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Cross Country Motorcycle Riding

by The Motor Bookstore

Cross country motorcycle riding is an incredibly exhilarating feeling. The pungent smell of pines tingle your nose as the highway glides past beneath your feet. Trees line either side of the road flash by like a dark picket fence topped with green. Sunlight dances through the treetops drenching the gray-black highway in irregular shapes and patterns. The mountain air is fresh and clean as it pours into your lungs and tugs at your jacket and pants.

Much of the hypnotic engine roar trails behind you like a jet vapor trail. Few things can match the joy of the open road while riding a well-tuned bike. The afternoon is made even better with the knowing that the trip has only begun. Days and miles of highway lay yet ahead.

If you enjoy the outdoors, motorcycle travel is a great way to see the country. You can soak up the fresh air and sunshine as you drive down the highway. You have a much greater sense of being a part of your surroundings while riding a motorcycle. You feel you can almost reach out and touch the beauty of roadside flowers, trees and wildlife.

There is also a special feeling of freedom and exhilaration that comes from racing down the highway with the power of the engine roaring between your legs and the wind in your face. That feeling cannot be matched with any other form of travel.

Motorcycle travel is more than just the scenery and the sense of freedom. It is also the people you meet along the way. Bike riders are part of a select community of people. They invariably wave to one another when they meet along the highway. At rest stops and restaurants bikers go out of their way to meet and greet one another. As strangers they recognize they are members of this unique society. They exchange information about the highway ahead, weather conditions, and motorcycle maintenance tips. If a rider breaks down or gets into some travel-related difficulty, another motorcycle rider is almost sure to come along and offer help.

There are certain precautions that should be taken when motorcycle touring, however.

• First, make sure the bike is serviced and tuned up before departing on a long trip. Breaking down along the highway is a lonely and sickening feeling. This includes checking your tires and making sure they are in good to excellent condition.

• Second, weather is always an issue when riding a motorcycle. Make sure you tuck a warm jacket and gloves in a saddle bag or in your trailer. Along with warm clothing you should also make sure you have rain gear. Rain somewhere along the trip is almost guaranteed.

• Third, you will want to keep a plan of your route handy. An easy way to do this is to print a computer generated map of your trip and keep it in a plastic document protector or laminated in plastic. You can tape this to the tank or keep in a saddle bag for easy reference during rest stops. Another excellent way to keep on route, especially if you are a gadget hound, is with a GPS.

• Fourth, maintain a means of communication. In this day of instant and easy communications there is simply no reason to go on a trip and be cut off from family, friends or help. Many touring bikes can be easily equipped with a C.B. radio. Riders traveling in a group can keep in contact with one another as well as get important information about highway conditions, etc. from truckers and other drivers.

• Finally, carry a basic first aid kit in your saddle bags or trailer.

Camping is fun at any time.

For people who enjoy camping and the outdoors, motorcycle camping adds to the pleasure of riding. A day in the sun followed by sitting around a camp fire at night listening to the frogs and crickets is a great way to travel. Talk about getting away from the routine and the mundane.

Motorcycle camping is also a great way to make new acquaintances along your journey. It is hard not to meet new people and share a fire, if not a meal, in a campground. It is a far different environment than the typical chain motel found at Interstate exits. The nice thing about motorcycle camping is that it is so easy. Ultra light, compact camping gear designed for motorcycle riders is readily available, easy to set up and use and inexpensively priced.

For motorcycle riders planning a cross country trip or a camping trip while riding your motorcycle, careful planning will help make your trip more enjoyable. It is easy to capitalize on the experience of others. A few tips have been outlined in this article. A good book with tips and information about cross country motorcycle riding will give you a leg up planning your trip and avoiding travel pitfalls. One such book, which is an excellent source of information, is Going The Extra Mile: Insider Tips for Long-Distance Motorcycling and Endurance Rallies.

Riding your motorcycle around your neighborhood or on day trips is a great way to enjoy your motorcycle. Taking your motorcycle on a long trip attaches a new dimension to riding your bike ownership. A motorcycle is transportation and it is recreation. A great way to combine transportation with recreation is a cross country motorcycle trip.

About the Author

The Motor Bookstore sells repair manuals and literature for cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, farm tractors, and much more.



  Comments

I just took my second crosscountry trip on a 2005 Honda Shadow Aero. My first trip out was Austin, Tx to Knoxville, Tenn to the 2005 Honda Hoot. Built in group of folks and lots of fun. This year I rode Austin to Phoenix to visit my daughter. I left solo, but rode 75% of the time in company of other bikers. Pretty straight shot Austin tp Phoenix 3 days on the road. Coming home I cruised route 66 Winslow, Arizona to Gallup New Mexico to Durango, Colorado, Pagosa Springs, Sante Fe, Pecos, Tx FT Stockton and home to Austin. To many sights, sounds and good vibes to express in words. 7 days on the road home seemed like half an hour. Small bike, packed light on the road 5-6 hours a day, more hours spent chasing sights didn't keep count. I quit taking pictures about Durango. Every time I thought I'm a long ways from home I'd run into some bikers from twice as far away. I plan on Austin to The Florida Keys next. Damn good folks out there on bikes, Harley riders 5 to one but they treated me like one of 'em. Loved every inch of the 2730 miles I covered.
- Danny P.


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