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On the road riding an Indian motorcycle

Planning the Perfect Motorcycle Trip


There are few things as soul satisfying as a well-planned motorcycle trip. Whether it’s a week-long vacation or a quick weekend getaway, the feelings of anticipation, excitement and adventure as the trip nears never get old. The scenic views, twisting roads, small town Americana and big city lights are all out there—just waiting for you to roll in.



Things to Consider When Planning Your Motorcycle Trip


You might think the first decision is: “Where to?”. But it’s sometimes best to figure out: “For how long?”. If you only have a few days, that will impact your range and how many stops you plan to make along the way. For longer trips, you have a little more flexibility depending on your preference. Do you want to get to your destination quickly and stay a while, or take your time getting there with overnights along the way?


Indian motorcycle in the workshop

Pick Out That Perfect Destination

Once you have a general idea of how much time you have and what type of ride you want to take, pick a destination or an event that fits your preferences and start planning. There are no shortage of things to do and places to see in this country, near or far. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these articles.


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Start Thinking About How You’ll Get There 

Consider picking a route that takes you off the main drag. Highways may get you there quicker, but are long, flat and often unexciting. Choosing smaller backroads or popular motorcycle routes offers a much more scenic option with less traffic and plenty of curves that flow naturally with the terrain.


Break Your Ride Up into Equal Parts

Unless you’re a “let’s-get-there-all-in-one-day” type, plan a few overnights along the way. Creating legs to your trip will make it feel more leisurely, allow you to take in more sights along those curvy routes and leave you feeling more relaxed once you reach your destination.

Pro Tip

Pre-planning is important, but leave room for the unexpected when you’re on the open road. An unscheduled stop at a roadside diner, a quick detour to a national park, or an extra night in a town that made you feel right at home make for life’s greatest adventures.

Check Weather, Traffic and Road Conditions

Before you head out, be sure to consider any weather or traffic conditions you might encounter in the areas you’ll be riding through. Both are available as map overlays in RIDE COMMAND. If you’ve never been on a particular road before, check local ride forums or groups for insights on the area. Local Indian Motorcycle dealer can also provide valuable information.

Indian travel backpack

Who’s Along for The Ride?

Are you going solo, or will you have a rider with you? Do you plan to head out with a group of other riders? All of these things can impact pre-ride planning, including how much you will be able to pack, whether you need to add extra storage, and if you need to think about managing and coordinating a group ride.

Packing and Preparation for Your Motorcycle Trip 

As a motorcycle rider, you already know there is only a limited amount of storage on your bike. So being thoughtful with the space you have will go a long way toward a successful trip. Keep these things in mind when loading up and make sure when it comes time to hit the open road the extra weight is evenly distributed for a safe, balanced ride.


Clothing & Food

For shorter trips, you’ll want to stow a few versatile outfits. Anything longer than that and you’ll want to consider finding a laundromat along the way. Also be sure to save some space to pack snacks for a quick boost of energy and bottled water to keep you hydrated, especially in the warm summer months.


Gear & Supplies

The one item you won’t want to forget is your rain gear. It should always be packed in case rain catches you by surprise. If you plan to camp overnight, a larger touring bike can stow a backpacking set of pots and pans, a sleeping bag and your compact tent.


Finding A Place to Stay

If camping isn’t in the cards, be sure to plan out hotel stays or rentals in advance at the towns you plan to hole up in for the evening. Pre-planning can be important, as you never know when small-town lodging might sell out, especially if there are events in the area you’re traveling to.


Tools for Roadside Maintenance

If you’re handy with your ride, you might consider reserving some space for a few maintenance essentials. A basic tool kit and a tire patch kit should do the trick. Zip-ties are also super handy in a pinch. Of course, the best maintenance is preventative, so be sure to tune your bike before any long road trips.

Ride planning software

Ride Planning Software with GPS Technology

Using a motorcycle app or GPS technology, like RIDE COMMAND, can help you navigate while you’re in unfamiliar places and make you feel more at ease. Spend less time worrying about making a wrong turn, finding the next place to eat and gas up, or losing a rider from your group in traffic and enjoy the experience.


Learn more about RIDE COMMAND >

Make Sure Your Bike is Up to Date on Service

Check tire tread, tire pressure and oil level right before your ride. If your oil hasn’t been changed recently, get that done before any extended trips. If you own an Indian Motorcycle and want to do these things yourself, there are plenty of resources available to you, including information on how to change your oil. You can also purchase lubricants engineered specifically for your motorcycle.


You’re All Set. Time to Head Out. 

Planning can get you excited for what’s ahead, but there’s no substitute for that feeling when you finally roll down your driveway and off on your multi-day motorcycle trip. Head out confidently, knowing you’ve put in the pre-work and be open to the adventures that come your way.

Group of riders
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