This is a running list of things I’ve learned over there years while touring. Some psychological, some more practical. I learn something new on every trip, so this list will have no end to it.
- Chapstick! Even if it isn’t too cold, your lips can taking a beating with the turbulent air even with a full face helmet. Keep it handy in your tank bag.
- Not planning on riding at night? Too bad, because circumstances will force you to at times. Always bring a clear visor with you if you always ride with a tinted one.
- Invest in a pair of spandex bicycling shorts. They have padding in the shape of a bicycle seat which works just as well on a motorcycle saddle. You’ll be able to comfortably squeeze in 100 more miles.
- Quantify distances using larger units. When I need to cover 600 miles in a day I hate thinking “500 more to go, 400 more to go.” The numbers are daunting. Instead I refer to my total mileage in terms of gas tanks. “Four gas tanks” sounds a lot easier than “600 miles.”
- Ever feel like it was taking forever to cover those couple hundred miles across some boring stretches? Stop looking at your odometer. If you keep looking, put a piece of tape over it! (Unless you need it to judge your gas levels)
- “Slow and steady wins the race.” When trying to cover a lot of miles traveling at “spirited speeds” may decrease your overall average miles per hour. You may find your MPG dipping which will require more gas station stops, not to mention the added stress of higher speeds when watching the road (or for cops). The mental strain will catch up with you at your next stop and you’ll want to take longer breaks.
In order to be prepared for a trip, I find a checklist essential to ensure I don’t forget anything. A series of spreadsheets is what I use when I am planning for long trips. But after every trip I usually come across something I could have packed that I failed to, or never thought to bring until a situation came along that warranted it. So this is a work in progress and is not a complete list that I update fairly often. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be informed of updates to the list that might help you when you’re planning that next cross country trip.