Plan Your Route
Before you climb on your bike, you'll want to plan your route. Planning your route will allow you to find the most interesting roads to take. You can also plan what attractions and stops you want to hit. For really long rides, planning your route will allow you to avoid seasonal extremes in terms of weather. You obviously don't want to try to ride through the Rockies in December, nor do you want to spend a lot of time in Arizona in August.
Prepare for Different Weather Conditions
Once you know what terrain you'll be in, you'll be able to plan what gear you'll need. The longer you ride, the broader the range of weather conditions and riding scenarios you'll need to prepare for. Many touring riders invest in either full body riding suits or more purpose-built outerwear for tough riding conditions like rain and wind. You'll also want to pack some high visibility gear to make sure other motorists or commuters can always see you. Having the right accessories on your bike can be very helpful. While you may not necessarily like the idea of a windscreen, it really helps with poor weather conditions, like rain and wind.
Bringing all the gear you'll need for your trip requires putting some thought into what you're going to pack and how to pack it. As is the case with backpacking, the goal of packing for a touring trip is to reduce the volume and weight of everyday items so that you can pack more. Turning to backpacking products is a good way to accomplish this goal. For example, backpacking sleeping bags and tents are designed to pack up much smaller than traditional sleeping bags and tents.
As you start loading gear onto your bike, remember that it's best to pack weight as close to your bike's center of gravity as possible. Putting the gear farther forward and lower on the bike will help you to achieve the best handling, acceleration, and braking possible.
Maintain Your Health
Maintaining your health is crucial for staying safe on a long ride. It's easy to lose a night's rest when you're on the road. It's also easy to skip breakfast when you want to get an early start, or not drink enough water because you don't want to take a break to fill your water bottle just yet. All of these decisions will seem small, but they can have serious consequences. Having a health problem while you're riding at 75 mph on the highway is a recipe for disaster.
Maintain Your Bike
Keeping your bike in good shape is just as important as keeping your body healthy. Make sure to perform a pre-ride inspection each day before you start your ride. It's also necessary to keep your bike on a regular maintenance schedule. This schedule should be based on your bike's mileage as opposed to units of time. On a long ride, you might put more miles on your bike in a few days than you would in an entire year otherwise.
Brian's Valley Forge Harley-Davidson® carries touring bikes from America's most iconic motorcycle company. We're located near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we proudly serve the areas of King of Prussia, Lansdale, Pottstown, Collegeville, and Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.