Preparing For A Road Trip


  • Preparing For A Road Trip

    The summer is prime time for a long, two-wheeled road trip. You want your trip to be safe and trouble-free. Here are a few tips that might help.

    Plan Ahead - I always start prepping my bike at least a week before the upcoming trip. Prepping for a long road trip is fun and builds anticipation for the upcoming journey.

    Bike Cover - When traveling it is a good idea to cover your bike when it is parked outside, or even if you park in a hotel garage. We use a half-cover when we travel. It does a great job of keeping the sun and rain off the bike and it packs easily in one of the saddlebags.

    Trailer Tips - If you pull a trailer behind your bike, it makes life a lot easier, especially if you are traveling with a passenger. However, if you do pull a trailer, make sure that the tires are in good condition before the trip and that they are inflated properly. If your trailer has a swivel joint at the hitch, now is a good time to apply grease to the joint.

    You can pack a ton of stuff in a trailer

    Tires - Nothing is more important to your safety, and the safety of your passenger, than the condition of your tires. Whether or not you should replace your tires before a trip depends on the length of your trip and the life remaining in your tires. I would always prefer to be on the safe side. So, if I am planning a 3,500-mile trip and have more than 6,000 miles on my tires, I will probably go ahead and put new rubber on before the trip. Besides, new tires will make your bike ride smoother and will make the entire trip more comfortable.

    Fluids - Always check your oil level before a trip, and if your oil has 3,000 - 4500 miles on it, go ahead and change it before the trip. I like to change my oil every 3500 - 4000 miles, but I realize that some of you go 8000 between changes.

    Lights - Goldwings have a nasty habit of burning out headlight bulbs, so make sure all four of yours are working before leaving. I always pack a pair of replacement bulbs just in case one or two burn out on a trip. I have had it happen more than once. Check your tail/brake lights and turn signals as well.

    Brakes - Along with your tire condition, your brakes are crucial to your safety. If your pads are near the end of their life, they should be replaced before the trip (see my DVDs for information on how to replace your brake pads). Also, if you plan on pulling a trailer remember that this will put additional strain on your brakes and cause increased wear on your brake pads. You may think you can get an extra 3,000 miles out of a set of brake pads, but when it comes to safety, don't go cheap!

    Check the wear indicators on your brake pads

    Rain Gear - You WILL need it most likely on any long journey. We use Frogg Toggs, but any good quality rain gear should easily pack in your saddlebag, or on your luggage rack.

    Tools - There are a few tools that you should have with you in case of an emergency. Here is what I carry on my bike.
    • Small crescent wrench
    • 8mm, 10mm, 12mm open-end wrench
    • 8mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, 13mm socket
    • #4, #5, #6 hex/Allen sockets
    • Small ratchet
    • Mini screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips)
    • Silicone repair tape/electrical tape
    • Small can WD40
    • Tire plug kit
    • Extra fuses (2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 25 amp)
    • A small air compressor, in case you need to fix a flat
    • Cable ties, duct tape, and some 3M double-stick tape
    • A portable flashlight (I use an LED flashlight)
    • A plastic ground cloth in case you have to lay down in the dirt/mud.
    • GoJo portable hand-leaning wipes.
    • Paper maps of the areas you are riding, just in case the GPS craps out on you.

    Credit cards - I always carry 2 credit cards with me on a trip. If one card is declined or lost, I have a backup. I have had cards declined at gas pumps on road trips because the card company is concerned about fraud. It is always a good idea to notify your credit card company that you will be traveling, and to what locations, to prevent this from happening. However, it does not always prevent it.

    Cell Phone - I don't personally carry a cell phone with me on a daily basis, but I always take one on a road trip just for safety. Most people today are tethered to a cell phone so it is probably not an issue for most. Don't forget to pack your charger. If you want to keep your cell phone charged on the bike, install a USB power port in your glove box. My DVDs will show you how to do it!

    Weapon - If you carry a weapon for protection when you travel, you need to be familiar with the laws regarding concealed weapons in every state in which you will be riding. And, don't even think about taking a firearm into Canada. Getting arrested can really mess up a vacation.

    Medications/Supplements - Don't forget to pack any prescription drugs, medications and/or supplements for your journey. We use small, plastic zip bags to store ours in and prepare an individual bag for each day. You can buy these small bags on eBay and they are cheap!

    Use plastic zip bags for medications/supplements

    Chargers - Don't forget to pack the chargers for cell phones, computers, cameras, etc.

    Water - When we are pulling a trailer, we have an ice chest and always have a few bottles of water. If no trailer, we have a small collapsable ice chest that is large enough for four bottles of water and will fit in the trunk. Don't forget to stay hydrated when riding, especially in dry and/or warm climates.

    Camera - Don't forget to take your camera. There are several pocket-style cameras that will fit easily around your neck (or your passenger's neck) so that you can take photos during your ride. Of course, you should never attempt this while riding as it is dangerous. We use a Panasonic LUMIX ZS30. There are also many other models that are waterproof, shockproof and dust proof that are excellent for use on a ride.
    Last edited by Cruiseman; 07-22-2014, 03:37 PM.

    • travellingtenor
      travellingtenor commented
      Editing a comment
      You have some good ideas here. I have a packing list that I use but I have added a few of your essentials to it. Thanks for the tips.

    • BuckeyeMike
      BuckeyeMike commented
      Editing a comment
      I always learn something from your articles and videos and threads.. Thanks for your contributions!!!!!!

    Leave a comment

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