Gearing up for your first weekend trip on your bike? Or maybe just want a refresher? Like anything, planning a motorcycle trip gets a whole lot easier the more you do it. That’s because each trip you take is usually a learning experience in “what to bring” and “what not to bring” the next time around.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Getting ready for your first overnight motorcycle trip can be a bit like that first really important date. You have focused so much on what you are going to wear, having your makeup just right that you have left just the right amount of time to arrive for your date.
You jump into the car only to realize that your car needs gas and, not only that, your phone has died. No GPS and no phone number to call saying you will be late! Like a first date, if you are well prepared for your trip away and cover all bases beyond looking and feeling great, then the enjoyment factor is sure to follow. You will love the ride, you will arrive safely and others will invite you along again.
It is akin to being the Lara Croft of motorcycling. Although your riding gear is important, it isn’t all about what you wear, but how prepared you are for the unexpected and how competent you feel.
After choosing and trialling your personal riding gear for safety and comfort, the next step is deciding what other items you can and should carry with you, on you and on your motorcycle.
The 12 Essentials Every Girl Needs
Let’s begin with a standard list of essentials for planning a motorcycle trip and, from there, items can be added depending upon where, when and with whom you are riding.
Security of your gear while on a trip away from home is crucial to the success of your trip.
During the day—on those leisurely lunch stops or at a quick bathroom stop—it is easy to be tempted to just leave your helmet and gloves sitting on your motorcycle.
It is also tempting to leave your motorcycle unattended, especially if you see everyone else in the group doing it. The harsh reality though is, it could be your helmet, gloves or even motorcycle that is stolen. Having any gear stolen while on the road can be as devastating as losing your wallet or credit cards. Not only is it expensive to replace, but it also can bring your ride to a rapid halt.
Two simple, quick solutions for securing your gear and giving you peace of mind on the road are; an alarmed disc lock and a short length of cable lock.
Leaving your helmet locked to your handlebars is easy with a short cable lock that stores in your handlebar/tank bag.
Anytime your motorcycle is unattended, peace of mind comes cheap with a disc lock. These locks immobilize your bike by attaching to your disc brake. The alarmed disc locks are worth considering as they alert you to anyone tampering with or even trying to sit on your bike.
Just remember to remove the lock before you move off! Some disc locks have a visual reminder that attaches to your handlebars so you don’t ride off with it attached. Believe me, you will only forget once!
Beginner riders often do not know about the health hazards associated with high wind noise while riding. Wind noise can regularly exceed the recommended levels before hearing damage and can potentially cause permanent hearing loss. On top of that, incessant wind noise contributes to rider fatigue.
To protect yourself against these dangers, earplugs designed to fit under motorcycle helmets are readily available. It is important to try the earplugs under your helmet and ensure they are comfortable and do not cause any pressure points in your ears. The best fitting earplugs stay secure, even in the process of putting on and removing your helmet.
Custom made earplugs from a reputable dealer will offer you top-level hearing protection and ensure you enjoy your riding even more.
Your mantra should be to never, ever leave your rain gear behind.
Even if the weather forecast promises sunshine all day, it is a good idea to take your rain gear as a matter of course. Being caught out in unexpected rain is a safety issue for you and your riding pals.
Underprepared group members become a liability to others and are just outright annoying! If you find a happy place on your motorcycle to store your rain gear, you won’t be so tempted to leave it behind or even forget it.
Carrying spares of your essential items will ensure you are prepared for the unexpected.
What is it you just cannot do without on a ride? What items could you not borrow from a fellow rider? These are the items that should be on your “spares” list.
Gloves, eyeglasses and sunglasses are three essentials items that could easily be dropped, broken or left behind in a hotel or restaurant. The spares don’t have to be top of the range quality; just good enough to get you back on the road safely and comfortably.
5. Wet wipes
Anything that serves more than one purpose is always a valuable addition to your packing list when planning a motorcycle trip. Wet wipes, folded inside a zip-lock plastic bag, fit this criteria.
Firstly, visor, sunglasses or goggle cleaning is important throughout the day as well as each night at the end of a ride. High quality wipes, which are less prone to tearing, are perfect for this function.
Secondly, wet wipes are fantastic for staying fresh throughout the day. Grime buildup on your face is inevitable on the road, especially on wet, rainy days.
Your phone is another layer to your safety precautions.
Make sure it is fully charged, ready to go and chargeable on the road either via a power bank or a charging system on your motorcycle.
