Post-Pandemic Motorcycle Road Trip Planning
Motorcycle road trip planning is so alluring because getting on your bike and riding for days is one of the best stress-busters there is. For many Harley owners, it embodies the attitude and freedom that made them want a bike in the first place. When you're on a motorcycle road trip, you really are living the dream.
A lot has changed this year, but the good news is, your motorcycle road trip can still be everything you hoped it would be. You may have to make some adjustments along the way, but the whole point of taking your bike is to experience self-reliance, resilience and freedom.
Some of the world's most magnificent scenery is still open to the public. A helmet is still the coolest looking face masks. And germs can't go nearly as fast as your bike. So let's get to motorcycle road trip planning 2020.
Later in this article we're going to talk about planning tips that apply to any motorcycle road trip, but first let's get the COVID-19 related topics out of the way. Normally this time of year school is back in session, the roads are clear and campgrounds are entering their off season. Traditionally, the lull between summer and holiday traffic has been one of the best times to put some miles on your bike.
Things are a little different now because of coronavirus. People still want to travel, but they're understandably nervous about doing so by air, and nobody is booking a cruise. Few are traveling abroad. That leaves touring the continental U.S. on wheels. Now road tripping is the new normal.
There's psychology involved. We went through something difficult and deprived ourselves of experiences and interactions we would have normally had. Some of us got sick, some lost loved ones. We want travel to escape stress and reward ourselves for making it through. Because traveling inside American borders is the safest option, it seems like the obvious choice, but that creates challenges for motorcycle road trip planning 2020.
For one thing, campgrounds are still full. RV sales went through the roof starting in March, and they're still at record high levels. People want to travel without risking infection, so large numbers of them are doing so with a tent or a camper. If you plan to camp on your road trip, make sure there's availability in the places you plan to stay.
The same applies to VRBO or other vacation rental properties. Fewer hosts are offering their homes over infection concerns, and travelers prefer to stay in the ones that are still available over hotels, reasoning it lowers their risk. More travelers staying at vacation rentals and fewer available units could equal trouble booking somewhere to stay at your destinations. Plan way, way ahead and reserve your spot.
Repair and Maintenance on the Road
Make sure your bike is in top shape before you hit the road because you might run into trouble making repairs along the way. Many service departments and repair shops have cut back on the number of hours they're open during a day. Those that have may be backlogged, so it could take them a while to get to your bike if you need repairs.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 had an economic impact on businesses across the nation. Some repair shops are running with fewer employees either due to budget cuts or illness, some have closed altogether.
Avoid problems by taking care of any needed repairs or maintenance before you hit the road. And even if your bike is brand new and under warranty, pack tools. If you're not positive your bike is ready for the long haul, get in touch with us by filling out our service request here.
Your Favorite Watering Holes
Restaurants were especially hard hit, forcing doors to close. Don't assume just because you can find them online that they're still open. Before you spend all day on your bike anticipating their world-famous grub, call ahead to make sure they're still open, their menu is what it used to be and the hours posted online are correct.
Every state has had a different closing/reopening plan and different coronavirus regulations. At the time this article is being written, most bars are still closed and restaurants are still operating at reduced capacity. Masks are required by most states. And, as we've seen in Texas, every community does things just a little bit differently. Keep your mask in one pocket and your hand sanitizer in another and stay flexible my friends.
On Staying Healthy
Practice the same good hygiene on the road you would at home. Every time you touch surfaces other people might have touched, thoroughly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face (wearing a helmet helps with this). When you stop and interact with people, keep space between yourself and them.
Watch where you set your gear. For example, if you go in a gas station bathroom and set your helmet down on the vanity while you wash up, you might have just picked up a petri dish full of germs. If you toss your riding jacket and gloves on a park bench, that environment probably isn't sterile. It's better to keep all your gear with your bike whenever possible so there's no cross-contamination.
Consider making fewer stops. When you stop to buy gas and get drinks, stock up so you won't have to stop again later in the day. When you buy breakfast, pick up something for lunch at the same time and eat it at a scenic pullout to cut down on the number of times you have to interact with strangers.
Other Motorcycle Road Trip Planning Tips 2020
The main Harley-Davidson® website has a good article on what to bring and how to pack it all, so we won't go into all that here. Scroll down to the bottom of the article for an easy-to-use packing checklist that links to buying options if you need them.
The most important tip we can give you is to have a backup plan for each stage of your journey. It's always a good idea because when you're going a long way on your bike there's always a chance you'll run into unexpected road conditions or weather that's too severe to ride safely. This fall you could also run into changing regulations or unexpected quarantine requirements. States that are open when you leave Texas could close before you head home. Cities that were once on your bucket list could end up being protester hot spots that will interfere with your road trip zen.
It's great to cut yourself off from the constant stream of information and media, but you'll probably need to check-in at least once a day to see what might have changed in case you need to adjust your plans. Sometimes unexpected changes lead to the best adventure and the unplanned roads are the best part of the ride.
If you've been dreaming of a motorcycle road trip, but you don't have a bike, why not see what we have available? We have a huge selection and some of the lowest prices in the state. Click here to browse our inventory.