When motorcycle owners imagine going for a ride, they may envision an enjoyable ride in pleasant weather. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. The truths of the road on a bike is that you are exposed to the outside world, both invigorating and challenging. Make sure you’re prepared and you’ve packed smartly, especially when you’re heading out on a long trip. Distribute the weight of your belongings evenly, keep heavy items low to maintain your bikes center of gravity, and have a way of securing our goods at stops. Finally, before going for a long ride, make sure you bring the necessary equipment with you.
Check out these road trip packing tips from the professionals at Harley-Davidson.
TRAVEL TIPS FROM EXPERIENCED TOUR RIDERS
- Lightweight synthetic clothing – such as T-shirts and underwear – can be washed in a hotel sink and dried overnight (cotton fabrics take too long to dry in this manner).
- Zipper-lock plastic bags of various sizes can be extremely useful for organizing items in saddlebags and duffle bags. They can make it easier to find and retrieve particular items without unpacking your entire motorcycle. Use the one-gallon size to pack one day's worth of clothes – jeans, undergarments, and shirt. This makes it easier to unpack just what you need.
- Don't fold your clothes – roll them. They take up less space that way.
- Pack items that have more than one use. A multi-tool is handier than a basic pocket knife.
- When traveling with other riders, conserve space by comparing packing lists and eliminating duplicate items.
- When traveling (two-up) with a spouse or "significant other", ask yourself questions such as: "Can we share a tube of toothpaste?" or "Can I get by using her shampoo for a week?"
- On long trips, consider bringing your rattiest underwear (or other clothing), then just throw it away when you're done with it!
- Check the cargo weight limits of your bike - as wells as the bags and racks - and adjust tire pressure and suspension accordingly.
- Few things are as easy to pack as money or credit cards. If you're struggling with whether or not to bring a particular item, consider simply buying it on the road if you need it.
- If you watch the ounces, the pounds will take care of themselves. When possible, lighter is better.
- When loading your bike, keep as much weight as possible close to the bike's center of gravity. That means low and toward the tank, distributed evenly from side to side.
- A day or two before you leave, do a dry run. Pack the bike and go for a short ride, then adjust the load as needed.
- If you're camping, set up your tent once or twice before you leave (and don't forget to waterproof it). Practice setting it up in the dark.
- With your bike fully loaded for your road trip, check your headlamp to make sure it’s properly aimed.
- Pack all your cold weather and raingear no matter what time of year it is.
- Plastic bags make great boot liners if you forgot your gaiters. If you forgot your rain gloves, rubber dishwashing gloves make great, inexpensive substitutes.
- A small towel can be wrapped around your neck during a rainstorm to keep water from running down your back – and doubles as a shop rag.
Read more on Harley Davidson's website.
Enjoy the ride and, as always, stay safe!
Make sure you’re ready to roll. TVC Insurance offers a variety of coverage options for riders.