Long motorcycle tours are some of the most enjoyable types of rides for many motorcyclists out there. Whether it’s a day trip out or a weeklong tour, long rides through new or familiar places bring a different and more elevated sense of exploration, discovery, and being one with the outdoors. That being said, planning a long trip around a province or a few can be a bit tricky given the number of things to manage, from pre-ride preparations to dealing with contingencies along the way. If you’re thinking of planning for a long ride, here are a few tips and tricks that may help you have a smoother journey during your next trip out.
Choosing your group
One of the most important aspects of a long ride is the riding group. The people who will join you on this ride can make or break a long ride, and so being choosy with whom you ride with can most definitely help in multiple ways down the line. When choosing a riding group for long rides, make sure you ride with people whom you can trust so that the entire group can support each other, leaving no one behind. It’s also important to make sure that all of you in the riding group agree to a similar pace and have similar motorcycle capabilities or riding skills. This will ensure that the pack sticks together during the ride and that the group doesn’t break apart due to a mix of excessively fast riders and excessively slow ones riding together. Lastly, it might also be great to diversify the roles of the riders in the group—one might be more mechanically inclined to emergency repairs, one might be the point-person for route planning, and more. While this is not necessary, it might ensure that the riding group is able to overcome obstacles and setbacks with relative ease.
Route planning, stopovers, contingencies
Another very important tip is to plan your route accordingly. Not all motorcycles and motorcyclists in the group may be capable of traversing certain kinds of terrain. An adventure bike group will be able to handle off-road routes, but not all riders may be comfortable with this. As such, planning your route plays an important role in ensuring that your ride is successful. When choosing a route, make sure to pick roads that are comfortable with the group. A tip here would be to also research popular roads, stopovers, and destinations so you can also take home a few great pictures and memories of fantastic views, culturally rich destinations, and enjoyable food stops. Choosing the roads to traverse may not always have to be the fastest way from point A to point B—it can also include detours to enjoy roads, views, and stopovers that would otherwise not be traversed if you took the fastest way across.
Planning your stopovers is also an important part of route planning. It’s always better to stop more frequently than to not stop at all—gathering a bit of rest along the way will pay dividends for your long ride as it will ensure riders have enough time to hydrate and eat along the way. Choosing the exact area to stop over can be based on important destinations like specific restaurants your group would like to try or specific roadside views to enjoy. You may also want to consider stopping over at gas stations as these would often have convenience stores to purchase food and drinks from. It’s also important to pace your stopovers accordingly. Stopovers can be planned every few hours on the route, or can also be planned after a specific road segment that can tire riders out like a long stretch of twisty roads or an off-road segment. Regardless of your choice, make sure that your group will be able to stop over frequently and in a timely manner.
Lastly, it may also be important for your group to plan routes for contingencies. It may be possible that certain provincial routes will not be passable due to landslides, road construction, or checkpoints due to travel restrictions. When this happens, having a Plan B or Plan C will be another great tool in ensuring the success of your trip. If none of you in the group are mechanically inclined and equipped with the right tools, you may also want to choose populated roads that are near service centers just in case a fellow rider needs to attend to repairs along the way. Think of worst-case scenarios and plan accordingly. A long ride is not always as straightforward as some might suggest. Plan for contingencies and you’ll be sure to figure it out along the way.
Pack the essentials
The next tip for your long ride is to ensure that you pack all essentials. The essentials are typical across all long rides, including snacks and water, tools, spare clothes, rain gear, your certificate of registration (CR) and original receipt (OR), pocket money, tollway cards, devices and chargers, personal medicine, and a first aid kit. However, different trips may require different essentials. For example, travel to the mountains may require you to pack a set of cold-weather riding gear or if a beach is your destination, you may need to pack that extra bottle of sunblock. Remember to draft your checklist a day or two before your big ride out in order to ensure that you don’t forget all of the essentials necessary for your trip.
Plan your health
The last tip for a long ride is to make sure that your body is well-rested and energized for the trip ahead. If your trip will be very intense, such as days out on dirt roads or long hours on the saddle through technical terrain, you may want to condition your body with aerobic exercises and simple weight training. More importantly, ensuring that your body receives enough rest and healthy food during the days prior to your ride will enable you to have a good amount of energy for your ride. Remember to avoid physically intense activities and excessive amounts of alcohol a few days prior to your ride to keep your body in tip-top shape for your big ride out.