Riding season is here and everyone we spoke to has either got Leh’d or is on the way to getting Leh’d
We thought this would be just about the right time to help you get prepped for your highway adventure. Our crew has tens of thousands of solo and group long distance miles under their belts. And it took a few tries to get it right but we think we have got it down to a science and here is what we have learned during our time on the open road.
1) Have a plan. We know, we may get a lot of hate for this but trust me when we say this, a long trip whether it is with a group or a solo ride needs to be meticulously planned. When you are covering huge distances in unfamiliar and remote territory, your idea of taking a path less taken just because you though it was fun could land you in a lot of trouble. Spend time researching the area for places to stay, eat, fuel up and possible issues you might face.
2) Keep your family/loved ones updated. As riders we often discount the concerns of others because we always assume they will never be able to fathom the joy we derive out of burning some gasoline. Even so, it is always a good idea to check-in with your friends and family on a regular basis. This has a 2 very important uses, the first being that they will have some peace of mind knowing where and what you are up to and second you will have someone back home who can reach out in case you do not check-in after a reasonable amount of time.
3) Start Early, Finish Early. When we tour, we are usually up before dawn and get our shower, breakfast, packing and do a quick check on our motorcycles done by the time the sun just begins to peak over the horizon so that we can set out at first light. If you have never tried it, you should, nothing beats the feeling of watching the sunrise from the seat of your motorcycle. As a rule, we usually do not ride after dusk. Why? The answer is simple, it is just not safe. The changing light makes it difficult for your sight to adjust and also makes it more difficult for other drivers to see you. Our advice, pull into your destination late afternoon or early evening, choose a place to stay, shower, eat leisurely, work on your motorcycle and go to bed early. A fresh mind will mean you’re safer on the biker.
4) Earplugs. This is one of the most overlooked gear by most riders. Trust, in the Fat Flash & Biker Jesus, always wear ear plugs, they not only protect your hearing but also reduce fatigue to a large extent. Helmets no matter how expensive can get noisy at higher speeds, add the road and engine noise to the wind noise and the next thing you know, you have a splitting headache. Most people think wearing ear plugs may hinder your hearing but it is quite the opposite, it cuts out most of noise so that you can hear only what is necessary, a big plus if you ask us. We do not recommend earphones because they are more of a distraction than anything else.
5) Stay Hydrated. Most of us do not drink enough water during the day and on a motorcycle that can be fatal. Dehydration even in the early stages can cause fatigue, muscle pains and headaches. In more extreme cases it can cause you to pass out and that is something none of us want. As a rule of thumb, if you’re only drinking when you’re thirsty, you’ve already dehydrated yourself. We suggest drinking at least a litre of water every hour when it is hot. So remember to carry enough water to keep yourself hydrated between stops.
6) Eat Smart. The most fun part of any road trip is getting to explore new cuisines but try and refrain from ordering half the menu and going into a food induced coma for the next few hours. Our advice eat a reasonable breakfast and a follow that with a light lunch, leave the heavy eating for that early dinner we were talking about earlier. A word of caution though, drink moderately if you ever plan on doing that, a hangover is the worst thing to have on a long ride.
7) Travel Light. When we started touring we had a tendency to overpack, in fact we used to pack so much of gadgets and tools that we hardly had space for our clothes. We refined what we carry over the years and finally have down to our phones, chargers, maps, Flashlights, multitool, clean underwear and a few t-shirts. Leave that tripod at home, you don’t need it and you definitely do not need the entire volume of The Fellowship of the Rings. Less stuff packed, is less stuff to unpack and that means lesser time wasted.
8) Inspect your Motorcycle regularly. It is very important for you to be aware of any possible mechanical issues you might have before you even step out of your garage door, especially when you plan to cover massive distances while touring. Check your bike in the morning before you start out and in the evening when you stop for a rest. Giving it a glance every other time you stop to give your butt a break will allow you to spot issues before they can play spoil sport. Check your tires for punctures or uneven treadwear, check your chain and sprockets to ensure that there are no broken teeth or kinks and that they are properly lubricated. Check for oil leaks and if the electrical are working properly. Remember – Take care of your bike and it will take care of you.
9) ATGATT. All The Gear All The Time. We cannot stress this enough. Your body is fragile and you need to protect it at all times. Right from wearing thermal inners when it gets cold to wearing a back protector. You always need to wear appropriate gear to ride a motorcycle even if It is just a short run to the store to pick up a toothbrush after you have checked in for the night, if you don’t want to wear all your gear, walk, it will be good after that heavy dinner we talked about.
10) ICE Contacts. We hope none of you will ever need it but make your emergency contact and medical information easily visible. Most smart phone nowadays have a setting specifically for this purpose, adding your ICE information to your helmet and motorcycle is a good idea as well. ProTip – Write all your information down on a piece of paper and paste it using clear tape to your helmet and motorcycle, makes it waterproof and easily visible in case you ever get into trouble.
We hope you found this guide helpful, do let us know if we have missed anything and remember to- Stay Motovated.
Ride hard and ride safe.