Before you leave, make sure you have details of where your group is staying for the night as well as phone numbers of your group members. Store on your phone any necessary information about your route, anticipated stops and emergency numbers. Also, don’t forget your ICE number—In Case of Emergency—who should be called on your behalf.
There are many excellent navigational apps available. One of the best offline apps used by many motorcycle tourers around the world is maps.me. Not only can you “pin” destinations but you can also send others your current position. This is a great option if you become separated from the group or you are lost.
If you use maps.me on all of your tours, very soon you will have a great journal of your weekend escapades.
Yes, a paper one. Think of it as another back up in the event things go wrong. Most experienced tourers agree that a paper map is still a must-have on the list of essentials for a multi-day trip.
“Why?” You might ask, when everything you need is available on your phone. A paper map gives you great planning options especially sitting around a table the night before, or during the trip with all of your riding buddies.
A paper map does not rely on charged batteries. A paper map is the best way to seek local knowledge about road conditions, great routes or when you become geographically embarrassed.
8. Motorcycle Cover
“Out of sight, out of mind,” so goes the saying.
If you really love your motorcycle, a cover is a must-have when on a road trip. Again, it is one of those multi-purpose items. You might already cover your much-loved baby in the home garage and so why not in a hotel parking lot? This, however, is not just about keeping your bike clean; it is also about security.
A cover is really just another level of theft proofing. If your motorcycle is covered, no one really knows what is underneath the cover. It could be any type of motorcycle and people tend not to try to peek under the cover to see exactly what it is.
Another benefit of covering your motorcycle is that people won’t be tempted to sit on it while you are not looking. Yes this does happen and often with dire consequences. Coming out of a coffee shop or restaurant to see your beautiful machine on her side is a heart-stopping experience!
Don’t forget also that under the cover is also your secured helmet, so everything is securely tucked out of sight.
9. Seat Pad or Cushion
What a difference a comfortable seat can make to the enjoyment factor of your weekend ride.
If you have any discomfort on your motorcycle on short rides, then an after-market seat or a comfortable seat cushion is the answer. There are some great inflatable options that fair well with rainy weather. Sheepskin covers provide comfort, but do not deal with wet weather very well.
Do your research and either get a custom seat or find a cushion that will ensure you can finish a weekend away feeling great.
10. Personal Care
There is nothing worse than waiting for riders who spend forever delving to the bottom of their bags looking for lip balm, their wallet or other personal items.
Always try to think about what things you might need easy access to when on a longer ride. It is one thing to forget personal care items on a short ride, but on a weekend ride it is important to be more organized and have things at hand.
In a small leg pouch (or clip-on purse) and in your jacket pockets, you can carry most of the personal gear you need: sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, hair comb, cash, and credit cards.
A good quality moisturizer with SPF capabilities doubles as a moisturizer as well as sunscreen. (Remember; look for things that have more than one use)
It is preferable to use small screw tops and zip lock bags to avoid messy and unexpected spills.
11. Motorcycle Care
Like you, your trusty “ride” needs a personal care kit.
There are lots of scenarios of what might go wrong with your motorcycle. Even the smallest of issues could mean a tow home instead of you finishing the trip with your group.
Make sure you have handy any specific tools for your model of motorcycle when planning a motorcycle trip. Even if you don’t know how to use them, chances are someone else will be able to help you. Other items to consider are: a small can of chain lube, a can of tire sealer inflator (for flat tires), an anti-gravity battery, small pen light and a multi-tool.
What is an anti-gravity battery, you may ask? It is another multi-use item that can jump-start your motorcycle as well as charge your phone.
12. Emergency Kit
A small first aid kit with labeled personal medication, Band-Aids, triangular bandage, antiseptic, tweezers and safety pins will take care of any small issue you might encounter. This should always have easy access in case of need while on the road.
Emergency energy bars or glucose tablets and water are also important to carry for those “just in case” situations like flat tires, getting lost or even waiting for others who are lost.
No one goes out for a ride expecting to come off their bike, but accidents do happen. Second to your helmet, the next thing that could save your life is a “medical information carrier.” The best ones for motorcyclists attach to your helmet and carry personal medical information and ICE (in case of emergency) details. Emergency personnel attending to the accident will easily find this information.
A final piece of advice is the KISS principle. Keep it simple, keep it light and just enjoy the ride!
But remember, a well prepared, competent adventure gal on two wheels is the new sexy.
What is on your list of essentials when planning a motorcycle trip for a great weekend away on two wheels?
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