One of the first rites of passage for motorcycle enthusiasts is the long ride. Whether it’s a couple days cruising to a far-flung province or several weeks out on the Philippine Loop, the long ride is an essential experience for riders who are truly hungry for adventure, and ready to make memories with a beloved motorcycle.
That said, long rides can be difficult, and even downright arduous if you aren't properly equipped, or if your bike isn't performing at its best. Preparation is key to a fun and headache-free ride.
Fear not, though, if you're new and unsure about how to prepare, because we've put together a simple guide for anyone who's new to long rides. Here are some of the main boxes to tick when you're getting ready.
Plot your route
Getting lost and going on an adventure may seem fun on paper, but in real life, your wallet might have something to say about it. Getting stranded out in the middle of nowhere makes for a cool story until you realize the costs involved.
So before heading out, make sure to check navigation apps while planning your ride. This will allow you to calculate your travel time, fuel consumption, stopovers for gas, food, or rest, and any detours you might want to make. (Yes, it's important to be that thorough when planning for a long ride.) Plus, using navigation apps will alert you to any route closures or blockages, so you can avoid the hassle of dead ends and delays.
Prepare your loadout
To maximize the limited storage space on a bike, plan your items according to your ride, with a few extras and allowances just in case. No need to bring a full change of clothes for each day you’ll be gone—just bring what you need for your destination and a couple extra pairs of underwear. If you’re going on an especially long ride, be prepared to wash or re-use your clothes.
Other essential items for your ride loadout are essential medicines, a first aid kit, toiletries, your phone, power bank, rain gear, easy-to-store food, and a small tool kit with extras like zip ties, duct tape, and spare spark plugs. (Also, make sure you're prepared to use all these items, and know how to perform basic roadside repairs.)
Of course, you should bring spare cash too. Not all places will have ATMs, so it’ll help to have bills stored in different pockets and compartments so you can’t lose it all in one go.
Tell your friends
It's not just about documenting your exploits for social media—it's safety, too. Let people you trust know that you’re going somewhere far. In case you get lost—or worse, in an accident—having someone know where you are will save your skin when you find yourself in need of help.
Also, if you're going really far—like, say, around the Philppine Loop—it can help to stay at friends’ houses along the way, to save on accommodations. You won't be able to do that if they don’t know you’re coming.
Condition yourself physically
If athletes go through training regimens to prepare for marathons and other endurance events, riders should do so as well to avoid cramps, fatigue, and other bodily pains throughout the duration of their journeys. You don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete to prepare for a ride, but do keep yourself in decent shape and stretch at every pit stop. This should be more than enough to prevent the aches from long hours of riding.
Tune up your loyal steed
Going on a long ride is a pair effort at the minimum, and your partner should be just as ready as you are, if not more. Keep your bike in tip-top shape and ensure it stays that way before embarking on a long-distance adventure.
Check that your tires are in good shape and can reliably hold air. Test your brakes for bite and feel. Check all electronic systems, and of course, make sure that your engine is in good working order and filled with fresh, high-quality engine oil.
Premium oil is a must if you want to get the most out of large-displacement engines, which typically have tighter tolerances and need quality oil to produce as much power as possible as smoothly as possible.
Consider Castrol Power1 Ultimate. This fully-synthetic oil is available in most engine oil viscosities, and offers five key benefits in one: surprising acceleration, better protection, smooth riding, enduring performance, and the ability to keep your engine cool. All of these are crucial if you're riding hard for long periods of time, especially for high-performance bikes.
While some oils are cheaper and pass standards for street use, long rides put a lot of stress on a motorcycle and its components, so premium oil is a must. Remember, you'll be pushing your engine to its limits for extended periods of time. It needs to be in good shape if it's going to ride well. That's why anyone who wants to be thoroughly prepared won't skimp on oil.
At the end of the day, we can all agree that the best rides are those that allow you to take on scenic views and go the distance without having to worry about your motorcycle's performance. Here's to more memorable adventures, courtesy of Castrol Power1 Ultimate!
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