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Photo: Youtube

Now, there are two extreme schools of thought when it comes to planning motorcycle trips. On the one hand, there are bikers who like to have every little detail mapped out. Rest stops, meals, routes, destinations, distances, fuel stops, nothing is left to chance. Then there are those who just jump in the saddle with a vague idea of where they want to go and see where the road takes them.

However, most people prefer the middle ground. A little from Column A, and a little from Column B. A loose plan that gets you where you want to go, but allows you the freedom to enjoy the ride without being fixated on a schedule.

With this in mind, let KnowInsider guide you through how to plan a motorcycle trip you’ll wax lyrical about at your next club meet.

1. Pick the destinations

This is an obvious one, but first, you need to pick somewhere to go. We fully believe that it’s not the destination but the journey that matters, but having a set destination makes it easier to plan the particulars, which we’ll touch on below. This will allow you to know things like total mileage for the trip, give you a sense of the terrain you’ll cover, make it possible to determine how many days you need for the trip total and inform your packing decisions. It may be self-evident to point out this part of the process, but it’s the keystone to everything else you’ll need to prepare, according to Motorcyclist Online.

2. Map A Route

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Try to plan your motorcycle trip connecting smaller highways and backroads to get to the finish line. Photo: Outdoor Blueprint

So you know where you’re going, but now you need to know how to get there. This is a much more engaged process than planning a road trip in a car, when you’re more likely to want to take the fastest option possible. It’s not the way we recommend when you’re on a bike, because hours on a flat, straight interstate can be mind-numbing.

Instead, try to plan your motorcycle trip connecting smaller highways and backroads to get to the finish line because there’s likely to be less traffic, more curves and better scenery on the way. Take note of the time of year and the likely weather conditions for the areas you’re going to ride through. If you’ve never been on a particular road before, check local ride forums or groups for insight into what to expect, or pick up the phone and call the nearest dealer to see what locals have to say.

3. Do mechanical checks

Although we advise always ensuring your bike is in tip-top condition before you head out on the open road, this becomes far more important when you're heading out on a road trip. There is nothing worse than being stranded on the side of the road because of an avoidable problem, Ride Apart cites.

Check the bike all over—you can follow some of the tips we've published in the past. Also, make sure you have the appropriate roadside assistance because you never know when you might need it

4. Check out bike-friendly accommodations

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Photo: BikeBnb

When planning your route, make sure the place where you will be spending the night is willing to accommodate bikes. Some hotels aren't too biker friendly, whereas some may have a spot that you can park the bike for the evening, keeping it safely out of the way.

If you are camping, most sites will gladly receive both you and your ride but plan ahead to avoid surprises.

5. Figure out MPG And Gas Stops

If you haven’t already determined your bike’s mileage, do it before you go. Most modern bikes have readouts that provide MPG and miles to empty, but it doesn’t hurt to do a few rounds the analog way also just to confirm that readouts are accurate. Fill the tank, ride at the pace you imagine you’ll be at while on the trip for a few gallons then fill back up. Note the miles traveled and the gallons it took to get back to full, then divide the miles traveled by the gallons used and you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Get your MPG figured out, then multiply that by the size of your fuel tank and you’ll have a reference point of where you’re at between fill-ups.

This is crucial information because if you plan to snake through the countryside, you’ll want to plan gas stops. If your bike gets 200 miles to the tank, then make sure every 150–180 miles you’re moving toward a petrol pump. This can affect your route planning (maybe you have to divert off the scenic road a bit to get to a station, for example), so go back and refine your plans to ensure you’re left hanging in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank.

6. Consider Taking A Friend

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Two heads are better than one. Photo: We Buy Any Bike

In the same safety vein as that of the tip above, consider inviting a riding buddy on your journey. Two heads are better than one, and you will be able to look out for one another on the road. Plus you have someone to talk to on the road if you have intercoms or at stops, if you don’t, and they can help capture those all-important Instagram photos you’ll need to make the people back home jealous.

7. Have an emergency plan

Make sure a friend, family member or any other contact you trust knows what your plans for the road trip are and check in with them regularly. If anything goes terribly wrong, being able to call the cavalry in can make a real difference.

This also means that should you fall off the map and meet with the landscape a lot closer than you had planned for, it will be easier for emergency services to trace you.

Be Open To Change

With all that said, be open to change. Route maps, safety measures, packing plans are all well and good, but you’re likely to see things out on the road you didn’t expect and want to explore. If it doesn’t leave you without gas or take you into some hazardous situation, go for it. If someone is waiting for an update at home, let them know that plans changed and give them a rough outline for what’s now on the docket. A trip plan may quash the romanticism of simply striking out on the road for destinations unknown, but it’s not a death sentence for adventure. Just be safe, smart, and, most of all, have fun.

For more useful tips in life, please check out our KnowInsider!

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