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"motorcycles will
get you through
times of no money
better than money
will get you through
times of no
author unknown
Preparing For A Trip
On Your Motorcycle

    Preparing for a budget     
    friendly road trip on
    your motorcycle

    Hundreds of thousands of motorcycle riders will be
    packing their motorcycles and hitting the highways this
    year on much anticipated road trips. For some it may be
    a yearly trek to the big motorcycle rally, some a vacation
    on the beach, others a tour of our beautiful national landmarks.  Regardless of your destination,
    being prepared will make the journey an event you will remember for a lifetime.

    Packing your bike for a ten day or longer trip is not only possible but accomplished by thousands of
    riders every year.  There are two essential items that will make the trip much more bearable for those
    500+ mile  days.  A sheepskin for your motorcycle seat and a motorcycle windshield.  The sheep skin
    will help prolong the time before the butt burn begins to set in and the windshield will help eliminate
    fatigue your body gets from the wind.  The pressure you endure to your chest, face, and arms from
    hours of 75+ m.p.h. wind, assuming it is a calm day, takes a toll on you that you might not realize if you
    have never used a motorcycle windshield .   Everyone at camp will appreciate a more rested rider at
    the end of the day.  Dennis Kirk carries a full line of windshields for all motorcycles.  

    For sleeping accommodations there are a lot of 2 man tents that roll up and attach to your luggage
    rack, saddle bags, or sissy bar easily.  A self inflating mat has proven to provide a comfortable nights
    sleep for most riders, but let’s face it, after a day of highway travel from dawn to dusk you can almost
    sleep like a baby on gravel. Two of these mats pack up easily if you are traveling with a passenger.

    A hard sided sissy bar bag (t-bag) provides ample space for your clothing and toiletries.  Soft sided
    t-bags work as well, but provide fewer functions as a stable item to attach other items to.  You may
    need to pack your tent and mats on top of your saddle bags so it is best to pack items that you do
    not need frequent access to in these.  You can also strap your tent and mats to the back side of your
    t-bag if they are hard sided.

    Large shammies make great towels for the shower, they pack small, dry fast, absorb a lot.  You are
    probably going to have a bungee cord or two involved in the packing, these work great between two
    trees or tents as a clothes line.

    When packing toiletries remember LESS IS MORE.  You want to be aware of the weight you are
    adding to your bike.  Don’t be tempted to buy the family size Suave shampoo because it is less or the
    same price as the small empty bottle you went to buy in the first place.  It takes up space and adds
    weight.  Same goes with the toothpaste!  A small waterproof bag, preferably with a shower hook, is
    useful for shower supplies.  You will be able to bring everything into the shower stall with you and
    hang it from the shower head.

    Sleeping bags are large and flimsy, but still very do-able.  An alternative is a fleece roll.  They roll up
    tight and small and provide warmth.  You also have your sheep skin you can utilize for sleeping and
    we have all used our leathers a time or two for blankets.

    If you are heading to a motorcycle rally or on vacation chances are you are going to buy a t-shirt or two.  
    Keep this in mind when packing your clothes.  You may be purchasing a day or two of attire and will
    not need to pack it prior to the road trip.

    Don’t forget a tool bag for roadside emergencies.  Some companies sell tool bags for motorcycles
    already equipped.  You should be familiar with tools you may need for your bike in case of emergency
    repairs.  If you don’t know, you should get educated, check your manual for your motorcycle for many
    useful tips prior to heading off.  We will try to get an article posted on this topic before riding season
    hits high gear.  If you do find yourself along the side of the road, tie a bandanna around your mirror,
    this will tell passing riders you need help.  If you see a bike on the side of the road, stop to see if you
    can help.

    Many riders wear their leathers as rain gear, which works fine unless you are in an all day rain, or an
    extended down pour.  Leather gets very heavy when wet and does not always dry out overnight.  If you
    plan to purchase rain gear, be sure it is made for motorcyclists, otherwise you end up with shreds of
    plastic flapping in the wind.  One important feature to look for in rain gear is visibility.  Riding on the
    interstate in pouring rain is stressful in itself, but when you disappear from view in the tire spray of a
    semi it is dangerous as well.  Try to pick something with high visible color or at minimum, with
    reflective stripping.

    Every rider should have a knife on their belt, in their pocket, or easily accessible.  The uses for a knife
    are endless when you are camping and traveling on a motorcycle.  

    Of course you should never think of heading out on a road trip without good tires on your motorcycle
    (you only have two-think about it!).  Check all fasteners for tightness, check/change all fluids, check
    cables - 4 days into a road trip is not a good time to discover you should have replaced your throttle
    cable.  Have a map or GPS unit on board, try to plan overnight stops ahead of time so you don’t get
    caught on the road with extreme fatigue.  Winging it is adventurous, but riding with extreme fatigue is
    dangerous.  Be sure you get sufficient rest, hydration, and food in between long legs of travel.

    There are few, if any, events, places, trips, that you cannot ride your motorcycle.  Be prepared and
    enjoy the ride!

    Have a safe trip!                                                        

    By:  Pam
    January 2011
Badlands, SD - 2006
Tie a bandanna to the mirror
on the left side of
your motorcycle.

This will signal passing motor-
cyclists that you are in
need of assistance.
Pam -
The anatomy of a packed motorcycle for your road trip
Click photo to see examples of a
packed motorcycle for a road trip


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Don't Forget To Read

Preparing For
A Road Trip

What You
Need To Pack
For The Sturgis
Motorcycle Rally

Gear For Your
Road Trip

Want to get a feel of
the Road Trip To
Sturgis?  Read the

"Road To Sturgis"

journey to the
2006 Sturgis
Motorcycle Rally  
The PERFECT motorcycle keychain in my motorcycle