by The Motor Bookstore
Cross country motorcycle riding is an incredibly
exhilarating feeling. The pungent smell of pines
tingle your nose as the highway glides past beneath
your feet. Trees line either side of the road flash
by like a dark picket fence topped with green. Sunlight
dances through the treetops drenching the gray-black
highway in irregular shapes and patterns. The mountain
air is fresh and clean as it pours into your lungs
and tugs at your jacket and pants.
Much of the hypnotic engine roar trails behind you
like a jet vapor trail. Few things can match the
joy of the open road while riding a well-tuned bike.
The afternoon is made even better with the knowing
that the trip has only begun. Days and miles of
highway lay yet ahead.
If you enjoy the outdoors, motorcycle travel is
a great way to see the country. You can soak up
the fresh air and sunshine as you drive down the
highway. You have a much greater sense of being
a part of your surroundings while riding a motorcycle.
You feel you can almost reach out and touch the
beauty of roadside flowers, trees and wildlife.
There is also a special feeling of freedom and exhilaration
that comes from racing down the highway with the
power of the engine roaring between your legs and
the wind in your face. That feeling cannot be matched
with any other form of travel.
Motorcycle travel is more than just the scenery
and the sense of freedom. It is also the people
you meet along the way. Bike riders are part of
a select community of people. They invariably wave
to one another when they meet along the highway.
At rest stops and restaurants bikers go out of their
way to meet and greet one another. As strangers
they recognize they are members of this unique society.
They exchange information about the highway ahead,
weather conditions, and motorcycle maintenance tips.
If a rider breaks down or gets into some travel-related
difficulty, another motorcycle rider is almost sure
to come along and offer help.
There are certain precautions that should be taken
when motorcycle touring, however.
First, make sure the bike is serviced and
tuned up before departing on a long trip. Breaking
down along the highway is a lonely and sickening
feeling. This includes checking your tires and making
sure they are in good to excellent condition.
Second, weather is always an issue when riding
a motorcycle. Make sure you tuck a warm jacket and
gloves in a saddle bag or in your trailer. Along
with warm clothing you should also make sure you
have rain gear. Rain somewhere along the trip is
Third, you will want to keep a plan of your
route handy. An easy way to do this is to print
a computer generated map of your trip and keep it
in a plastic document protector or laminated in
plastic. You can tape this to the tank or keep in
a saddle bag for easy reference during rest stops.
Another excellent way to keep on route, especially
if you are a gadget hound, is with a GPS.
Fourth, maintain a means of communication.
In this day of instant and easy communications there
is simply no reason to go on a trip and be cut off
from family, friends or help. Many touring bikes
can be easily equipped with a C.B. radio. Riders
traveling in a group can keep in contact with one
another as well as get important information about
highway conditions, etc. from truckers and other
Finally, carry a basic first aid kit in your
saddle bags or trailer.
Camping is fun at any time.
For people who enjoy camping and the outdoors, motorcycle
camping adds to the pleasure of riding. A day in
the sun followed by sitting around a camp fire at
night listening to the frogs and crickets is a great
way to travel. Talk about getting away from the
routine and the mundane.
Motorcycle camping is also a great way to make new
acquaintances along your journey. It is hard not
to meet new people and share a fire, if not a meal,
in a campground. It is a far different environment
than the typical chain motel found at Interstate
exits. The nice thing about motorcycle camping is
that it is so easy. Ultra light, compact camping
gear designed for motorcycle riders is readily available,
easy to set up and use and inexpensively priced.
For motorcycle riders planning a cross country trip
or a camping trip while riding your motorcycle,
careful planning will help make your trip more enjoyable.
It is easy to capitalize on the experience of others.
A few tips have been outlined in this article. A
good book with tips and information about cross
country motorcycle riding will give you a leg up
planning your trip and avoiding travel pitfalls.
One such book, which is an excellent source of information,
is Going The Extra Mile: Insider Tips for Long-Distance
Motorcycling and Endurance Rallies.
Riding your motorcycle around your neighborhood
or on day trips is a great way to enjoy your motorcycle.
Taking your motorcycle on a long trip attaches a
new dimension to riding your bike ownership. A motorcycle
is transportation and it is recreation. A great
way to combine transportation with recreation is
a cross country motorcycle trip.
About the Author
The Motor Bookstore sells repair manuals and literature
for cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, farm tractors,
and much more.