Breathtaking scenery. Winding roads. Complete freedom. Motorcycle road trips are one of the great joys of being a rider, but the success of your trip may ultimately depend on how well-prepared you are. Following a few simple pointers could make all the difference.
As eager as you are to hit the highway, don't skimp on planning time. Being spontaneous might seem like fun, but it's also potentially expensive and dangerous. Car drivers may be able to take off at a moment's notice, but motorcyclists are more vulnerable to physical exhaustion, storage issues, and the weather. So plan accordingly!
Before you hit the highway, ask yourself these questions:
- Where are you planning to ride?
- How long will you be gone?
- Are you going to sleep under the stars or hit up a roadside motel?
- What's the weather forecast like?
- Where will you fuel up?
- Do you have safe, weather-appropriate gear?
Now that you have a general plan, get familiar with your route. Do some research to find out where the most interesting back roads are. Taking the scenic route might take a little longer, but chances are it'll be worth it. Just be sure to keep your travel schedule realistic, so you're not forced to hurry to your destination.
Packing your motorcycle is a delicate art. You want to bring everything you need to be safe and comfortable, but sloppy packing or overpacking can cause poor handling and balance issues.
Whether you use saddlebags or prefer a simple rack behind the seat, pack heavy items near the bottom and lighter items on the top. And be sure you double-check your owner's manual for the maximum amount of weight your bike should be carrying—overpacking can upset the front/rear balance.
Items to consider packing:
- Cell phone and charger
- Maps or a GPS device
- Repair and tire inflation kit
- Owner's manual
- First-Aid kit
- Bottled water and high-energy snacks
- LED-powered emergency flare
- Waterproof riding gear
For many motorcyclists, riding with a group is the only way to do a road trip. Hold a rider's meeting ahead of time so everyone can agree on a route. Choose meet-up locations in case riders get separated. Determine food and rest stops ahead of time. Designate experienced members to be the group leader and the "sweep" (the rider at the tail end of the group).
Without a smart defensive riding formation, your group runs the risk of being separated by cars or getting into a collision with one another. The safest formation is a tight, staggered pattern, which allows maneuvering space between riders and protects the group from aggressive car drivers. You want a one-second cushion of space between each rider. And work out hand signals for "stop", "slow down", "road hazard", and others.
You'll be riding on unfamiliar roads for long stretches of time, so make sure you're covered in case of an accident or breakdown. Even if you already have basic collision coverage, it makes sense to look at additional protection for your trip. You may also consider optional coverages that can even reimburse you for things like towing costs and the cost of renting a replacement motorcycle. And if you're sharing a ride, Guest Passenger Liability can help protect your other passenger. Check out Allstate's guide to Motorcycle Insurance Made Simple to learn about the different types of insurance coverages that are available to help keep you and your bike protected.
Wherever your trip may take you, travel in good hands with Allstate. Call us at
1-800-ALLSTATE (1-800-255-7828) or get a free, no-obligation online quote now.