The American countryside puts out a call to all motorcycle riders, beckoning them forth on a grand adventure to tour the majestic landscape we all call home. From sea to shining sea, those purple mountains majesties and amber waves of grain are just waiting to be experienced. And the vast network of freeways and interstates that cross the country make long-distance land travel both appealing and easy. So strap on your riding leathers, hook up a Steppenwolf playlist, and prepare for the most thrilling of road trips!
At Crow River H-D®, we aren't just a dealer - we're riders too. That's why we've put together this quick guide for long times on your touring bike. If you have more questions about getting ready for motorcycle trips, or you just want to check out our great selection of new and used Harley-Davidson® motorcycles, then don't hesitate to call or visit us in Delano, Minnesota. We're proud to serve the areas of St. Paul, St. Cloud, Minnetonka, and the greater Minneapolis area.
You have to know where you're going before you get there. Even a rough itinerary can make the difference between hitting your mileage goals and sputtering around missed exits for hours. Start with the specific places you know you want to visit then figure out a route to take so you can reach each destination. Factor in time for resting as well as some extra time for unplanned events. This is also a good time to reserve or book any food, camping, or other lodging you'll need on the road. It doesn't do to get to where you want to go only to learn that you needed to reserve space in advance!
Cargo and Packing
Motorcycles are notoriously light on cargo space, and even touring bikes with their additional saddlebags and luggage racks have a hard time fitting everything you might be used to bringing on a vacation. Again, start with the items you know you'll need, like clothing, toiletries, and medication, and then move to the less-than-necessary comforts. Make a packing list to keep track of everything once you settle on what you're bringing. Include important items like tool and first aid kits. If you can't make room for everything you need, consider upgrading your bike's storage. After everything is on board, test your cargo to make sure it's secured and nothing will get loose on the road.
Hopefully you already have a pre-ride check in place. Getting ready for a long distance touring trip doesn't differ much from a standard pre-ride check. Any equipment that's been damaged will cause more trouble on the road than it will take to fix it, so take care of any repair and replacements long before your ride. Check tire pressure and for any scalping or cracking that could indicate it's time for replacements. Check fluid levels in the engine and for any possible leaks. And check your electronics, especially brake lights and turning signals.
Everyone's favorite subject: hygiene! OK, so maybe it's not on the forefront of your mind when traveling, but anyone who has been stuck eating unsavory food or using inadequate restrooms might have an idea of why preparedness and attention can be important. There are enough things on the road to worry about without being concerned with diets and inoffensive body odor. Learning to take care of yourself on the road can keep you feeling good and able to get back in the saddle each time with the morning's freshness.
Bring along some ear protection (silicone or foam plugs work great), as your helmet is absolutely ineffective at protecting your hearing and can in most cases actually add to the total decibel level you experience. You'll also want to stay hydrated, so bring along a refillable container. Hands-free hydration packs are safer for on-the-road swigs. Proper sleep is important as well, since even mild sleep deprivation can impact your driving abilities as much as alcohol consumption. Eating healthy on the road can be extremely difficult. You won't have anywhere to prep and cook your own food, and the siren's call of fast food or greasy spoon diners is sometimes too much for even the staunchest of healthy eaters. Just make sure your eating habits allow you enough coherence to continue a long-distance ride. While throwing down on an all-you-can-eat challenge might sound like a fantastic idea, it can mean an excruciatingly uncomfortable ride later on.
While proper eating and checking tire pressure are great tips for keeping on task during a motorcycle tour, the most important thing is to get on your bike and enjoy yourself. Still feeling unprepared? Head to Crow River H-D® in Delano, Minnesota where you'll never ride alone. We're also proud to serve the area of St. Paul, St. Cloud, Minnetonka, and the greater Minneapolis area. Our expert and helpful staff are ready to answer all your questions and get you on the Harley of your dreams today!
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