You’ve probably heard seasoned riders say “ride smarter, not harder”. There’s no greater feeling than the one-on-one time you get with your bike on a road trip, but if you’re not adequately prepared then it can take a toll on you and your bike. This time of year, it’s common for new riders to be especially affected by seasonal wanderlust… the need to get out there. Knowing how important safety is, we asked some of our long-term customers for their favourite tips for taking longer rides.
WEAR A FULL-FACE HELMET: The law in Ontario doesn’t stipulate full-face helmets but there are some states that require them. It’s not just necessary for obeying the law, but you risk getting tired more on long trips, which increases your chances of getting injured. Full-face helmets are also better at keeping you dry should it start to rain. Plus, they help to reduce sounds; it’s surprising how that noise can drain your energy.
~ Jimmy W. Cambridge, riding 29 years.
REMEMBER, IT'S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT: Your gas mileage and range will suffer from high speeds and since you’re not a local you’re likely to ride right into their speed traps.
~ Jesse T. Hamilton, riding 14 years.
ADJUST YOUR SUSPENSION: Whether you’re riding with a passenger, or you’ve got some luggage with you, you’ll want to check the sag on the suspension. The sag affects handling, by changing the ride height of your motorcycle. Generally decreasing the sag makes it quicker handling, increasing the sag makes it more stable but makes cornering a bit harder.
~ Rob P. Guelph, riding 13 years.
KEEP WATER HANDY: Even in the fall when it’s cooler out; I usually tie one on top of my gear so it’s easily the first thing I grab when I pull over.
~ Clive R. Cambridge, riding 16 years.
PLAN AHEAD: When my husband and I go on trips, we always know what hotel we’ll be staying at. That ensures we don’t have to keep riding when we’re tired.
~ Katy S. Kitchener, riding 12 years.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY: This might be a little sentimental, but I always tell friends to take breaks and take the time to enjoy what you’re doing. The ride isn’t something that needs to get done, it’s the best part. Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the freedom and remember how lucky you are to be riding where you are.
~ Pete R. Guelph, riding 22 years.
DON’T TAKE CHANCES: I bring my bike in for a tire inspection and oil change before any long-distance ride. I also carry a small tire repair kit and inflation tool with me. They don’t take up much space and I find, if I don’t pack it, that’s when I need it.
~ Shawn P. Cambridge, riding 13 years.
RIDE LESS IF YOU’RE CAMPING: I find I need to ride a lot less when I’m pitching a tent rather than staying in a hotel. If you have to set up camp, you won’t want to ride as hard, because you’ll be exhausted and sore. Plus, an air mattress isn’t as comfortable as a hotel mattress, so your back might be a little sore the next day. It helps to do some stretching before starting the next days’ ride.
~ Jim F. Brantford, riding 15 years.
CHECK YOUR BIKE EVERY MORNING: Since you’re riding a lot more during your trip than on your daily commute back home, you want to do some chain lubing, fastener checking, and a tire examination is a good idea as well.
~ Tanya J. Woodstock, riding 9 years.
DOWNLOAD YOUR MAPS IN ADVANCE. If you’re travelling off the beaten path, or to remote areas, it’s comforting to know you can still see and plan your route because it’s been saved to your phone or GPS.
~ Shelly, S. Cambridge, riding 16 years.
Remember a good ride is a safe ride. Blackbridge Harley-Davidson loves to help plan and hear about your trips. We can help you ensure your motorcycle is safe and you have all the proper gear before hitting the road.
One last tip we’d like to personally add, is to join a squad. If you’re planning a long-distance trip, this app will inspire you to visit new destinations and have some fun along the way. Scavenger hunts, event rides, relays, trivia and more. You can put your own squad together or join a new one online. Then get started on your adventure!