Before you embark upon a touring adventure, though, you should prepare both yourself and your bike to make sure nothing bad befalls you due to a lack of planning. The road can present you with many hazards, so if you take the time to prepare, you’ll be better equipped to face them head-on and move past them quickly.
Twister City Harley-Davidson® is your local dealer for touring motorcycles, based in Wichita, Kansas, and because we love touring on our bikes, we’ve created a list of tips for other riders to follow to make sure you get where you’re going and home again safely.
Plan Your Route
Plotting your course ahead of time can save you time by allowing you to navigate the quickest route to a place -- or the most scenic route, if that’s what you prefer. You can see where construction is taking place and figure out how to avoid traffic jams in major cities by looking up your route in advance. You can also use this research time to figure out where you’ll stop each night, how long you plan to ride each day and what sights you might want to check out as you’re riding. Give yourself a little extra space so you aren’t rushing to get somewhere or riding yourself into exhaustion.
Prepare For Adverse Weather Conditions
You should know what to expect when it comes to weather on your journey and at your destination. During summer, the Midwest is frequently beset by tornado warnings and heavy thunderstorms that bring lightning and hail, and none of that makes for great driving conditions in a car, let alone on a motorcycle that leaves you exposed to the elements. If the forecast looks dicey, you may want to delay your trip or find an alternate route. Bring waterproof gear to have in case you encounter sudden rain showers, as well as sunscreen and sunglasses for hot days. If you see a storm brewing as you’re driving, that means you may have to cut your day’s drive short and pull into a hotel for the night, which isn’t the end of the world. You might even find an interesting diner, shop or tourist attraction that you would have missed if you’d kept going!
Your motorcycle has a limited carrying capacity, which can sometimes be increased with saddlebags and panniers and cargo boxes, but that doesn’t mean you should try to overpack it with everything you can possibly think of. Pack a few outfits that layer well and consider investing in a breathable riding suit to keep your clothes protected from rain, sun and dust. Keep some food and water with you at all times, but know that you can always stop to replenish these items. Carry a first-aid kit with ointments, bandages and any medications you need. You should always have a small repair kit on board your bike to address any minor concerns, too. Navigational equipment is vital on long trips, whether this is your phone or your GPS. Make sure to bring charging cables for your devices.
Perform A Pre-Ride Inspection
Before you head out on any trip, you should give your bike an inspection to ensure there are no issues that could create problems down the road. Check your engine fluids to see that they’re in good condition and topped up, and check your tire pressure to make sure your tires are evenly inflated and have decent treads left. Make sure your brakes, lights and signals work well. If you come across any problems or your bike seems to be handling strangely, call the Twister City HD service department to schedule an appointment with our mechanics. We’ll get your bike in great condition for your long journey so you can go back to planning your itinerary.
Riding for many hours every day for multiple days can take a real toll on your body if you’re not careful. You should take frequent breaks to stretch and give your spine, eyes and mind a rest, which will also let your bike cool down so you’re not overheating. Stay hydrated, either with a hydration system backpack or with a reusable water bottle you refill at every stop and swig from whenever you rest. Keep healthy snacks with you and make sure to stop for good, filling meals, avoiding fast food where you can as it can dehydrate you with its high salt content. Make sure you get plenty of sleep when you stop each night, and try to stick to a regular schedule so your internal clock isn’t messed up, making you groggy and unable to focus on the road ahead. Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum on your trip and never drink before you ride.
In search of a bike for touring adventures? Come down to our showroom to see the new and used touring motorcycles we carry. Our capable staff can answer any questions you have about long-distance trips on your touring bike, too. Twister City Harley-Davidson® is in Wichita, serving the cities of Salina, McPherson, Junction City, Derby and Hutchinson, Kansas.