We love to ride our motorcycles. We often ride for many hours, sometimes even driving our motorcycles in the rain, only stopping for gas. We get into a groove following the rhythm of long sweeping turns, rolling into a series of tight twisting turns or simply cruising the long, lonesome highway.
When should you stop and take in a place? After riding all over the world for almost 200,000 miles, I’ve learned to recognize the important signs telling me it’s time to stop and get off my bike.
When should you rest on a motorcycle road trip?
1. You’ve passed too many scenic viewpoints
Too often we get in a groove and whip by those pullover points with stunning countryside vistas. If you’ve passed by five or more, it’s time to stop. There’s a good reason those stops are there. Take a break and take a look.
2. Your body is getting sore
One of the most important tips for how to stay comfortable on a long motorcycle ride is to take a break when you find yourself constantly shifting your seating position — or if your rear is starting to ache or fall asleep. Don’t try to ride it off. It never works. Stop and get off your bike. You and your butt will appreciate it, and you’ll likely see something new or meet someone interesting.
3. You’re feeling tired
Feeling sleepy is the most important sign that it’s time to get off your bike. If you’re getting tired, if fatigue is setting in, or if you’ve fallen into a hypnotic zone and lost your concentration, stop. Fatigue is a good sign that you need different stimuli. Hydrate, grab a coffee, or take a roadside nap. Don’t tempt fate, and don’t doze off.
4. You’ve driven 100 miles or more without stopping
Whenever you haven’t been off your bike for more than 100 miles, take a moment and get off. I have a friend who makes a game out of using his odometer to stop at exactly every 100 miles. His theory is that it forces him to get off his bike and look around at someplace he would normally zoom by. Periodic breaks make the ride more enjoyable.
5. You’re hungry or thirsty
If your stomach is growling, your blood sugar is dropping, or it’s a hot day and you’re getting parched, don’t try to keep going for another hour. Stop, get off your bike, and have a snack or drink water. I’ve fallen victim to the desire to keep riding instead of stopping and snacking. Now I always keep a small bag of trail mix with me, and I stop to eat a handful while taking in the sights and sounds around me.
6. The sun has set
Some people like to ride motorcycles at night, but I prefer riding in daylight. If you’re like me, the ultimate sign telling you to get off your bike is that it’s nighttime. Set up camp, get a motel room, or go back home. After a long day of riding, I like to get out of my motorcycle gear and enjoy a good meal with a cold beer. I’ll share stories, reflect on the day, and get a good night’s sleep so I’m alert and fresh for the next day.
Ride on and be on the lookout for signs indicating when it’s a good time to take a motorcycle break. Learn more about how to ride a motorcycle.