Okay, if you are reading this and planning to go to Sturgis, you are running late. The rally started on August 3rd. Luckily, the rally lasts for over a week, so depending on where you live, you still have time to get there. However, if you plan to ride up, you need to slow down and take some important travel tips to heart.
Riding Out to Sturgis, or Anywhere for that Matter
Preparation is often the most important step when taking a trip on a motorcycle for hundreds of miles. But you have to remember that good prep work happens in three phases:
- The Motorcycle: Is your motorcycle ready for a long trip? Check your brakes, including both master cylinders, brake pads and rotors. Make sure your engine oil is topped off, and that the tension on your chain or drive belt is properly set. Tire pressures need to be at manual spec, and make sure your gas tank is tight, with no leaks and full. Bonus Tip: Don’t try out new equipment or take your bike on a trip right after it has been serviced. Gremlins like to strike under these circumstances.
- Packing: Okay, you’ve got your tool kit, rain gear and a Bluetooth headset. That should be enough, right? Wrong. Be sure to bring some spare clothes, a first-aid kit, a mobile phone charger, water, snacks and a map. Basically, you want to pack for anything that could go wrong. No cell service means no Google Map, hence the need for a paper map. Clutch cable snaps, you have tools to fix it. Ride through a swam of locusts, you have glass cleaner to wipe your visor off with... There’s a lot you can do to prepare for your road trip.
- Planning Your Route: Enjoying the open road seems to require a devil-may-care attitude, but not knowing where you’re going can ruin a trip fast. Map out your route ahead of time. If you see a road calling your name, or a mom and pop shop screaming at you to stop, feel free to do so. But knowing what route you were taking before such a detour will help you stay on course. You don’t want to wind up in a “The Hills Have Eyes” situation, do you? Bonus Tip: If you’re going to be on the road for multiple days, remember you’re going to start wearing down. You may be able to take 500 to 600 miles a day those first few days, but by day three and four, you may only be able to handle 300. Plan for that slowdown.