Hey Ladies! Have any of you been thinking about heading out to take a nice, long, solo motorcycle trip? We often ride together in groups, but sometimes it is therapeutic for us to enjoy getting away for a road trip to enjoy the sites while reflecting and renewing our beautiful spirits. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of riding coast to coast, or maybe you have a friend in another country you could take a tour to visit, the options are endless.
Whenever you ride solo, you will want to take some extra precautions and spend time pre-planning for the adventure of a lifetime. We have put together a checklist for you to consult as you begin your planning and before you hit the open road. We hope you find this useful.
This is mostly for your friends and family to give them some peace of mind knowing where you are planning to ride and when you will check in with them. If something should happen, it is good to have someone who will check up on you if you go off the radar for a reasonable amount of time. Loved ones will appreciate your daily calls to check in.
When you keep your packing to a minimum, it reduces the amount you have to unpack and repack twice each day. You will also feel a sense of freedom knowing you don’t need much at all to have an awesome tour. We recommend you only pack essentials like your cell phone and a charger, maps, a small flashlight, a small, portable tool kit, your wallet, and two or three pairs of underwear and socks, a few t-shirts and some jeans. You may want to bring a good book to read. Also, don’t forget to pack a small first aid kit and a microfiber rag for cleaning your windshield and mirrors.
There is no better feeling than hitting the open road while the world is just waking up. Ideally, you will be up at the crack of dawn to enjoy a beautiful sunrise. If you plan to put on a lot of miles, this will ensure that you are finished before dusk too. There are hazards you will avoid to stay safe. Dusk is a time when animals are most likely to run out in front of your bike and the change in lighting makes it harder to see the road clearly. Have a nice dinner, enjoy some time at a local park, movie theater, zoo or whatever you enjoy. Then go to sleep early so you can get up fresh and passionate to start your ride again the next day.
When you take good care of your bike, it will take care of you back. Check your bike each morning before you start it up. Check it again every time you stop—for lunch, for a photo, when you get gas, etc. And, of course, at the end of the day when you park it and give it a good wipe down at the end of your riding day. You can’t check it too often. Mainly, you want to check your tire tread (no nail heads, cords showing or punctures), ensure that your chain and sprocket don’t have any kinks, metal shavings or broken teeth. If you see any leaks underneath the bike, clean it up, start it and let it run for a minute to check again.
You should plan to eat a little differently when you are riding solo. Exercising your willpower and resisting that piece of pie or cake at the fun little diner you stop at will pay off. You don’t want to go into a food coma when you are riding. For breakfast, keep heavy carb loads to a minimum (things like potatoes and pancakes). Eat oatmeal, fruits, nuts, yogurt, and seeds. Keep your lunch light and have healthy snacks with you to enjoy during the daytime. Granola, dark chocolate covered almonds and apples are all good choices. You can choose to splurge when you eat your early dinner. Steak, pizza, beers or whatever you want now that you are off the bike and have
time to digest it before you go to bed. Don’t eat right before you go to bed or you will not get a good night’s sleep. Go for a long walk, a jog or a swim to get your body moving after being on the bike all day. Use alcohol in moderation so you don’t have a huge hangover traveling with you the next day.
Ear plugs don’t only protect your hearing, but they also help to greatly reduce fatigue. The reason is that your brain is trying to process the wind noises and find anything important that it should listen to. When that goes on for hours, it causes strain in your brain. Ear plugs should cut out most of the noise, but not all of it. You still need to be able to hear what’s going on around you. Ladies find that wearing ear plugs actually increases their ability to hear mechanical noises coming from their bikes. Simple, industrial ear plugs are best. Don’t buy custom earplugs with audio capability (used for your iPhone or other devices). They can distract you, and you may end up turning up the volume to compete with the road noise and end up losing some of your precious hearing for good.
It’s hard to drink enough water every day when you aren’t on the open road. When you are though, you need to be sure you do. If you aren’t properly hydrated, it can bring on fatigue, cause headaches, muscle pain or even cause you to pass out. None of which is good when you are on your bike. In warm weather, do not wait until you feel thirsty. It will already be too late. Plan to drink one liter of water every hour in hot weather. Bring enough water with you, especially when you won’t be near a gas station.
Open Road Girls know that our apparel has some advanced technology to help you stay cool and keep warm. There is no need to suffer in hot weather when you have your t-shirts made with moisture-wicking materials. Many of our jackets are made with lightweight layers of wool that allow you maximum flexibility and will work to keep you warm. Check out the Open Road Girl Thermal and Bombshell jackets! Our sweatshirts are also a great way to add an extra touch of bling, style and comfort.
GPS units are distracting and have caused accidents when people are side-tracked trying to screw around with them. If you want to have an electronic tool to use when you are stopped, we recommend downloading Google Maps for your cell phone. Good “old” paper maps are great for seeing a lot more area at once and then making your Google Map search more helpful. They also fit nicely in your saddle bag.
Most of you ladies have a Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram page. If you don’t though, you may want to consider starting one before you leave on your trip. Your friends and family will enjoy seeing pictures and posts about your journey. People may reach out to you with great suggestions about places you are traveling that they have traveled before. Suggestions about where to eat, where to stay and points of interest are helpful. It’s also just plain fun to have friends come and meet you along the way or share your travels virtually.
If for any reason you are unable to speak, people need to know what medical conditions, prescriptions and allergies you may have. This also helps emergency personnel know how to treat you. You can stick a little pouch with a form inside your wallet, on your dashboard, or if you wear a helmet, stick it on the outside of it. Just ensure that it is somewhere that emergency personnel can easily find it.