. This will help determine the clothing you need to pack. You should consider packing a selection of thin layers of clothing, rather than thicker ones. This gives you the flexibility of being able to stop and add or take off layers as the weather and temperature changes. As you’re embarking on a longer journey on a motorcycle, taking a small first aid kit would also be prudent.

 

Wear A Full Face Helmet

This is perhaps the most important piece of equipment or clothing. Although a full face helmet can be somewhat constrictive when it comes to heat, the overall safety benefits outweigh the less appealing aspects. A full face helmet will not only protect your eyes from debris and insects, but also stop the wind from drying them out, impairing your vision. Look out for brands that have some form of ventilation if you want to be ensured a degree of comfort during hotter weather.

 

The thought of taking to the open road on a motorcycle for a long trip invokes idyllic scenes of cruising along open roads, with the cool wind blasting through your helmet and there is no reason why you can’t enjoy this scene in reality, but you must plan beforehand to make your whole journey enjoyable and safe. Good travels!