Planning a Road Trip on your Bike?

When it comes to planning a road trip you have exactly 2,734,102 miles of paved public roads in the United Sates at your disposal. You can add another 1,324,245 miles of unpaved public roads if you have no problem riding on dirt.

That's according to a statistical report from October 2009 by the Federal Highway Administration.

I'll bet you want to ride every last mile, don't you? Bet you would also want the best touring seat that money could buy! It would take several lifetimes to complete and I know you don't want to use up that much time.

So, since we're on the subject, let's start by talking about long road trips first. (Two or more weeks)

When I take a long road trip it's usually on my vacation where I'll burn at least two weeks and about a thousand bucks.(That's being frugal) It's always in the summer and I prepare for it about a month in advance.

One summer I was gone for four weeks and I traveled 7,707 miles. I don't mind telling you, I was kinda glad to get back home and into my routine again. My planning for this trip was done on the fly because I had an abundance of time which made for an interesting vacation.

However, my average two week trip is about 4,000 miles and I'll spend six to seven days on the road. I make up the other days by planning ahead and staying with friends.

First, you can make a checklist as I do and update it as you go along with the preparation. The checklist covers things to do before the ride and things to pack.

The most important thing to know is if your bike is mechanically able to make the trip. This rule applies to all trips not just massive 10 week trips. You should know this even for the trip trip down to the 7-11.

Planning a Road Trip

• Mechanical inspection to ensure your bike is mechanically ready to make the trip.

I take my bike to my local dealer for service. Ed, my service adviser, knows everything about past work performed and the required service intervals. I'll schedule an appointment for about one week before departure. I let him know that I'll be leaving on my annual road trip and need my bike to be tip-top. Sometimes this involves a new set of tires (sneakers), valve adjustments, a full tune up and service which can run upwards of a grand. This might seem like a lot, but it buys peace-of-mind.

Planning a Road Trip

• Paperwork

You may not think about it, but paperwork is a good thing to have too. For example: If you purchased a service contract for your bike, you might think about taking it along. It could save a lot of time if you need repairs and you're somewhere near Nacogdoches Texas. (Some day I'm going to visit there!)

Bringing owners manuals for all the new high-tech equipment you purchased is good. Relying on your memory for what the manual of that new intercom system says might work for you but not me. I like quick reference material handy.

Your checklist that you made up before the trip is invaluable every morning as you are re-packing your gear. Riding out a hundred miles and realizing that you left your six-hundred dollar Droid X on the nightstand can ruin the whole day.

Also, don't forget the required paperwork like proof of insurance and regristration.

Planning a Road Trip

• Toolkit

A readily accessible tool kit is a must. I keep all kinds of stuff in mine. It should contain tools necessary for minor repairs so that you don't have to rely on a " Bronson Rock ".

A) Multi-tool
B) Pocket knife
C) Wire Cutters
D) Allen Wrenches
E) Several small screwdrivers
F) Tire plug kit
G) Co2 Tire Inflator with extra Co2 refills
H) Various sized wire ties
I) Small Flashlight and extra batteries (I have a Surefire Flashlight )

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