Preparing for Your First Cross-Country Motorcycle Trip

The howling wind, the lush scenery rushing by, the roar of your bike coming alive with every twist, turn, and endless straight away; this is why we ride. For motorcyclists, the ultimate journey is to see America on two wheels. It is the very personification of freedom. Before you head out on your first epic cross-country trip, here are some tips to help you prepare.

Trip Checklist

We all just want to get on and go, but planning your route can help you get a feel for where you’re headed and what sites you would like to check out along the way. The best way to begin is to make a quick checklist that answers the following questions:

  • What city or state would you like to be your final destination?
  • What is the total length of time you will be gone?
  • Will you be camping out or staying in hotels?
  • What type of  weather  can you expect in the states you will be traveling through?
  • Where are the best places to fuel up?
  • Do you have gear to handle inclement weather?

Once you have answered all of the questions posed by your necessities checklist, map out your route. Be sure to mark areas of interest, research the best scenic back-roads along the way, and make sure to schedule a place and time for a few days rest at your half way mark.

Getting Your Paperwork in Order

Different states have different regulations regarding riding. Rules of the road can vary greatly from state to state so be sure to investigate riding laws for the states in which you will be traveling.

Insurance coverage requirements could also vary from state to state. Once you have researched the minimum requirements for each state, check over your motorcycle insurance policy to ensure you are carrying at least the minimum required for each area you will be traveling through.

When taking a cross country trip, it’s recommended you up your policy to include not just liability insurance, but also comprehensive and collision. If you will be riding with a guest, guest liability coverage may also be available through your provider.

What to Pack

What you pack can depend on where you will be riding, if you will be camping out, and what type of weather you can expect.

Here is a list of packing musts:

  • Cell phone charger
  • Maps
  • Rain gear
  • Sweatshirts
  • First aid kit
  • Small tool kit
  • Bottled water
  • Energy bars
  • Tire repair kit

When loading up your bike, remember proper weight distribution and balance are priority. Saddlebags and packs should be loaded so that weight is evenly distributed on either side of the bike, this will promote better handling and balance.

Heading Out 

Before heading out, make sure to do a safety check. Your bike should be freshly serviced and 100% road ready before setting out on your ride. As you make your way across the states, remember by rigidly sticking to your route, you could miss out on some of the best sites. Be open to straying from the beaten path every so often – motorcycle riding has never been about getting from point A to point B, its all about the journey…

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