Motorcycle driver riding in Alpine highway, Nockalmstrasse, Austria, central Europe.

Gail’s Tips for Long-Distance Motorcycle Riding

Motorcycle driver riding in Alpine highway, Nockalmstrasse, Austria, central Europe.

Our motorcycle experts at Gail’s in Grandview, Missouri can help you get prepared for your big trip. Following this guide isn’t a bad idea.

Let the Experts at our Kansas City Powersports Store Help Prepare You

Taking your Harley® motorcycle out for a multi-day tour is one of the most freeing experiences of a HOG® enthusiast’s life. With the road stretched out like a welcome mat in front of you, and the breeze whipping around you as you ride, there are few better feelings than those you get when you’re out on your motorcycle for a road trip to somewhere new and interesting.

But touring isn’t for the faint of heart or the ill-prepared. Long-distance drives with overnights can be exhausting if you aren’t ready to take them on. Our motorcycle experts at Gail’s in Grandview can help you get prepared for your big trip - and following this guide we put together isn’t a bad idea, either.

Get ready to ride with our tips for long-distance motorcycle riding!

Make sure your bike is in good condition.

If you aren’t an expert mechanic, don’t worry; our motorcycle service department can help you with this part. Before attempting a long-distance ride away from home, you’ll want to complete a thorough tune-up, including oil and filter changes, fluid level checks, and performing any adjustments to your throttle, brake cables, and drive chain. Check your tires to make sure they’re holding pressure and have adequate tread, and ensure all your gauges, lights, and signals are in working order.

Each day before you set out, look over your motorcycle before beginning your ride. It’s better to do your maintenance now than it is to get out in the middle of nowhere and find out you have a problem that requires an expensive fix. Take care of your motorcycle, and it’ll take care of you.

Pack your touring motorcycle like a pro.

What you bring on your trip and how you pack it can make a big difference in how enjoyable your trip ends up being. Make sure you have everything you need but don’t overpack.

Make sure you’re carrying your tool kit in an easily accessible location so you can make minor adjustments or repairs if needed. You’ll also want to pack a flat tire repair kit, or even a spare tire, if possible. Carry a spare key in a safe location, just in case.

Practice packing up your gear to make sure everything fits aboard your motorcycle. Make sure all your gear attaches securely and that you can evenly distribute the weight of your belongings. We recommend keeping heavy items low to maintain your motorcycle’s center of gravity. If you’ve purchased any new parts and accessories, now is also the prime time to make sure they’re comfortable and work well for your needs.

Stay hydrated and nourished with planned stops on your motorcycle touring trip.

Even if your trip isn’t scheduled for the heat of summer, if you’re planning a long touring trip, you should consider carrying a backpack hydration system so you can easily drink water while you ride. Bring along trail mix, granola bars, or another easy-to-carry snack, just in case you start to feel hungry along the way.

Plan your stops in advance, so you know that you’ll have exactly the services you’ll need while you rest, including fuel, food, and lodging. Booking your hotel the day before is a smart way to save money, too, because you’ll have ample time to find a good deal online.

Dress for safety, and be prepared for all weather conditions.

Motorcycle clothing is designed to protect you while you ride and in case of any accidents. Buy gear that specializes in rider protection; it’s also a good idea to wear long pants, shoes that cover your ankles, and a motorcycle jacket while touring.

Full-face helmets are also a must for longer rides; aside from protecting your head from injury, they also block rain and bugs from hitting you in the face as you cruise down the road. By nature, they also block a lot of road noise, which can really wear you out throughout the day.

Bring spare clothing to wear in layers, and don’t forget your rain gear, in case the weather is less than desirable.

Stop riding if you feel tired.

Riding while sleepy is dangerous. Taking breaks to stretch your legs can help keep your energy up, too, but if you’re too tired, pull off the road and rest. Some touring motorcyclists pack a sleeping bag, so they’re prepared for quick cat-naps at rest stops if they need one.

If you need a nap, set an alarm so you never sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. Science shows that short naps that end before you reach deeper stages of sleep keep you from feeling groggy later.

Slow ride; take it easy.

Avoid extreme speeds or stops. Avoiding hard brake applications or cranking the throttle makes for a more relaxing ride than one where you’re constantly stopping and starting.

A smooth, consistent pace won’t zap your energy as much as a jerky, jolting ride will. It helps to have a nice touring motorcycle, too; may we recommend a used Harley-Davidson® Electra Glide?

You might also want to plan for a day of leisure, where you can stop to enjoy the sights in a town with plenty to do. A day of no riding will refresh you for when you hop back on your bike and head off on the next leg of your trip.

Let Gail’s Start Your Touring Trip Off Right

In need of motorcycle parts and accessories to make sure your road trip goes off without a hitch? Or maybe you’re looking to upgrade your motorcycle for a smoother, more enjoyable ride! Either way, the Gail’s team in Grandview can help get you outfitted.

Come down to our powersports store near you to take our used Harley® bikes for a joy ride, see high-quality motorcycle gear in person, and enjoy the camaraderie that only Gail’s can provide.

Visit us at 5900 MO-150 in Grandview; we look forward to seeing you soon!