1. Travel light, but take essentials
like tools commonly used on your bike (spark plug wrench, common
sockets, screwdrivers etc), paper towels, windshield cleaner etc. (a
buggy windshield really bites at night).
2. Dress in layers. . .and include a rain suit regardless of the
forecast (I'm glad I had one when we hit the foggy area) you WILL
encounter temperatures and conditions that will vary greatly--you have
to be able to put on and take off layers to stay comfortable.
3. Take all documents related to the motorcycle (registration,
insurance, HOG membership card, H-D warranty ID card etc.--just in case
of breakdown or accident.
4. Take a cell phone--in case of emergencies and to keep loved ones
informed during your trip--they WILL worry about you!
5. VERY IMPORTANT! Take with you some sort of pain-reliever medicine for
aches and pains--regardless of your age or level of fitness, you will be
glad you have this. If you're over 40 (like me), I'd recommend taking a
dose at departure time to stave off the aches for a few miles.
6. Avoid caffeine drinks before departing and while doing the
run--caffeine is a diuretic; do you want to be the one in the group to
stop prematurely during a leg of your run? Water is the best thing to
drink during the trip, with Gatorade or similar drinks taking second
place. Drink small amounts at every stop, rather than 2 qts. all at
7. Don't drink alcohol the night before the run. I had three drinks the
night before my run, and wished I hadn't. I woke up with cotton-mouth,
and I'm sure, partially dehydrated--that really doesn't help much to
keep you alert. I drank A LOT of water before I left the house and it
helped to boost my energy level, but it still took me a few miles to
really feel alert. Remember, your body is a machine (maybe an antique
machine) and you must give it what it need to perform optimally--on this
trip you will be demanding a lot from your machine!
8. When traveling at night, take turns being the "point-man" (lead
rider) of the group. The point man has to be extra alert for
road-hazards to warn the rest of the group with a swerve or brake
signal. It's hard to maintain that heightened sense of alert for very
long without eventually lapsing into day-dreaming or getting "white line
fever". Switch off every hour or after every stop.
9. If riding alone, make sure somebody at home knows your route and
approximate time of return. More than once, m/c riders have left the
road and died because nobody saw them or searched for them in a timely
manner. Once a motorcycle leaves the roadway and goes off into the
brush, it is essentially eaten up by the foliage. (I know this from
personal experience--investigated fatal accidents where mc's and cars
disappeared when they left the road).
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