If you're planning the cross-country road trip of a lifetime, you may view your motorcycle as just as much of a necessity as clean clothes or toiletries. Indeed, being on a motorcycle can allow you to immerse yourself in your surroundings much more effectively than sitting behind the wheel of a truck or camper, safely encased in metal and glass. However, traveling thousands of miles on a motorcycle can quickly lose its appeal after you become caught in inclement weather or find yourself navigating through loose gravel or other substandard highway conditions. What are the best ways to bring your motorcycle with you on your cross-country trip that will allow you to ride whenever desired? Read on to learn more about the safe storage and transport of your bike.
What are some options to help you transport your motorcycle?
There are several viable (and inexpensive) options that can help you keep your motorcycle in prime condition throughout your trip.
If you already own a truck with a bed that can accommodate your motorcycle, the easiest transport method may be to simply use a ramp to load and unload your motorcycle into your truck, securing it upright with ratchet straps to prevent it from falling. You'll likely also want to pack a tarp to help keep your motorcycle dry during rain or snow, and you may want to use a tarp with locking bungee cords to help prevent the theft or vandalism of your motorcycle when you're leaving your truck parked outside overnight.
If your truck can't easily fit your motorcycle and you don't own a trailer (or only own a non-enclosed trailer), you may want to check out enclosed motorcycle trailer sales before your trip. Not only will these trailers keep your motorcycle out of the elements when not in use, they can be secured by a padlock -- allowing you to sleep easily even when parking your truck and trailer in a part of town that's not the greatest. You'll also be able to unhook this trailer from your truck and leave it at the hotel if you don't feel like towing it all over town.
What should you do to prepare your motorcycle for the trip?
Before loading up your motorcycle, you'll want to perform a few tasks to ensure that it remains in good running condition and doesn't leak fluids, break down, or damage your truck or trailer during the trip.
First, you'll want to perform an oil and filter change. This will prevent engine damage by removing any existing dust or particulates from your oil that could cause clogs or premature wear. You'll also want to inspect, clean, or replace the air and fuel filters, ensure the chain is oiled, and make sure your turn signals, brake lights, and other safety features are working properly. If you're towing your bike with a trailer, be sure to also check the brake lights and emergency flashers.
If you regularly ride in dry conditions and are traveling to a part of the country that has more precipitation, you might also consider bringing along a spare set of tires better equipped to handle in rain or snow. If the opposite is true, you can improve your fuel economy while on your trip by ditching your extra-grippy motorcycle tires for something more all-season.
Finally, you'll want to pack a tool kit and spare tire to allow you to perform any needed repairs while on the road. Few things can be more frustrating than knowing you'll have to tow a non-functional motorcycle thousands of miles home without the opportunity to enjoy even one more ride.