20% of all traffic accidents are related to sleep. To start a trip, it is necessary to have had enough sleep; if you feel any sign of sleep when driving a motorcycle, it is essential to stop and avoid any accident.
Before giving you tips on how to stay alert, let us first discuss a bit of the preparation for a bike ride.
Preparing the motorcycle
Preparing your bike consists of checking that all the controls are working correctly before setting off. If your motorcycle is well maintained, this shouldn’t be a problem. The priority commands to check are:
- Brakes and clutch
- Management (check-in particular that there are no hard spots)
- The condition of the tires (excessively worn tires can put you in danger due to their lack of adhesion to the road surface)
Going on vacation or hiking often rhymes with luggage, which on a motorbike can be tricky. Indeed, loading things onto your motorcycle weighs it down by several tens of kilos, which have the effect of:
- Modification of the center of gravity
- Greater inertia of the machine
- Longer braking distance
- Less maneuverability of the motorcycle
Precautions to exercise when preparing your motorcycle before departure
Sort your things according to their weight, and make sure that this weight is well distributed on the motorcycle so as not to be unbalanced when driving. You should place the heaviest items as low as possible, and it is a good idea to reserve the spaces under the saddle and in the rear top case for the lightest things.
Adjust the motorcycle according to the load: The tires and the inclination of the lights should be tested after the bike is loaded; also, check that the luggage does not obstruct the rear lights (parking lights and brake lights), which could be dangerous, as well as the license plate.
Anticipate your braking and the drop in recovery: When the motorcycle is loaded, the braking distance is inevitably extended, which requires more anticipation. Also, pay attention to the lack of recovery of the machine when overtaking, and make sure you have an excellent place to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Take into account the lack of maneuverability: Keep in mind that the heavier your machine, the more maneuverability it loses. It is, therefore, necessary to anticipate more maneuvers such as overtaking, lane changes, etc.
Respect the total weight authorized by the manufacturer: To preserve your motorcycle, it is essential to respect the manufacturer’s recommendations. Otherwise, you risk deforming certain parts of the bike permanently, which would then require you to carry out certain repairs. This advice applies to motorcycles, but also luggage. Indeed, an overloaded top case can detach from the bike and fall on the road, which would put yourself and other road users in danger.
Be careful when stopping: The motorcycle’s weight is more significant; care must be taken when unfolding the stand. Indeed, if the ground is a little soft (on earth or tar under the effect of heat), your motorcycle may fall.
Precautions to be taken during the trip to stay alert
There are a plethora of precautions one must take before going on a motorcycle ride. If you want to dive deeper into everything roadsnug.com is a great resource to check out for all motorcycle riders.
However, the below mentioned precautions are a top-priority and one should definitely follow them.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into it:
While traveling, the first precaution you should take is related to managing fatigue. To avoid drowsiness, take at least 10-minute breaks every two hours, during which you can stretch your legs and take your mind off things. Do not abuse coffee and tobacco, either, providing a short energy boost but an equally significant drop afterward.
To avoid muscle fatigue when driving, try not to stay static for the duration of the trip. Indeed, moving on your motorbike (without becoming unbalanced) allows you to have less stiffness in your limbs and to resist fatigue and boredom in general better. Bikers are lucky to be able to move more than motorists, so it is possible not to maintain a static position during the journey and take the opportunity to stretch your legs and arms.
Drink enough water
Dehydration affects balance, reaction time and can lead to heatstroke and other serious injuries. Consumption of alcohol and coffee through the night and day can affect your hydration. Stop often, bring water, wear clothes that absorb moisture, and listen to your needs and body.
Keep your days below 485 km, avoid riding in the dark
People often asked how far a motorcyclist should travel in a day. The response differs considerably depending on the rider’s ability, expertise, and stamina, the road situations, whether they are adequately dressed, and, of course, their motorcycle. Machines with full fairings or windshields can cover more miles as the operator does not tire of fighting against the wind.
Then there is this intangible always present: desire. How many kilometers do you want to travel per day? There is no correct answer. The essence of motorcycling is to stray from the rules.
Know your limits, and don’t be a badass. If you’ve never taken a long drive before, don’t plan to cover at least 500 miles a day. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your trip without attempting dangerous days of extreme mileage. It is not a game, and it can cost you dearly.
Every driver discovers their level – 240 km per day or 645 km – after which driving becomes work. Like fuel, leave some energy in reserve when planning the day. Sometimes you may need to travel a few more miles to get to the next bed.
Avoid eating heavy
When making a long trip, it is recommended to eat light since heavy meals lead to more severe digestion, increasing fatigue.
Do not fight against the dream
It is important not to fight against the dream since you do not always beat it, and it can end in a fatal accident.
On the other hand, drivers often increase their speed to arrive earlier and do not realize that they increase the chances of an accident.
Eat something that will keep you active along the way, as long as it is not a distraction. Chewing gum or eating some candy are some of the options.
Take a 20-minute break for every hour and a half of driving; know your limits
Distance veterans suggest having a rhythm. For example, some stop to rest and cool off at each gas station, depending on the number of liters per day and the fuel capacity. Some studies have shown that you will get their speed (and safety) with regular break intervals. Eat light, stay hydrated, and this should go without saying, don’t drink alcohol. It is recommended that you take a break every 60 to 90 minutes. Take the time to make long journeys lasting several days. How you feel today will affect the way you ride tomorrow. A tired driver is not as alert and does not respond as quickly as a rested driver.
It is important to sleep the recommended number of hours; sleeping less can cause fatigue. If you are going to take a long trip, it is better to leave later and sleep a couple of hours more.
If you are going on a long trip and are traveling with a passenger or another pilot, this instrument will be of great help to you to talk at all times.
Intercoms give you the difference between traveling alone and traveling with someone and are an excellent tool to avoid fatigue, monotony, and boredom when you drive a motorcycle.
Riding a motorcycle is fun but precautions must always go hand-in-hand. We hope the above mentioned tips will help you everytime you plan to go on a long motorcycle ride.
To conclude, drink enough water, have enough sleep, drive safely and enjoy the journey.