A motorcycle road trip seems to always include stops for barbecue. And not just one or two. Most bikers I’ve met approach the consumption of barbecue as reverently as I do. It is a never-ending search for the holy grail of BBQ. Absolute perfection. The best of the best. Though, admittedly, my secret hope is that the search will never be fulfilled. To crown a single barbecue restaurant as “Number One” would mean my search had ended. And that would take away the enjoyment of the hunt.
If you are a new motorcycle owner, there’s some must-have gear that is part of the experience. Hopefully, this will give you some basic information to get started. Of course, the best source is your local shop. They are always willing to help new owners get set up with all the right essentials. Contrary to the stigma sometimes associated with bikers, most of the men and women who ride are some of the friendliest and most helpful folks you’ll meet.
Suggested Motorcycle Gear
- Tent—If you will be camping along the way, then a small 2 or 3-man tent is at the top of the list. They are compact, light weight and easy to strap on.
- Sleeping Bag—Get the smallest size that will still work for you.
- Self-Inflating Mat—Easy to set up and makes for a comfortable night’s sleep.
- Poncho—A waterproof poncho comes in handy when it’s raining and you can’t find a place to stop. It can also be used underneath your sleeping bag to keep out dampness from the ground. Another option is a one-piece rainsuit.
- Clothing—Think of your motorcycle apparel as your ‘second skin.’ It’s what comes between you and the elements… or the pavement. Though lots of riders opt for just a t-shirt and jeans, there are many more who wear a leather jacket, leather vest and either leather pants or chaps. Of course, the weather will influence your decision as well as personal comfort.
- Gloves—Full leather gloves are the best choice though you can also opt for fingerless gloves.
- Helmet— Wearing a full-face helmet will keep bugs out of your face, reduce wind chaffing, protect from rain, and help with sun rays. Most people consider a helmet to be a necessary part of motorcycle safety. But, not all states require them. You’ll want to check the state laws before traveling.
- Glasses—If you do not wear a helmet, then glasses or goggles are a must. Don’t leave home without them!
- Boots—Rubber-soled leather boots are usually recommended.
- Face Cover—A bandana is great for keeping the bugs out of your mouth and nose. The cloth bandanas are fine for hot weather. For cooler weather and rain, leather is the better choice… and the fleece lined are great for winter. Another option is a Balaclava which slides over your head with only slits for your eyes; perfect for extremely cold weather.
- Saddlebags, T-Bags, Luggage— There are hundreds of items to choose from when it comes to bag and luggage selection. It really comes down to personal preference and bike design. If you don’t want to invest in bags, then you will need a cargo net with bungee cords to secure everything.
- First-Aid Kit—How elaborate of a kit depends on you. Will others be on the trip? How long? Will you be traveling along secluded roads? At minimum, keep the basic ointments and bandages. Some kits also have lightsticks, clotting sponges, etc.
- Tool Kit—Having a tool kit is highly recommended. Even if you are not a mechanic, having the proper tools at least gives you the option of doing minor repairs. There’s nothing worse than being stranded… except having to leave your motorcycle on the side of the road. The best choice will be a roll up kit that has the correct sizes and tools for your motorcycle. And, make sure it contains a small flashlight!
- Food Rations—Tuck in some energy bars and water in case you find yourself miles away from the nearest barbecue joint.
- Ear Plugs—Protects from wind and noise. These are especially important if you don’t wear a helmet.
- Reflective Vest—Optional. Some riders like to wear these for extra safety.
The goal on your motorcycle road trip is to take whatever gear you need—and no more. When packing, be sure to put the heavy items low on the bike and keep the weight evenly distributed on both sides.
If you are looking for an excuse for a motorcycle road trip, you will want to head to Daytona Beach, Florida for Bike Week in the early spring. During late summer, the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held in Sturgis, South Dakota. This rally has been held every year since 1938 and will be an experience of a lifetime. In the fall, check out the Bikes, Blues & BBQ event in the Ozarks.
Hope this list helps you prepare for your upcoming motorcycle road trip. Happy riding as you cruise for the best barbecue!