Motorcycle Tour Planning Tips
First and foremost in planning your motorcycle tour is understanding your riding style. Asking yourself these questions will help you determine what kind of motorcycle touring style you prefer. Do you like to ride in a group, stopping when they stop, or do you prefer making the decisions? Do you like long leisurely rides on winding country roads or do you like the thrill of speeding down the highway at breakneck speed? Do you like to ride for as long as you can without stopping or do you enjoy stopping and seeing the sights? Do you mind going through cities during rush hour with heavy traffic? Do you like to begin a journey with no destination in mind and just follow the road where it takes you? The answers to these questons will help you determine the route you plan to take and what you will pack.
After you determine what your riding preferences are then you can start to plan your motorcycle touring trip. If you like long winding country roads and leisurely riding, you will probably want to go as little interstate as possible. If you like to be in charge of where and when you stop, you may want to go alone or with a few well known friends. With the invention of the Internet and GPS systems, there is an abundance of information available on routes, hotels, restaurants, and sights along any route to any destination you may choose. You can even check out the local traffic situations in areas that you will be visiting. By being familiar with your route through research or personal experience, you can determine the best places to stop to eat, take a break or rest for the night. You can also stop when you feel like stopping and take pot luck.
To save time and keep away from the morning rush hour traffic in most towns or cities, you may want to plan your evening stop at a hotel at the end of town, so that in the morning you are going away from traffic instead of towards it.
Keep in mind that 100 miles doesn't sound like a lot, but on winding country roads, it can take much more time and effort than straight highway riding. If the weather is hot and sunny, remember to stay hydrated and stop often to stretch. Also keep in mind that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so be sure and have a good ideal where you will be when riding, so that you aren't blinded by the sun's setting or rising. It may be a good time for you to take a break or go for an early dinner.
One method to keep organized and keep papers together for an extended trip is to put each day's event information, such as hotel confirmations, routes, mileage, tickets, etc. in an envelope with the date and location marked on front. When you stop for the night, you can look at the next day's information and feel comfortable knowing where you are and where you are going. Peace of mind and feeling in control is worth it's weight in gold when motorcycle touring.
Always carry extra cash, hidden in a safe place, in case you have to pay for a service you didn't plan on. For example, a fellow rider had towing insurance, but couldn't get her service to send a tow truck. They had to go with a local service and pay up front with cash because the local service didn't accept credit cards or checks.
Make sure and bring a camera along so that you can record your trip and remember unique places and new friends you make along the way. Another way to make sure you remember your trip is to take a small road journal with you. At the end of each evening, write down how you felt and what you saw. If the roads were terrible and it stormed most of the time, you may rethink the route or time of year for your next road trip.
Stay tuned for the next article that discusses packing for a tour. Until next week.
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