5 Motorcycle Riding Tips to Crunch Miles not Vertebrae

Mar 15th 2023

5 Motorcycle Riding Tips to Crunch Miles not Vertebrae

“He’s going the distance / he’s going for speed…”

If you’re anything like us, you’re gearing up (no pun intended) for the spring, looking forward to when temperatures rise, and the roads dry up. And at the top of our list of to-do’s is clocking some major miles on a nice, long distance ride. We can’t wait to explore new places, scratch that free bird itch, and yes, feel the wind in our hair again. But after years of giving into (and facing the consequences of) this spring fever, we know it's not that simple. No amount of hype alone will get you through a long-distance ride without some aches and pains.

Riding long distances is physically and mentally demanding, and if you want to be safe--which you always should be—then it’s essential to prepare yourself and your bike for the journey ahead. In this blog, we'll discuss some important things to consider when planning a long-distance motorcycle ride, with a particular focus on comfort and ergonomics.

Plan Your Route

If you’re looking to crunch miles, it’s probably best to know where you’re going. Cruising aimlessly around your neighborhood or town is one thing but when you extend out into less familiar territory it’s best to have a game plan. Check roads to ensure you won’t run into unexpected closures, constructions zones, or high traffic areas. If you’re really going the distance, you should also plan for where you can make fuel stops. You can also download apps like Rever, which are specifically designed for motorcycle enthusiasts and offer features like custom routes, real-time weather updates, and rider tracking.

Check Your Motorcycle

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised what people forget when they’re pumped about hitting the road again after a few months off. Just because your motorcycle was in good condition when you stashed it away for the winter does not mean it’s ready to burn rubber immediately. Make sure to check your oil, brake fluids, tire pressure, and other vital components to ensure that everything is in good shape. If it’s been a while since your last thorough inspection or you want a little more expertise, take your bike to a mechanic for a professional checkup. The last thing you want when far away from home is an unforeseen mechanical issue

Nail Your Packing List

Get some new moto luggage over the holidays? Time to put it to good use. When long distance motorcycle riding, you want to balance packing light to avoid extra weight and bringing the essentials. This might include a change of clothes or some rain gear in case of inclement weather. You should always have a fully charged cell phone and first aid kit in case of emergencies. And it’s worth packing a few of your most used tools, spare parts, and a tire repair kit.

Adjust your ergonomics

If you plan to be in the saddle for an extended period, you’ll want to feel completely at ease. Your forward leaning riding position for a speedy whip around your favorite back road isn’t going to be comfortable to stay in while the odometer eats up miles. The same goes for the confident, relaxed cruiser riding position. It may seem comfortable, but a back leaning position can quickly put strain on your arms and upper body.

If you don’t want to end up with cramps, numbness, or neck and back pain, you’ll want to adopt an upright riding position for any long-distance ride. Sit with your back upright and your shoulders square above your hips. Your arms should be extended but still relaxed at the elbow. And to accomplish this, you might need to make a few adjustments to your bike:

  • Adjust the seat: Adjust the seat height and angle to ensure that your feet can reach the ground and that your hips and back are properly supported.
  • Modify the handlebars: Adjust your handlebars to ensure that your arms are relaxed and that your wrists are not bent at an uncomfortable angle. If you can’t achieve this within the range of motion for your stock bars, consider finding a pair of handlebar risers for your bike model.
  • Shift the foot pegs: Adjust the foot pegs to ensure that your knees are not bent above or below 90 degrees and that your feet are in a comfortable position.

Get Cozy

This isn’t a cut scene in a movie where one minute you’re hitting the road and the next you’ve already gone a thousand+ miles. You’ll need to be present and working the whole time you’re on your long-distance ride so you might as well do everything to make it comfortable and enjoyable. Make sure to wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing that won’t restrict your movement or cause chafing. You’ll be exposed to the elements for extended periods so make sure to apply sunscreen anywhere you have exposed skin. Bring plenty of water and drink regularly to avoid dehydration. You can also consider adding cushioning to your bike’s seat with gel pads or sheepskin covers that reduce pressure points and absorb vibrations. And lastly, as tempting as may be to keep “driving and striving and hugging the turns,” you should remember to take plenty of breaks along the way to stretch and rehydrate.

Be Smart

Look, we see the appeal of watching those miles tick by on your odometer, especially at the start of a new riding season. But you should always check yourself before any adventure. If you’re new to long distance motorcycle riding, don’t jump straight for the SaddleSore or Bun Burner. Start with a few consecutive 500+ mile days to build up stamina and get more familiar with how your body feels after long miles in the saddle. Never lose sight of your own abilities which might put you and other motorists at risk.

Heading out on a long-distance motorcycle ride? Let us know where you’re planning to drive and what you’re bringing along for the ride by sending us a quick message!