Are you a petrol head who loves to ride bikes? Fancy a new challenge that you’ll remember forever? Then get yourself to the good old U.S of A, hire a bike and take the plunge into cross country motorcycle ride! Before you go, however, there are a few things you should remember and consider and, because we’re so kind, they’ve been sorted for you in a handy list below.
1. Fly to America; it’s pretty hard to ride across the country if you don’t get up and go.
2. Rent a bike – again, impossible to trek across America without one.
3. Choose carefully. Don’t go for sporty or hard-riding; you need comfort.
4. Cruiser or bruiser: make sure the bike is a gran-tourer type to protect your bum, particularly if you plan on any Iron Butts.
5. Make sure you give yourself at least two weeks to complete the trek.
6. 4,000 miles is a long haul ride; plan for plenty of pit-stops.
7. Make sure you look at how many miles you need to do per day to keep on schedule.
8. Finding a place to sleep every night is essential unless you want to be mugged or worse.
9. Stay clear of interstates, as you’ll be bored after ten minutes.
10. America is massive – don’t underestimate it.
11. Check tyre pressures and tread depth on a daily basis. Those long stretches of road can take their toll, particularly in the southern desert states.
12. Take a GPS – just in case.
13. Pack sun-lotion.
14. Cooling vests could be helpful when you get to Arizona and Death Valley.
15. Take pictures as you go. This is a once in a lifetime trip that you want to remember.
16. Upload just one picture every few days to Facebook – you don’t want people becoming bored of your escapades.
17. Make sure you’ve got plenty of gas money.
18. Take a detailed map.
19. Be friendly and talk to the locals; soak up the culture.
20. Take a diary and write down your experiences for future reference.
21. If you camp, avoid forests as some places in the U.S. have bears.
22. Take energy drinks to keep you focused on the long mileage days.
23. A handy radio will help you plan for the weather.
24. May to October is the best time period to visit the States.
25. There are plenty of motels in the US; choose wisely.
26. Stay on the good side of the law.
27. Safety first: wear a helmet.
28. Pack an iPod and listen to your music as you ride.
29. Make sure you take pictures of your loved ones, as the road can get lonely at times.
30. Sleep is essential to riding happily; so make sure you get at least 6-8 hours.
31. Route 66 is legendary and you have to make sure to pick it up when you can.
32. Choose either east to west or west to east. Most choose east to west.
33. Keep hydrated.
34. Eat healthy meals – the food can be good, but don’t get carried away!
35. America can be cheap, especially for fuel, but make sure you’ve got plenty of funds, especially for emergencies.
36. Soak it all up, it could be the last time you ever experience it.
37. As you travel further west, the country really opens up. Expect mile after mile of nothingness in certain states.
38. The weather can be extremely varied and violent at times – pack accordingly.
39. Drive at a pace which suits you. There’s no rush.
40. Plan your nights properly. The last thing you want is to be bored after a day on the road.
41. Leave early and watch the sun come up on your bike.
42. If you’re tired, take a break.
43. Start up a blog and share with the world!
44. Find the twisty tarmac and push your bike to the limit – at legal speeds, of course.
45. Get a Harley if you can afford it.
46. Remember as much as you can, as people will want to know what it’s like.
47. Visit landmarks and points of interest as you drive through cities and try and plan these ahead of time.
48. Plan to drop off the bike at the finishing point.
49. Make sure you’ve got enough money to get home.
50. And last, but not least, enjoy it!
So there you have it; some essential tips to keep you alive while you trek across the great nation of America. Tempted? Get it done!
A big thank you to Louis Rix, automotive expert and bike fan at Netcars.com for contributing these great tips.