Friday, November 30, 2012
Long distance riding requires far more planning and preparation than its car trip equivalent. For riders who compete in endurance riding events, the time and preparation each event takes is second nature. However, for the younger riders who are new to the experience, the daunting concept of riding thousands of miles on our beloved bikes and all the planning can be more than overwhelming. Though the ride welcomes a sense of freedom and limitless possibilities, a little forethought and preparations is an absolute necessity for endurance rides. Before you hit the open road to follow those yellow lined highways, consider these important measures for safety, wellbeing, and good riding.
Carefully Inspect Your Bike
Your bike acts as your legs—obviously it's essential that you carefully inspect and doctor your motorcycle prior to your trip. Motorcycle maintenance is absolutely vital to your success and safety on the road. While a detailed inspection by a professional is definitely needed, the most efficient way to inspect your bike on your own before traveling is the T-CLOCS approach. T-CLOCS is an acronym for Tires, Controls, Lights, Oils and Fluids, Chassis, and Stands.
These are the fundamental elements of your bike that you should look at carefully before you embark on any long distance ride. Make sure that both tires are properly inflated. Be sure to check the air pressure of your tires with the pressure gauge that you will take with you on your ride. Make sure all your cables and controls are intact and working correctly. Check your headlights, turn signals, and brake lights. Make sure everything from your engine oil and coolant to you brake fluid are in place. Look at the frame, suspension, chain, and fasteners to make sure they are all secure and intact. As the final step make sure that the center stand and/or side stand isn't cracked or damaged. Check the springs to ensure that they properly hold the assembly away from the pavement when stowed. T-CLOCS is your quick reference for bike inspection, but be sure you see a professional too.
Packing for a long distance motorcycle ride can be a challenging thing. It's important that you find a comfortable balance between bringing enough items to ensure comfort on your trip and not overloading your ride with unnecessary weight. Once you've mapped out your ride, you should look at things like weather forecasts and environmental factors. When packing clothes, it can be wise to pack several light weight thin items that you can layer. It's much better to have to stop to adjust your layers and shed some articles than to shiver or sweat your way through a long ride. After all, long rides like this are all about enjoying the experience and the road. As far as food and drink goes, this can be challenging. This is where bulkiness comes in and packing can be a challenge. Think about energy bars, trail mix, and water. You want food items that pack in all the necessities in one small package. Water is obviously the most important thing. Be sure that you have enough water packed to hold you over on long stretches of road that might not have a gas station or store.
Review Your Insurance Policies
Part of planning for a long distance competition or just ride is very much about forethought and preparedness. Before your ride, look through your motorcycle insurance policy and make sure that you have all the protection you'll need. Long distance riding just opens up that much more time and opportunity for problems. Preparing for the worst is (sadly) the best option. Consider policy options that you might want to add onto your basic liability plan, so that you are fully protected. Things like custom parts and equipment coverage, roadside assistance, medical payment coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and many others may be very worthwhile for endurance riders.
Stacy Holmes is a blogger and freelance writer for www.motorcycleinsurance.com. She enjoys writing and researching everything to do with motorcycles and automotive trends. Stacy is particularly interested in engaging her readers in the often mundane world of motorcycle insurance and money-saving tactics. You can reach her in the comments below.