Hitting the road on your Harley for a long trip can be a fun, exhilarating experience that allows you to take in the scenery up close and personal — but it’s not quite as simple as when you jump in the car and head out. For a safe, comfortable ride, a motorcycle trip requires careful preparation, so it’s important to keep these four key tips in mind as you plan your next excursion on a bike.
1. Tune Up
You don’t want to break down in the middle of your trip, so before you hit the road, make sure that your Harley is in top condition. If you suspect that there’s a problem with the bike, take it to the shop for a mechanic to check out. You could also tune up a motorcycle that seems to be in good working order yourself — make sure to check the oil, brake fluids, tires, and lights before you go.
2. Dress Right
If you’re going to be riding for long periods of time, you want to be comfortable, which means you need to dress appropriately for the road. Dressing in layers is usually the best option because it allows you to put on or take off items depending on the weather. Lightweight, synthetic pieces work well because you wash them in a motel bathroom sink and allow them to dry overnight. When you’re packing for the trip, roll your clothing instead of folding them to take up less space in your bag. It’s also a good idea to invest in a waterproof motorcycle suit that you can put on over your clothes. That way, you don’t have to worry about your clothing getting wet when in the rain or other inclement weather.
3. Pack Light
When it comes to packing for a road trip on your Harley, your first instinct may be to pack everything you might possibly need just in case of an emergency. However, you’re better off packing light to avoid weighing down the bike and making the ride uncomfortable for you. Be sure to check your owner’s manual to find out your motorcycle’s weight limit so you know how much you can bring. As you pack, try to place the load low on the bike and close to the gas tank so the cargo is near its center of gravity to keep the ride smooth.
When you get ready to pack, place everything that you’re thinking about bringing in a pile and then start weeding out the non-essential items until you’re left with an amount that you can comfortably bring. Keep in mind that you can always pick up items that you might need on the road, so there’s no need to worry about what you might have to leave at home.
4. Invest in a GPS
If you don’t already have a GPS device for your Harley, pick one up before your trip. It’ll help give you peace of mind because you’ll always know exactly where you are — and free you up to explore wherever the road takes you without worrying about getting lost.