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Motorcycle Touring 101 – Part 1

So you’ve finally gotten curious about traveling beyond the outskirts of your city, state or country with your motorcycle. This article will discuss how to stay safe on a motorcycle along with some tips and tricks that will make life on the road more enjoyable.

Starting Off Small

Start off with small distances and gradually increase. That cross-country trip you’ve been daydreaming about could be a nightmare if you don’t learn some lessons along the way on shorter trips. You might need to become a little more seasoned than you are right now. Zipping around town is fun an all, but if you’re stuck in the middle of the desert and have 100 miles to go after a full day in the saddle, your decision to keep going may turn a pleasant day’s ride into exhausting ending. Take a 50-mile ride, then 100 or 200. Then take a weekend trip. You will start to understand your limits and that will gauge the time and range you have.

Alone or with a Group

Many people like to ride with others. There is protection in numbers, but there are also downsides. With others you have an invisible bubble around you that deters others from interacting with you. I prefer riding alone. I can ride at my own pace, don’t have to worry about anyone’s well-being and ironically enough, I am hardly alone. When a lone rider pulls up with a license plate four states away or from another country altogether, it tends to stir attention and you can have great encounters from all walks of life. Of course there is something to be said for sharing those moments with your other riders. In the end, it’s up to you to decide between riding solo or not.

Storage Equipment

How you carry your clothes, electronics, tools, and gear will depend on your motorcycle and the duration of your trip. For any duration, rain must be considered. Whether it is the bags inside your luggage or the luggage itself, it should be waterproof. Bungee cords are a quick fix sometimes but then can be inadequate for heavier loads. Consider using straps instead if bungee cords seem remotely insecure. Check out web site forums for your specific model of motorcycle for advice on what types of luggage systems have worked for others. You can end up spending from $100 to $1500 on luggage. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. More expensive equipment doesn’t always mean it will fit your situation better.

Bikes for Motorcycle Touring

What kind of bike should you pick should you want to take up motorcycle touring? Any one you like! Some are more comfortable than others, but any motorcycle can be ridden any distance with the proper preparations. People have gone around the world on 125cc dirt bikes, and 1200cc cruisers. It’s up to your taste, and if you already have the bike you’ve loved all those years, don’t count it out of the possibilities simply because it wasn’t designed for touring.

When it comes down to it, it’s about the journey and any two wheels will do.

Check back next week for some additional advice on protective apparel and how to prepare for emergency situations.

Further Reading:

Forums:

Motorcycle Touring 101 – Part 2

Advrider.com - Get inspired. Read ride report of others, ask questions and have some laughs here.

Horizonsunlimited.com - Emphasis on international and worldwide touring.

Sport-touring.net - Emphasis on sport bike touring.

- Central forums exist for practically every bike imaginable. Search for a forum dedicated to your make and model of motorcycle and start asking any specific questions you have to the experts who have been riding your bike for years. For example, I consult klr650.net for my Kawasaki KLR 650.

Books:

- Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: Worldwide Motorcycling Route & Planning Guide

- Jupiters Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph

- Lois on the Loose: One Woman, One Motorcycle, 20,000 Miles Across the Americas

 

Bill Dwyer iis a guest blogger from http://atlasrider.com/. In exchange for sharing this content, GoodHandsCommunity.org has compensated him via cash payment.

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