Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Need input from long distance motorcycle riders.

Discussion in 'Free Fire Zone' started by A-58, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,525
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    I have been invited by several friends to make the long ride from here in Baton Rouge to Sturgis, SD for the annual motorcycle rally this August. It started out with three guys riding up there, and now it's up to about 15 riders. I haven't rode a scooter since 1988, so I can imagine that the ride will be take some "getting used to" to say the least. I'll rent a bike (at a special rate of $35 a day) from the local Harley shop since I don't own one. So, have any of you Rogues out there made any long distance rides, and have any advice and input about the trip? Any and all assistance will be most appreciated.
     
  2. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    Hiltz Does things like that im pretty sure??
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,386
    Likes Received:
    885
    Location:
    Jefferson, OH
    Renting or borrowing a motorcycle and reacquainting yourself is a great idea. Once you feel comfortable with it, pack it with stuff you will be taking. This will let you know ahead of time what you can take and how the bike handles with the total weight. Don't want any surprises on the day of your trip.

    As for packing, ziplock bags are your friends. Also pack raingear. When packing the bike, ensure you pack with even weight distribution. Also prepare a card with emergency contact numbers, list of allergies just in case.


    [​IMG]
    My previous bike all packed up:

    [​IMG]
    My current Sport Tourer. Everything fit (minus the sleeping bag) in the bags and trunk.

    Discussing before hand rules of the road is recommended. Hand signals when you need to rest, gas up, etc. Depending on the bike will determine how many stops you will make. Cruisers are not the most comfortable bikes on long trips. I had to stop every 90 minutes on my previous bike. But on my current bike, a sport tourer, I did not have to stop for rest prior to having to gas up ( 2+ hrs). I will be going down to Texas (1500 miles) in Sept. Longest trip so far has been 500 miles. All I can think of at the moment. Good luck and ride safe

    Note:
    Also, if you will be renting a Harley, don't rent the Sportster. It has a very small gas tank which means more gas stops compared to the other riders.
     
    Lady Prime likes this.
  4. Hilts

    Hilts Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    77
    Baton Rouge to Up North??

    Thermals Bob, lotsa thermals.............................
     
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Hi there guy, I think that since I have made a number of over a thousand mile stints on my ‘cycles over the years I can help a little. One of the first things I’ll say is that when I did it the machines were far from as comfortable as they are today. The saddles weren’t as "butt friendly", and the suspensions and general ride quality was far inferior. These days there are cruise controls and everything, in the "old days" we had a simple throttle lock set-up that allowed a guy to set his speed and rest his right hand on occasion.

    You did get one major piece of good information, fill out and carry a full card of contact numbers, etc., "just in case". When my youngest son and I took our trip to Glacier park, and up into Canada back in the early nineties, there were no "Bluetooth" set-ups or even cell phones of any real value. So what we did was install two way FM walkie-talkies (Radio Shack) up with boom mikes and earphones in our helmets. That way we could reach down and hit the "push to talk" button on the radio itself (mounted on our belts), and just have a conversation as to passing, parking, filling with fuel, stopping for a bite to eat and stuff.

    No matter how comfy the new rides are, I believe you will still find that you will tend to over-estimate the distance you can go before you really need to get off and stretch your legs. Since that is about a 1500 mile (approx.) distance, spit it into short hops instead of long rides. When I rode down to San Antonio in the early eighties on my Super Glide, I figured I could ride steady until I had to switch to the emergency fuel setting, pull in and gas up, and continue on for another full tank’s distance. Turned out that was a real mistake. Also a good leather jacket is a must, chaps are optional and I never saw the need for them, so I never used them. Good quality, but loose fitting blue jeans are just fine, sitting in tight pants for hours is misery. Another thing that is a must are good leather gloves, I found a nice set of riding gloves in antelope skin which are soft as butter, but keep your digits from stinging when hit by bugs and such. They are unlined, and not meant for warmth, just wind protection and the aforementioned debris.

    If the bike you rent doesn’t have "riding pegs" on the roll cage, or mounted on the frame they can be purchased and removed when you return the scoot. While you might think that extra set of pegs is pretentious, you will find that being able to stretch out one or both legs to a different position is a distance extender. On my FXE the "bitch bar" was sort of short, and just for looks really, but by securing an aluminum framed backpack to it, facing toward myself, I got a little bit of a "lean back" support which also eased the pressure on one’s back. That information about filling everything up with what you plan to take is a wonderful bit of advice as well, the handling is far different under full tour weight than it is in just "around town" configuration. When I was riding there were no such things as MP3 players, so what I had was a cassette tape deck and earphones when I was riding single, it is amazing how boring a long empty road can get. But since you will be riding in a "group" that boredom will probably not be a bother.

