Long rides are often considered a testing ground for many motorcyclists around the world. Here in the Philippines, long rides are incredibly popular due to the beautiful scenery, culture, and roads that can be found around the country. As such, many motorcyclists strive to embark on long rides of their own, whether that means being out from dawn to dusk or taking many days off to explore our country’s natural beauty. While there is certainly much wonder to be found from long rides, motorcyclists must also take steps to ensure that these types of rides are experienced within the desired boundaries of safety and preparedness.
Being out for days on the road will require a bit of extra preparation in order to ensure that you don’t get yourself into undesirable situations. Preparing properly will go a long way and will enable you to enjoy all the kinds of long rides you might have planned over the coming months. Every rider and every ride may necessitate its own unique preparation style, but there are a few important preparation tips that will apply to nearly all kinds of long rides out there. If you’re looking to put down hundreds of kilometers throughout a few days on the road, here are some preparation tips you might find useful for your next long ride out.
Plan your route and stops
Properly planning the roads and destinations you will traverse is arguably the most important step in preparing for your ride. When going on a long trip, riders may end up spending multiple days on the road and taking a multitude of stops along the way. As such, it’s important to plan ahead and find ideal routes, stops, and destinations for your capability and comfort level. Certain routes maybe a few minutes quicker than others, however, some riders might be more comfortable taking the long way around due to familiarity or access to shops and services.
When planning your ride, always prepare an ideal route and a backup route in case roads may not be passable. After you’ve planned out your ride, make sure to store the route information on your mobile phone. You may also write down important route information on a piece of paper or a physical map of your route. Regardless of your choice, planning your route ahead of time may save you from many different unexpected situations along the way.
Pack only the essentials
Not everyone has the luxury of having a vast amount of motorcycle luggage space. After all, you’re not going on vacation to another country for a few weeks. When going out on motorcycle trips, the fewer items you have to manage also means that you will have more time and space on your mind for other things (like enjoying the views and destinations). As such, riders can start out by laying out all that may be necessary for a long ride: clothes, protective gear, medicine and a first aid kit, food and water, and more. After setting aside what may be needed for the trip, trim down to only the essentials based on what may or may not be actually needed.
What may help riders trim down to only the essentials is knowing the routes and destinations. Will there be laundry services at certain destinations? Will it be easy to replenish water and food along the way? Will you really need cold weather apparel? After understanding the routes and destinations, trimming down to only the essentials may be a bit easier than before, and doing so will save you a lot of anxiety and trouble from packing too many items.
Attend to motorcycle maintenance
When going on a long ride, it’s important to ensure that your mighty steed is capable enough to traverse the roads without any mechanical issues. Before you go on a long ride, motorcycles may benefit from the new engine and transmission fluids, a tune-up for carbureted motorcycles, fresh valve and timing adjustments, and an overall service check for cables, consumables, and electricals. The last thing a rider needs during a ride through unfamiliar territory is a mechanical issue that will prevent traveling further. Make sure that your bike is in tip-top shape, and you should have one less thing to worry about.
Pack tools and spares
After you’ve attended to the service checks of your motorcycle, you may also benefit from bringing a few spare tools and parts with you in case you get into an unfavorable mechanical situation. When preparing tools, a motorcycle’s tool kit which comes with the bike should generally be enough for common mechanical repairs. In case you don’t have a tool kit from the manufacturer, familiarize yourself with the common bolts, nuts, and screws on the motorcycle, and pack relevant tools accordingly. When it comes to packing spare parts, the usual suspects for parts that may wear down along the way include clutch cables and throttle cables. Thankfully, these items are generally lightweight and can be packed with much ease. Mechanical preparation can go a long way, especially when traversing unfamiliar roads.
Ensure rider health
Apart from ensuring the health of the motorcycle, it’s important to also give your body and health some attention. Long rides are strenuous, and fatigue is a silent killer that creeps in without any obvious symptoms. As such, it would be important to ensure that your health and energy are not compromised during your long rides out. A few days before the ride, ensure that you are eating well and that your health is in a good condition. If you’ve fallen sick a day or two before your ride out, get some rest first before heading out. Some riders will also benefit from exercise prior to the scheduled ride in order to build reserve energy. In any case, you would know your own body and health the best. Ensure that you are healthy enough for the ride you have planned and disciplined enough to know when to take a break, and you should be good to go.