by Liz Jansen
Answering a few basic questions can make a big difference in your enjoyment factor when you’re planning that weekend getaway or a longer vacation trip.
- Group or solo. Anything more than one rider is a group. Make sure you’re comfortable with group riding, with the riding abilities and styles of others in the group.
- Interests. Determine your must see’s, bearing in mind that this can change enroute. You may only pass that way once so make the most of it.
- Weather. It can be fickle and depending on the season, the terrain and the altitude, you may need to be prepared for a variety of conditions.
- Maintenance. Compile a list of locations where you can receive reliable service should you need it, particularly for long trips. You may need to have an oil change, new tires, or routine maintenance.
- Range. Know the gas range for your bike; if you have a reserve on your tank, know how far it will carry you. Most bikes can go another 30-40 km. or more, however, when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, you want to know. Remember that your mileage will drop if you’re fully loaded, climbing a lot of hills or fighting the wind.
- Road conditions. Summer is construction season and if you can avoid construction areas – do so. It can be exciting but not many riders enjoy traveling through deep loose gravel, fresh tar – or sitting in the hot sun waiting for your turn to proceed.
- Distance. Be realistic about how far you can travel in a day. Keep in mind that 100 miles doesn’t sound like a lot, but on winding country roads, it can take much more time and effort than straight highway riding.
- Arrival. Plan to arrive at your destination by mid to late afternoon. You want to allow for contingencies, delays, those unplanned stops – and get there in time to relax, enjoy the evening and be well rested for the next day. This is especially important if you haven’t reserved accommodations, even in a campground.
- Rest days. If you’re planning a prolonged ride, you may want to have a day or two with no riding. It gives the butt a chance to recuperate. Plan these for locations where there are other interesting activities available nearby. You might want to walk or avail yourself of local transit.
- Flexibility. Riding is about freedom, seizing the moment. A trip can be more relaxing and enjoyable if you’re not under the pressure of commitment. While you may want to make reservations so you know where you’re staying ahead of time, allow lots of time for those breathtaking moments along the way, points of interest, rest stops.
Bonus: Expect the unexpected. Rides are always an adventure – you just don’t know the nature of that adventure. Relax and have FUN.
— Mary Murphy (@Murphdak) March 24, 2013