Packing right, deciding whether to ride your bike the entire way or trailer it, and selecting the perfect scenic route are all part of creating the motorcycle vacation of your dreams. These tips will help you avoid potential bumps in the road.
Weather conditions can change. Road closures can happen. It's always better to over prepare before you take your bike out. Plan your route ahead of time and bring the right equipment to fit the location. Remember to bring a flashlight with extra batteries, an emergency first aid kit, bad-weather gear, a motorcycle cover, water bottles, a toolkit and even a few snacks in case you run into any problems while on the road.1 Be careful not to over-pack. If the weight of all your belongings is too much, it can affect your balance.
Transporting your bike
If you're not planning on riding your bike to your vacation spot, there are different ways of getting it to your destination safe and sound. Most motorcycle owners use a shipping company specifically for bikes when traveling. Research a few different companies online to make sure they can transport your model of bike and see what regulations will apply.2
If you're more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can transport your bike on your own trailer or one you rent. Make sure your trailer hitch is in good condition with all lights and connections working. Also, the hitch system should match your bike's towing specs. You'll need to secure your bike with tie-down straps attached to the front and rear.3 Keeping to a lower speed is one of the most important safety considerations when you're hauling a bike on a trailer, so don’t be tempted to hit the gas pedal too hard.
You made it. Now what?
When you finally make it to your destination, spot check your bike to make sure your tires and brakes are in perfect condition and that your bike doesn't need any quick repairs. Look into local traffic conditions and motorcycle laws before you go exploring the new terrain. And, remember to map out your ride so you don't run into any unexpected construction zones, traffic jams or closed roads.
Best places to ride
You may already have an amazing route in mind. If not, check out this list of the most popular stretches of pavement for riders in the USA:
- Pacific Coast Highway – California
- Peak to Peak Highway – Colorado
- Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina & Virginia
- Tail of the Dragon – North Carolina & Tennessee
- Beartooth Highway – Montana & Wyoming
- Going-to-the-Sun Road – Montana
- Coastal Route One – Maine
- Grand Staircase – Utah
- Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee, Alabama & Mississippi
- River Road – Texas4
Taking your bike with you on vacation is one of the best ways to enjoy your time away. Whether you're riding on the open road or transporting your bike, plan ahead, don't over-pack, and make sure everything is in good working order.
1 Best Motorcycle Checklist – Must Haves For Long Distance Rides + How To Pack Motorcycle Luggage and Saddlebags | The Travel Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://travel.thefuntimesguide.com/motorcycle-checklist/
2 Transporting Your Motorcycle | DMV.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/motorcycle-transport.php
3 Securing Your Bike For Transport – Trailering Tips | Motorcycle Cruiser. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/securing-your-bike-transport-traileringtips
4"Top Ten Motorcycle Rides in the U.S." Web article National Geographic Baker, Christopher P. Web May 12, 2015 http://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/top-10/motorcycle-rides-in-us/