Top Ten Touring Tips for 2017

by Fred Rau
January 24, 2017 4 Comments
Tips Trips
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Tour guide and former motorcycle magazine editor Fred Rau has traveled a lot of miles on two wheels. Here are his top tips for success on the open road.
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What is your best advice to people heading out on a tour?

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BobKruppa's picture

BobKruppa

Avoid Interstates Whenever Possible

This subject always comes up in club rides. A lot of riders absolutely won't ride on Interstate roads. However, I would disagree. Yes there are conditions that may not be ideal on the Interstate but when considering all that can occur on a country road to me Interstate riding is a safer ride. Country roads have no fences that protect against animals coming out from the woods and they do. Also you are traveling in one direction with the opposing traffic about 2 feet from you going the other direction at 55 mph. Someone on a cellphone or going for the cup of coffee can easily swerve over into your lane and you are history. Much less road kill on Interstates and the roads typically are much better maintained. We recently lost a rider who hit a huge pot hole on a country road and crashed. During heavy rains you will come across more large puddles on country roads than on Interstates. Once while riding on a country road there was a small calf coming out of the grass onto the road. Not good!!! Riding country roads can also be hypnotic as the sunlight flickering through the trees can get you into a trance after time. So while riding on country roads may seem safe to me there are a lot of more issues there that can get you in trouble.

115931616182055537746@RobertPArsons's picture

RobertPArsons

Long trips

I've been riding for 56 years ... Yes I'm old but still riding ... No. 10 is the best --- good attitude is everything. Bad attitude spoils everything ... One more piece of advice ... DON'T GET ANGRY when someone doesn't see you and does something stupid. Instead be ready for him. 1) Your at a disadvantage and 2) being ready helps you not get angry. BTW riding stupid isn't cool, it's stupid and those who do look stupid.

fb@RobertLewis's picture

RobertLewis

ROAD TRIPS

I have been riding for 65 years. I have fallen many time on dirt bikes but never on a road bike. In over 100,000 miles I have kept this in mind (EVERYONE ON THE ROAD IS TRYING TO KILL ME). That has saved me many times.

110761318315013348054@YogiKai's picture

YogiKai

Living on a Goldwing

I've been a "lone wolf" biker for over 30 years; only occasionally owning a 4-wheeled vehicle. As the lead says, I live from the saddle of an '85 Aspencade, that was given to me as a tip for a balloon I twisted for a child. I haul a 500# camper/trailer and travel pretty constantly around the US. I expect I have well over 500k long-distance miles. I've only once rode in a group and obviously didn't enjoy it. Don't overpack. Good advice. Also, download a radar app onto your phone so you can see the weather coming. It has kept me out of major storms before. I've never had the resources that allowed me to just get a hotel room or a campground whenever I've felt like it, so I've had to be creative when it comes to stopping for the night. Don't push yourself, when you are tired, when you are on a ride. The ride isn't worth someone having to wipe your butt for the rest of your life! Carry a picnic blanket so you can get rest when it's needed. I recommend watching YouTube videos of motorcycle crashes before your ride. I know, it sounds morbid. However, it keeps the dangers of riding, close to the forefront of your awareness so the comfort of a big tour bike doesn't give a false sense of security. Tour bikes are big...but that just means they hit harder. Interstate vs back roads: I think everyone who is touring needs to take the interstates at least once. After all, the scenery from the interstate is scenery too. I've been been on almost every inch of interstate in the continental US and can tell you with some authority, there's some wonderful adventures to be had on the big slab. Speaking of videos, check out YouTube for "advanced motorcycle tips." You may have lots of miles under your belt, been how often have you had to lock your brakes in a curve? Or hop a truck tire? Or any one of a thousand other hazards? Review defensive riding often! It can save your life! Or even more importantly, it can keep your brain and body intact. May you enjoy a long and happy life.

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Fred Rau

Fred is a former editor at Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN), Road Rider magazine and Wing World Magazine. He’s living the dream now, guiding motorcycle tours from his own touring company and sharing bits and pieces he’s learned along the way with our riders.

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