    Plan on worst weather possible, in the fall it will be mostly rain if it happens, so take along a decent plastic poncho. Nothing is more miserable than riding soaking wet. When I went down to Texas that time, I figured on staying until early spring but I had to get back to Montana and didn’t want to leave my HD down there so I bought a snowmobile suit and rode home in November. Snow on a bike is a bugger. One more thing, plan on having to purchase at least one tire on your ride. I know that sounds bizarre, but crap happens and those "skins" can be expensive as all get out if you don’t plan on buying one. If you don’t need one, all the better and you will get home with some extra cash in your pocket. Another thing, don’t be surprised if a credit card is refused at one place or another, people can be a bit skeptical of bikers cards. Just a fact, not a judgment.

    I’ve ridden over to Sturgis a couple of times, but from Billings it is only about a seven hour ride. So if a guy leaves early in the morning he can make it in a day easy, but I have friends in Gillette Wyoming, so I would always stop there for a warm bed and a hot meal. That made the trip two short hops instead of one long ride.

    The stuff you are getting from the "new riders" of the newer bikes is probably more pertinent than mine, but thought I would add mine anyway. Good luck on your adventure, and as "Hilts" mentioned, a set of long johns might not be a bad plan either. Dakota weather can be as fickle as Montana, and a LOT more wind sometimes.
     
    A-58 and Lady Prime like this.
  6. chibobber

    chibobber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    87
    A-58,Be cautious riding in a group.I do not ride in groups anymore. Formation flying is an art and there aint to many Picasso's out there.If you do go,stay far back.. this allows plenty of time to react.Tell your pals you know where your going and you will catch up to them if you fall behind.Expect stops to be about 45 to 60 min with a group of 15,longer if you are with women.Water and plenty of it,stay hydrated,no beer! Always look ahead of turns to where you are going,your eyes will lead you there.Ride the bike,do not steer.Keep the wheels moving,if you lock the brakes you will go down,think of a big gyro scope,moving it stays up,stopped it falls down.slip the clutch to drain of power.Do not be afraid to lean the bike you will hit metal before the tires run out of grip(you can always tell the hot police riders by how far the floor boards a worn down.)
    Touring is supposed to be fun not terror,If the group is pushing to hard and you are uncomfortable,Stop.They will get over it.
    Lots and lots of sunblock and good riding glasses.
    Motor easy, Bob
     
  7. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    289
    I made some long rides from here to Normandy (ca. 1200km), Island(ca.1600km or one Moto Cross tyre) and Corsica(ca. 800km). All of them were great and the most important things i took with me was enough to drink, a good camera and actual maps. And after every days ride i took a good warm bath, your a$$ will thank it to you.;) Hope that will be a good ride for you, Bobby!
     
  8. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,525
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Thanks for the input guys. I've read them all and have them "on file" for future reference prior to take off. Also I have been studying blogs of other long distance riders, but it seems that everyone has their idea how to do the same thing. All good information though. Like I said, it's been since 1988 that I've rode a bike, and my total motorcycle riding experience was being assigned to the motorcycle task force with the State Police. We were issued KZ100s then. Different kind of riding yes I know, but it's all I know. We always rode two abreast at all times, not staggered out like the weekend warriors on their brand new shiney Harley's I see when the weather is good.

    I plan on renting a touring size Harley. Hopefully it will come with saddle bags. I also planned on buying a nice brown aviators leather jacket instead of a Harley jacket. Too many wannabees and poseurs looking like the leather man from the Village People out there. That's another thing that I've noticed, do you have to wear a Harley t-shirt to ride a Harley? Will the bike not crank up unless the rider is decked out in Harley regalia head to toe? It's a bit much the way some guys go overboard with the biker thing.

    My two cousins from New Orleans will be tagging along. They are serious Yamadog riders, and have all the assessories for long rides even though they've never had to use them before. They even have motorcycle sized GPSs as well. Both are mostly day riders, they meet up with their mob, head out for 4-5 hours, stop and eat lunch, then turn around and head for home. This will be their first long distance ride as well, and they are psyched up too. Most of our Sturgis group are retired or soon to be retired police motormen types (like me), so I think that we will be ok as far as security is concerned. So far they say we will stay in motels along the way, but I think that it would be a good idea to have some camping gear just in case.

    If anyone has any more words of wisdom or experience, please pass them along. I'm taking notes!
     
    USMCPrice and brndirt1 like this.
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    well thats my harley t shirt and jacket binned...what are you the fashion police..mind you did look silly on a yamaha fs1e 50cc..
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    There ya go, buy a leather that you can use later as well as on this trip. A great bomber style will never go out of fashion and you will never look like a 'wanna-be" or one of the "poseurs". I have an old "bomber style" jacket from about 1975, it has a fleece lining and a lamb's wool collar, it is great to minus 40 F. as a full hide jacket. I also have a "light" bomber style in lamb skin that is just fine from plus forty and up. It was cheap, it is unlined, but it is well made and still functions as designed.

