Did you know that 32% of Americans aged 18-29 report owning a motorcycle? Of all these motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s likely that many have considered the journey of a cross-country motorcycle trip.
If this is you, it looks as though you may in for the ride of your life! But, with such a great adventure ahead of you, it’s best to be prepared for anything and everything that can happen in between.
As most seasoned motorcyclists are aware, a trip on your bike isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B. Instead, it’s about enjoying the journey along the way.
If you’re getting ready to hit the open road, you’re going to want to ensure that you’ve read this cross-country guide beforehand. We’re uncovering our ten best tips for preparing for your first cross-country motorcycle trip.
1. Double-Check Your Bike
First things first, you’re going to want to ensure that your motorcycle and all gear are in optimal condition. This means everything is perfectly functioning from the frame and the suspension to the engine and the transmission.
To be extra safe, you may want to have your bike serviced by and examined by an experienced mechanic. While it may feel excessive, it’s sure to provide you with peace of mind throughout your trip.
You will also want to consider how long you have had your current helmet. Safety guidelines recommend purchasing a new, updated motorcycle helmet every five years. This is especially the case for any helmets that have experienced an accident.
You will also want to pay special attention to the functionality of your tires. You’re going to want to ensure that your bike is equipped with tires that can withstand the long trip. If you feel that your tires may be nearing the end of their lifespan, it’s always best to switch them.
Lastly, be sure to pay attention to the load limit of your motorcycle. The owner’s manual should state the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and it’s important to stay under the maximum limit.
2. Understand Your Destination(s)
With a cross-country trip, you’re going to be passing through many different states that each have their own set of rules and regulations. From differing interstate speeds and varying rules of the road, it’s best to be prepared in advance for the legalities of each state.
Some states carry refueling laws in which you need a permit to fuel your car. For example, in most of Oregon drivers are not permitted to pump their own gas. In order to comply with the law, it’s important to be aware of the different rules of the road in each state that you plan to pass through.
Some states may also require different forms of identification. To best prepare, ensure that you have a good variety of government identification from health cards to driver’s licenses and a copy of your passport.
If and when stopped by the authorities, it’s always best to have as much documentation as possible.
3. Create a Well-Equipped Packing List
When it comes time to packing, it’s best to be overprepared than to be underprepared. This may lead to carrying extra weight, but you’ll be happy in the end that you chose to include each and every item on your list.
For a general list, be sure to pack the following items:
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- First aid kit
- Tire repair kit
- Lightweight and reusable Waterbottle
- Portable motorcycle cover
- A physical map
- Laundry pods
- Rain jacket
- List of personal contacts
- Lightweight clothing
- Extra socks
From here, you can add more personalized items to your list to suit your trip. Of course, you will have to ensure that your packing list adheres to the weight restrictions of your particular motorcycle.
4. Download Travels Apps
If you’re going to be staying at hotels or motels, the costs can add up pretty quickly.
In an effort to protect your wallet, try downloading lodging apps such as Priceline and Hotwire. These apps allow users to enter the city in which they plan to reside and will offer discount prices for overnight stays. You can also take advantage of the free continental breakfasts that are often associated with these overnight stays!
You may also want to consider downloading a fuel finder app. These apps reveal the closest fuel stations to your location and with prices. This allows you to compare which stations are in close proximity and offer the cheapest fuel.
After all, fueling stations can be few and far between with scenic routes, so it’s best to note ahead of time the upcoming locations.
5. Have a Reliable Method of Communication
While it may appear unnecessary to request all riders to bring a phone, many riders enjoy the freedom of being unplugged throughout their road trip.
However, for safety reasons, it’s essential to have a reliable method of communication throughout your journey. A working phone in which your service provider is able to provide service in all planned destinations is a must.
If you plan to cross into another country or even some states, be aware that your service provider may no longer operate in that country.
6. Consider a Helmet with Bluetooth
To really make the most of your trip, you may want to consider splurging on a helmet that includes Bluetooth speakers.
This means you can wirelessly connect your phone to your speakers and enjoy music, podcasts, phone calls, etc. It’s safe to say this is a feature that is both incredibly functional and makes for a more safe ride.
Not to mention this will especially come in handy when using a GPS. Rather than having to read the instructions of your GPS, the Bluetooth will be able to feed you the directions through each speaker.
Be sure that whichever helmet you choose abides by the present helmet laws!
7. Pack Earplugs
If you have yet to ride on a long, crowded interstate then you have yet to understand just how loud it can be. The honking, the speeding cars, the sirens -these sounds have the ability to drive any motorcyclist crazy after a long ride on the interstate.
For some stretches of the interstate, you may not desire music or podcasts to drown the sounds. In these times, you can turn to your earplugs to bring a more calming sense of peace and serenity to your drive.
The excessively loud noise of the interstate can also be damaging to your ears. The last thing anyone wants on a road trip is to slowly begin losing their hearing or, at the very least, causing pain to the ears.
At the end of the day, earplugs are minuscule and lightweight making them easy to pack. Even if only used a few times, you’re sure to give yourself a pat on the back for packing these earphones.
8. Avoid Excess Interstate Routes
While interstates may save time, they may not provide for the most scenic of drives.
When planning your route, don’t always opt for the fastest means of reaching your next destination. Instead, why not take back country roads that provide for better landscapes and more peace and quiet?
Nowadays, there are plenty of tried-and-true motorcycle routes available online that have been tested many a time before. These routes are peaceful and avoid long stretches on the interstate.
After all, when it comes to riding your motorcycle on the open road, the trip is about the journey, not the destination.
9. Plan According to Your Experience
When it comes time to plan both your routes and the length of your trip, be realistic in your ability. This means taking into consideration your body and your mind and understanding your limits.
Sure, you may have gone for long rides before. But, consider that back-to-back rides over the span of a road trip will start to take a toll on your body. Be practical when planning how long you will ride each day and the destinations in between.
10. Don’t Press Yourself for Time
The last thing any motorcyclist desires on their road trip is to feel pressed for time and rushed. After all, the journey is about taking a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and enjoying a new, more slow pace of life.
That being said, give yourself enough time to get from destination-to-destination. This means taking time to stretch your legs, have a snack and water break and relax your back if necessary.
Cross-Country Motorcycle Trip
It’s safe to safe that a cross-country motorcycle trip has the ability to be the trip of a lifetime!
But, checking this ultimate getaway off of your bucket list there are some guidelines that you’re going to want to follow. These tips help to ensure that your trip is as safe and efficient as possible and that you’re prepared for any bumps in the road.
From double-checking your bike and understanding the legalities of your destination to opting for a helmet with Bluetooth and avoiding the interstates, there certainly is a right way to do a cross-country motorcycle trip.
If you’re still trying to plan the perfect route, check out some of our hand-curated lists of some of the best motorcycle routes across the country!
Enjoy the ride!