Motorcycles have two wheels. One’s called Adventure. The other, Discovery. It’s exhilarating to jump in the saddle and explore the world, one curvy route at a time. There’s a certain freedom you only experience travelling on a motorcycle. Perhaps it’s the open air. Maybe it’s the speed sensation. Or it could just be that you’re much more mobile on a bike. However, busy lives can get in the way of the joy of riding (not to be confused with joyriding — totally different, and illegal). Work and other responsibilities can be a complete killjoy at times. Often, the only way to make sure you get some quality time on the road is to add it to the calendar well in advance. That’s why it’s important to know how to plan a motorcycle trip.
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 us guide you through how to plan a motorcycle trip you’ll wax lyrical about at your next club meet.
Dates and Destinations
Before you can start to plan a motorcycle trip there are two essential bits of information you need:
- A date (as in a time of year to travel, not a companion — although you might want to take a companion with you, and your trip may actually be an adventurous date you plan to go on with them. Relationships can be confusing. Just get on your bike and ride.)
- A destination
Check your dates. Make sure they don’t clash with anything else you may have going on. And then stick them in the diary.
Next, decide where you’re going. This will have the biggest impact on the rest of your plans. It’s also the hardest decision you’ll make. So to help you, we’ve listed some of the important factors to consider when choosing a destination for your motorcycle trip.
- Starting Location
- Continents and Countries
- Cities and Landmarks
- Seasons and Weather
- Famous Rides
- Curvy Routes
All the above should help you shape and plan a motorcycle trip to suit your needs and expectations.
Your starting location will greatly impact where you travel to. It’ll also have a bearing on the amount of time you have to factor in either side of your adventure to account for getting to the starting point for your trip (this is especially applicable if you’re planning a long-distance trip abroad).
When choosing a destination you may want to visit a particular continent, country, city, or landmark. If you have somewhere in mind, use that as your goal and work backwards, incorporating any famous rides or especially scenic or curvy routes to make the trip epic.
Also, consider the season of travel and the expected weather conditions along your route. You want it to be enjoyable, not traumatic.
Alternatively, you could plan your motorcycle trip to coincide with a particular event or meet-up. The important thing to remember is, once you’ve chosen your dates and destination, the trip pretty much plans itself.
With a little bit of research.
When you set out to plan a motorcycle trip, researching routes is arguably the most fun and most important bit. It’s where you can start to get excited.
Once you know your destination start researching the location and surrounding areas (revert back to the list above for ideas of things to consider when planning your route). Identify landmarks, towns, villages, and other places of interest that you’d like to visit. Plot them on a map, then chart the best route you can find between each point. Alternatively, we know a really cool app that’ll map out the best and curviest routes for you.
The squigglier the line on the map, the better.
Distances and Travel Essentials
As you gaze down upon your masterpiece of a route, itching to get in the saddle and get going, it’s quite likely that, in all the excitement, you’ll forget a few travel essentials. Now, we’re not talking about a spare pair of undercrackers here.
This is your checklist of necessities to factor in when you plan a motorcycle trip:
- Distances – How far do you plan to ride in a day? Be realistic. Anything over 300 miles per day can quickly suck out all the joy of your ride (unless you’re a real high-miler rider). Ultimately, it’s up to you how long you’re prepared to sit in the saddle each day of your trip. If you’re all about the ride, then get as many miles in as you feel comfortable with. If you want to explore and investigate the locations you’ve pinpointed in your plan, consider riding shorter distances each day (150-200 miles).
- Fuel – Regular fuel stops are always preferable. Plan these into your route. You never know where fancy (or traffic diversions) might take you. And there may not be a refuelling option on the detour. Plus, a fuel stop is the perfect excuse for a stretch, nibble, and a quick visit to the ‘facilities’ so you can continue to enjoy your ride in comfort.
- Accommodation – Where are you staying? This greatly depends on the length and location of your planned motorcycle trip. It’ll also be down to personal preference whether you seek out a hotel/hostel/BnB/campsite/friend’s sofa. Look over your route carefully and decide where would be good overnight stays, then search for suitable accommodation at that location. When you plan a motorcycle trip, it’s important to book your accommodation in advance. Otherwise, it’s a night under the stars for you (although that might actually be an attractive option).
- Documentation – Where you’re going, do you need a passport/travel visa/EHIC/travel insurance/breakdown cover/green card/map? Make sure you have all your necessary documents prepped and packed well in advance of your trip. You don’t want a mad scramble to find your expired passport on the day of departure, do you?
- Kit – Tools? Puncture repair kit? Emergency contact details? Tent? Waterproofs? Phone charger? Universal plug? That really useful phone app that maps out your curvy route for you? What essential items are you forgetting?
With all this sorted, your pretty much ready for your motorcycle trip.
Just one more thing.
We all get a bit carried away when we plan a motorcycle trip. It’s the thrill of the open road. Why else would you ride a bike, right?
Of course, keeping your motorcycle in top condition is just basic bike ownership. However, before a long trip, it’s always worth performing extra mechanical checks before you head off. After all, prevention is better (and cheaper) than cure. Don’t get stranded because of an avoidable problem. It’ll put a real downer on your trip.
Discovery Beckons. Adventure Awaits.
You’re all set. That’s everything you need to plan a motorcycle trip.
Maybe save some cash to spend as you go along (you might need some local currency if going abroad — contactless might not have arrived at that little café by that lake and they have the best croissants).
Finally, remember to enjoy your ride. The great thing about having a plan for a motorcycle trip is you can ignore it and come back to it as you please.
Feel free to go with the flow, wherever it may take you.
Make it an adventure to remember.