Preparing for a motorcycle trip takes a lot of planning and organization, especially if it’s your first time doing the trip or you are planning for something extra special. Whether you are taking a solo trip or riding with a group of other motorcyclists, planning ahead can help everything run smoothly and make your experience much more fun and memorable.
Here are some of our best tips for planning the ultimate motorcycle trip.
Choosing a Ride
First things first: you have to pick a place to ride! We highly advise against going on a trip without planning a route ahead of time. While the spontaneity might seem alluring and adventurous, if you don’t plan, at the very least, a basic route before heading out on the road, you run the risk of things not working out to your advantage. There is a chance you could end up getting lost and having to waste time turning around and rerouting, or worse, riding along boring roads with absolutely no scenery or any exciting features.
One of the big differences between going on a motorcycle riding trip versus a regular vacation somewhere is that it’s not really all about the final destination; it’s more about getting from point A to point B and enjoying the journey of the ride. Of course, picking where exactly point A and point B are going to be is an important factor. Once you have done that, you can map out your route and from there figure out some key components of the trip details, including important things like: How many total miles will the ride be? How many hours per day will we ride? How many days total will the ride be?
The amount of miles and time on the road during a motorcycle trip is going to be much different than the amount of miles for road tripping in a car, even if your point A and point B are exactly the same. Not all roads are motorcycle-friendly, and you probably want to go off road a bit for extra adventure. Make sure to take weather and road conditions into consideration, and look into backroads that may have less traffic.
Don’t forget about gas stops! If you are solo, you only have to worry about your own bike, but if you are riding with a group, make sure everyone knows their bike’s mileage so you have an idea of how many times and when you will have to stop to fill up. You don’t want to get stuck out in the open country where there are no gas stations for miles, so this is a pretty crucial piece of planning ahead.
Thankfully, there are quite a few mobile apps available that can be very helpful as you plan all the parts of your trip. Each app has its own special features and it is smart to do your research to see which one suits your trip preferences the best.
One of the most popular motorcycle mobile apps we have heard about is calimoto. Calimoto not only helps you plan a route, but it also gives suggestions for new routes, including off roading tracks, winding mountainous roads and other scenic adventures, based upon data entered from other calimoto users who share their experience on the app. Once you’ve subscribed to the app, you too can post your ride experiences and share in the excitement with other bikers all over the country.
Calimoto is more than a GPS navigation system though. It also shows you the weather forecast, nearby gas stations, restaurants, and even shows you places to meetup with other motorcycle enthusiasts. It uses a voice navigation system to keep your hands free and eyes on the road.
Another good one to look into is MyRouteApp. This app makes it really easy to map out your ride. All you have to do is drop a point on the map or search for the places you want to start and finish and it will create a route for you that you can customize all you want. A few other effective apps for motorcycle trip planning include Rever, MAPS.ME, Best Biking Roads and EatSleepRIDE. All of these that we have mentioned are either free or at least have a free version available, and can be downloaded on both Apple and Android.
It’s pretty awesome that we have this kind of technology that allows us to ride all over the place without the need to mess with physical paper maps! Can you imagine navigating a motorcycle while holding a map and looking at it to get where you need to go? Not safe, and definitely not fun.
Packing the Proper Gear
Remember, you need to pack light! When traveling via motorcycle, you don’t have the luxury of having a big trunk or back seat to stash a bunch of suitcases in, so you have to be very strategic when packing. You also need to be careful in the way that you load your luggage onto your motorcycle. Make sure it is stable and weight is evenly dispersed so your motorcycle is not lopsided. Don’t pile anything too high that it blocks your vision through the mirror, and use bungee cords to keep everything securely in place.
Your packing list will be determined by things like whether you will be staying overnight at hotels, staying with friends or family along the way, or if you will be camping outdoors, and of course weather plays a large role. If the weather is going to be chilly where you will be, don’t forget to bring things like a warm beanie, gloves, extra jacket, etc. Hand warmers are also clutch to have with you while you’re riding too.
Packing a raincoat or poncho will make a huge difference if you happen to get caught in the rain. Stick to the basics when it comes to things like toiletries and things of that nature. A small toolkit is also a good idea to have on hand as well just in case. Of course, we always hope that nothing bad ever happens during a trip, but you can never be too prepared.
The most important thing, though, is what you are wearing on your body while you ride. Safety is so important. Over half of motorcyclists ride unprotected, and that can result in some serious injuries. You’ve spent so much time planning and preparing for this motorcycle trip; you don’t want an accident to ruin the experience, do you? Of course not. That’s why riding in protective gear is a must.
NBT Clothing is changing the name of the game when it comes to motorcycle apparel and bringing you clothing that is both fashionable and functional on the open road.
The top two pieces of NBT Clothing products you should have with you during your motorcycle trip are the Aramid Edition License To Ride Pant and the Aramid Edition Free Ridin’ Flannel. For colder weather, having The Body Guard Pullover Hoodie is also a good idea. All three of these items have reinforced aramid lining, which is the ultimate feature for protective gear. Aramid lining protects against any type of abrasion caused by road rash, which is the top injury for motorcycle riders. These items also have removable CE-approved armor to protect the body from impact.
The License to Ride pants have TensileTough™ technology with 100% aramid lining in knees and glute area, and impact armor in these areas as well. The Free Ridin’ Flannel has removable armor in the shoulder, elbow and back areas, and is completely lined with aramid fibers, making this a must-have piece of protective gear. It also comes in four colors that you can easily pack to wear throughout your trip. The hoodie has TensileTough™ anti-abrasion aramid and removable armor in the elbows, shoulders and back as well, which means that if you wear the hoodie over the flannel shirt on a chilly night, you will have double the protection.
Don’t ride unprepared or unprotected. Aside from having the right wardrobe, make sure the rest of your gear is in good condition to withstand the duration of the trip.
Before leaving for your trip, make sure your bike is in tip top shape. Get your tires checked, make sure your oil has been changed, you have enough brake fluid, and ensure that all your lights are in working order.
It’s also smart to tell friends or family about your trip, including all of the details about where you will be, when you expect to reach each point along the journey and the final destination, and call or text them throughout the ride to let them know you are okay.
Motorcycle riding can be a dangerous activity, and your safety should be a top priority. If you are an Apple iPhone user, consider taking advantage of the ‘Find My Friend’ app on your phone and making your location available to your loved ones who aren’t on the trip with you.
Document The Ride
You will want to remember all of your motorcycles for years to come, so make sure to take lots of pictures and videos along the way! If you are active on social media, documenting your ride in real time can be super exciting for your followers, and so cool for you to look back on at the end of the trip. Even if you aren’t on social media, having those photos and videos for yourself will make the trip live on, and can even help you plan trips in the future.
Also, keep in mind that some things are out of your control, especially when it comes to the outdoors. You may run into detours that force you to change your course. Don’t get upset if things don’t go exactly as planned. Embrace it, and just enjoy the ride.
The most important things to remember are to have fun, be safe, and as always, stay stylish in NBT Clothing!