Motorcycles are more than just a way to get from one place to another. Motorcyclists worldwide have found that taking a ride on two wheels can be an adventure in itself. There’s something about getting out of your everyday routine and exploring new places that can open your eyes up to the beauty of life.
The Call of the Open Road
One of the most powerful reasons for riding a motorcycle is the open road experience. The thrill of being on two wheels, your power propelling you forward at whatever speed and direction you choose, is unlike any other feeling. And it can never be replicated by sitting behind the wheel of a car.
Hence, many people choose to buy a motorcycle instead of a car. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that almost 8.6 million motorcycles were registered in the United States alone in 2021. Florida and California boast of the largest numbers.
There’s nothing between you and nature on an open-air bike except wind resistance. You’re free to feel every bump in the road as it passes under your tires, hear every bird chirping overhead, etc.
The sense of freedom provided by riding motorcycles also extends beyond physical boundaries. The feeling that anything could happen next lends itself well to adventure. The present moment becomes all-consuming when you’re focused on cruising down winding roads lined with trees offering shade.
Planning Your Epic Ride
Planning is key to a successful trip. If you want to make memories and have a great time on your motorcycle journey, it’s important that you plan. Here are some things to consider:
- Choose a destination and route. Where will you go? What route will take you there? Will there be any scenic detours in between? Are there other places along the way that might interest you or provide opportunities for adventure?
- Choose your bike and companions wisely. You don’t want someone who doesn’t know how to ride sitting behind your back while riding through dangerous terrain. And if they do manage not to fall off, they’ll likely complain about their sore butt all day long instead of enjoying it.
- Check your motorcycle: Ensure your motorcycle is in good condition. Check the tires, brakes, oil, lights, and other essential components. If your bike is due for a service, get it done before the trip.
- Packing essentials: Pack weather-appropriate gear, including a helmet, jacket, gloves, and suitable footwear. Bring a toolkit, first aid kit, and any necessary spare parts. Use saddlebags or a tail bag to carry essentials. Consider a tank bag for easy access to items like maps or snacks.
- Accommodation: Reserve accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons. Look for motorcycle-friendly hotels or campgrounds. Plan your daily budget, including accommodation, meals, and any activities.
Besides everything else, planning for entertainment is also crucial. According to BOSS Audio Systems, motorcycle speakers can be an excellent choice for entertainment. With speakers, you can listen to your favorite artists on your adventure. This can improve the overall experience of your trip.
However, you don’t want to keep worrying about the wires of the headsets or speakers. Hence, it is recommended to go with Bluetooth motorcycle speakers. This will ensure that the speakers are connected wirelessly so that the wires don’t come in the way of riding. You can use the speakers for entertainment in solo and group travel.
Iconic Routes and Destinations
There are many iconic routes and destinations that motorcycle riders can choose to experience. Here are just a few:
- Route 66: The original highway that connected Chicago with Los Angeles, this iconic road was once traveled by thousands of people each year. Today, it symbolizes Americana and has been immortalized in song, film, and literature. The National Park Service website states that this iconic route stretches 2,400 miles, covering two-thirds of the continent.
- Pacific Coast Highway (PCH): This stretch of coastal highway runs along California’s coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and beyond. It winds through incredible scenery, including redwood forests, oceanside vistas, and small towns you’ll want to stop at along the way.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: This scenic parkway runs 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina. It’s known for its beautiful views of mountains and historical sites such as Civil War battlefields. There are also the colonial homes built by early American settlers during colonial times.
- Stewart’s Point: Stewart’s Point is another route that passes through Northern California. The Thrillist website mentions it as one of the most famous biking routes. The 27-mile-long route from Flagstaff to Sedona and Arizona offers some of the best views.
Motorcycle Culture and Camaraderie
Motorcycle culture isn’t just about the bicycles themselves. It’s also about the people who ride them and how they interact with each other. Many motorcycle clubs or groups of riders share common interests, like riding style or location.
Joining one of these organizations can be a great way to meet new friends. Some clubs even sponsor charity rides to raise money for causes they believe in. If you’re looking for something more social than just riding solo with headphones on, joining a club might be right up your alley.
Challenges on the Road
Motorcycle riding can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges and risks. Here are some common challenges that motorcyclists may encounter on the road:
- Rain: Wet roads can reduce traction and visibility. Riding in the rain requires extra caution.
- Wind: Strong winds can affect stability, especially for lighter motorcycles.
- Potholes and uneven surfaces: These can be hazardous for motorcycles, causing loss of control or damage to the bike.
- Gravel and debris: Slippery surfaces, like gravel or debris on the road, can be dangerous, especially when taking turns.
- Congestion: Heavy traffic can lead to frequent stops and starts, requiring constant attention and quick reactions.
- Blind spots: Motorcycles can easily be overlooked by larger vehicles, leading to potential collisions.
- Inattentive drivers: Distracted or inattentive drivers pose a significant risk to motorcyclists.
- Aggressive drivers: Road rage and aggressive driving can create dangerous situations for motorcyclists.
- Tire blowouts: Sudden tire failures can lead to loss of control.
- Brake failures: Malfunctions in the braking system can be extremely dangerous.
Riding Responsibly: Environmental Considerations
One of the best things about riding a motorcycle is how it connects you with nature. From the moment you embark on your journey, there’s an intimate connection between your body and the road ahead. As you weave in and out of traffic, the wind flows through your hair, and trees pass by like clockwork.
However beautiful all this may be, certain environmental considerations must be considered when traveling on two wheels. Reducing one’s carbon footprint is important for everyone, whether they’re traveling long distances or not. Being environmentally conscious while riding can help ensure that future generations will also have access to these natural wonders.
The good thing is that the bikes emit low amounts of carbon. According to Our World in Data, a bike’s carbon emission is somewhere around 114 gm/ km, which is lower than that of cars. However, this can change based on the maintenance. Hence, it is vital to maintain your bike through regular checks to keep it environment-friendly.
In conclusion, motorcycle travel is a great way to explore the world, get in touch with nature, and experience new cultures. It’s also a challenging sport that requires skill and preparation. If you’re considering taking your first trip on two wheels, remember that motorcycles are not just for experienced riders. You can enjoy all these benefits even if you’ve never been on one. Just make sure you know what kind of bike will work best for your needs and plan ahead.