You know how it goes, getting on a highway, feeling the wind flow through you while your motorcycle soaks up all the miles down the road. It’s what a lot of motorcyclists tend to enjoy. Most veteran riders will find a home on the highway, be it on the road or at a gas station taking a break.
Beginners, on the other hand, might find the challenge of getting on the highway a little daunting, if not a little nerve-wracking. You can eventually become a motorcycle-riding veteran, but you have to start somewhere. Let’s help you get your highway legs by starting you off on the right foot with a few tips.
Load up and keep your RFID card within reach
Cars are blessed with cubby holes and other pockets where you can keep your RFID cards or cash. Most motorcycles, on the other hand, aren’t so lucky so you’ll have to settle on pockets and bags. Cars also have multiple areas where you can stick an RFID tag on, some motorcycles may not. Also, top up your account before heading out onto the highway.
For big highway cruisers, adventure-tourers, and sportbikes, an RFID tag will work with the built-in windshield. Naked bike and cafe-racer riders might find it a little challenging to stick on a tag and more importantly, to get it to read at the toll booth. Regardless, keep your card handy just in case, so you don’t hold up the line too much.
Before you actually get on the motorcycle, make sure that you have the appropriate safety gear on to protect yourself just in case. Get a motorcycle jacket, pants with pads that don’t flap in the wind, appropriate footwear, and gloves.
On top of all of that, you might also want to invest in a good helmet if you plan to go long stints out on the highway. If you want a good helmet on the highway, try and stay away from any open-face or helmets that require goggles for eye protection. For faster rides, you want a full-face helmet. Getting something like this will allow you to keep the wind noise out, Otherwise, you can wear earplugs to keep your eardrums from getting damaged if you don’t have any other helmets in your arsenal.
Gas before you go
Before you even get on the highway, it is important to remember that fuel on expressways is significantly more expensive than fuel in the city. Before you head out, make sure that you give your bike a good amount of fuel to get more out of your money. Give it a full tank if you can.
Steady your throttle hand
It’s a bit of a no-brainer for veterans, but a bit of a struggle for newbies. Getting comfortable with your motorcycle takes time and practice. The number one tip that we can give you for almost all rides is to gain a good amount of throttle control.
Steadying your hand whenever you twist would mean that you and your motorcycle will go down the road smoothly. Try to keep your throttle inputs smooth and steady. If you want to accelerate, try and incrementally increase the engine’s output, if you want to slow down, keep your transition between the throttle and front brake as smooth as possible without snagging your throttle while pulling on the brake lever.
Lastly, practice modulating and locking your hand to your desired throttle position so your speed is constant. On the highway, your bike will be traveling at a certain speed, and you have to get used to cracking open the accelerator just enough to maintain pace.
Don’t go over the limit
As a beginner, you don’t want to go over your personal limit, and neither do you want to go over the legal limit. You can get into a lot of trouble for that. You could get a little cocky on the saddle of a motorcycle, but remember that it is a dangerous activity even when going in a straight line.
Keep to your limits when riding down the highway. Stay within the speed limit for good measure, and if you’re really feeling a little too dangerous, you can go to the legal minimum speed.
Watch out for potholes, bumps, and metal
Speed can magnify a lot of things, and potholes, bumps, and metal on the road may cause your motorcycle to lose traction or unsettle. Avoid these things at all costs, and you can save your suspension, your tires, and even yourself.
Also, if it happens to rain, these road imperfections become even more hazardous, so proceed with caution if the sky decides to open up.
Loosen up, relax
Don’t be so tense! Relax a little. That’s what motorcycling is all about. Secure your body with your lower half, and allow your top half to remain as steady as possible. Don’t grip the bars too tightly either, it’ll make for a very shaky ride.
Look left and right
Mirrors are important on a motorcycle, that’s why we have them, and that’s why you need to use them. Switching lanes can be quite dangerous, especially when there is something coming up behind you.
On top of mirrors, keep a good head on you, and make sure to use it as well. Remember to head-check to be extra sure. A mirror can give you a good idea of what’s behind you on your left and right, but nothing beats actually looking behind you. Just make sure that you’re not right behind another vehicle while you do. Make sure that it is clear ahead before you look back.
You may get tempted to lane filter or split on the highway. That’s totally fine as long as you do it responsibly and keep an eye out for other motorists on the road. Also, filtering in traffic on a bike may be a little daunting at first, but it’s quite a bit easier on the highway given the extra space between the cars.