    Leathers are themselves personal. Some people like to "show", most should just go with the functional and pragmatic. No matter how good "synthetics" like nylon or other jackets seem, on the road leather will be the winner in the long haul. You lay your unit down (God forbid), at speed and the synthetics might actually be a problem. Leather will keep your skin safe. I laid a scoot down at about 140 (don't ask), and I had no "ROAD RASH" nor burns from the "event". The old bomber jacket was toast, but I wasn't.

    The Highway Patrol, and the EMT's ended up cutting my jacket off of me before I ended up in a three day coma, and while I had a number of broken bones and such, I had no "road rash". The old jacket had taken that abuse, and saved me from that particular problem. Good leather is worth the price, just don't go for "look", go for function.
     
    A-58 likes this.
  11. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    6,699
    Likes Received:
    1,071
    I'm not sure about the "Road Rules" but I'd strongly suggest buying a good helmet and wearing it! Most states require them but I've seen riders in nearly every state West of the Mississippi River riding bare-headed. Actually, with your background you've surely thought of that already.
    I had a cousin who rode a BMW cross country from Illinois to California at least a half dozen times. His wife in a sidecar and he never had any problems that I know of. Another friend who I worked with rode his Harley to Sturgis but he always had his wife follow in their pickup truck. Something about making sure he had enough tools and such to do repairs "on the road". I think he just wanted to ride alone!
    Take your time and enjoy the journey.
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,525
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    In addition to the brown leather aviators jacket I am planning on getting, I was looking at some pants from the Duluth Trading magazine. They are called "fire hose 5 pocket jeans". The material of the pants are made with 13 oz cotton canvas, similar to fire hoses used by the departments. That's what they say anyway. There's a testimonial by a user who said he was wearing them when he laid his scooter down, saving him like Clint's bomber jacket. Who knows. Couldn't hurt. From what I've read about them, they are heavy-duty jeans. Probably won't need to wear anything except a good pair of long johns with those.

    I guess rubber soled boots wouldn't be any good, eh? I have a pair of tactical boots I wore in New Orleans walking a beat on Bourbon Street that are extremely comfortable.
     
  13. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,525
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    [QUOTE...what are you the fashion police..mind you did look silly on a yamaha fs1e 50cc..[/QUOTE]

    No, I'm not the fashion police, but I certainly don't want to look like the leatherman from the Village People when I ride, and I won't be on a yamadog....
     
  14. Hilts

    Hilts Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    77
    I can sort you out with the Harley tee, leave it to me mate!! :cool:

    Go for at least a Road King or Heritage Softail/Fatboy.

    I'd say stay clear of the Electra Glides, those suckers are seriously heavy!!

    And, yeah, a Harley tee does make the bike run better!!! :p

    Oh! And watch yer back amongst those yankees................!! ;)
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    Blimey...you lot could make up the ww2 forums chapter of hells angels..ottos angels..but go slow..my moped might have trouble..and bobby...fashion police or not mate...wear a helmet...
     
  16. Hilts

    Hilts Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    77
    Oh and Bob, I checked with H-D Millwaukee, you can get, on special order, a set of Chrome stabilisers for new riders.........:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  17. Gebirgsjaeger

    Gebirgsjaeger Ace

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Messages:
    4,333
    Likes Received:
    289
    No, I'm not the fashion police, but I certainly don't want to look like the leatherman from the Village People when I ride, and I won't be on a yamadog....[/QUOTE]

    ...oooooh, you won´t looking like a sweety? Tstststs:rolleyes::D
     
  18. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    7,401
    Likes Received:
    715
    Don't forget to register for the hot dog eating contest. You'll need an "ol'lady" on the back of your bike. She can't use her hands and you must drive slow enough so she can chomp on a wiener suspended on a string. Funny to watch.
     
  19. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,525
    Likes Received:
    1,410
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    I've never given any serious thought of what goes on once we get there. So far, it's been planning the trip that has occupied my thoughts. I wanted to go see Mt. Rushmore and The Little Bighorn, so other than that there has been nothing planned. As far as the festivities in Sturgis, I don't think that anything can come close to what goes on in New Orleans on a regular Saturday night, much less Mardi Gras.

    So what do these chrome stabilizers supposed to do Hilts?
     
  20. luketdrifter

    luketdrifter Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Messages:
    2,349
    Likes Received:
    304
    Hope you have a great trip, bro...but I gotta say I got a good chuckle out of your "wanna-be" comment...coming from a guy renting a Harley to ride to Sturgis...I have a lot of real biker buddies (I'm NOT one of them...me plus motorcycle would equal death) and that made me laugh out loud a little bit.
     

Share This Page