Extended Motorcycle Trip

_Ortiz Big Apple Motorcycle SchoolGetting ready for an extended motorcycle trip can be daunting. As a Ride Leader for the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride, I need to stay comfortable with minimum hassle for about three weeks as we travel from Brooklyn, NY to San Francisco, CA. Unlike Adeline and Augusta Van Buren, who traveled cross country on heavy, Indian Powerplus motorcycles in the summer of 1916 with a minimum of equipment, men’s aviator-style gear and heavy Indian Powerplus bikes (see www.sistersmotorcycleride.com). I have a modern motorcycle, access to the latest technology in clothing and accessories and will be staying in a hotel every night! So what’s the challenge? My goal is to make sure the participants have a great experience and that means knowing what to do, where to go and how to handle a variety of situations with ease. Luckily there will be some trail vehicles and other Ride Leaders to help, but I thought my personal prep list might be helpful to others who may be planning a cross-country adventure.

I divided my needs into a few different categories – bike accessories/maintenance; personal items including clothing and riding gear.

My Bike: My 2014 BMW F700GS has a factory low seat and frame, allowing me to put both feet on the ground and is very comfortable. I already have LED accessory lights (Darla by Clearwater) and a locking top case for storage (BMW). I added a sport/tourer VStream windscreen (National Cycle), foldable highway pegs mounted on the engine guard, a sidestand foot (SW-Motech), a ZUMO 595LM GPS backed up with a StemCAPtain Bicycle Compass Stem Cap and maps (because I don’t trust electronics), brake pedal enlarger (Wunderlich) and top case storage pocket (Wunderlich) for important papers/flashlight etc. I’m also packing a variety of tools, cleaners, lubricants, microfiber towel, duct and electrical tape, first aid kit, Epipen and a solar charger for my cellphone.

Personal Items/motorcycle clothing: All of these, including rain gear, will be stored in compression sacks (REI) in a 70 liter dry bag (Giant Loop). Whew! I’ve been trying out a variety of clothing to make sure they are comfortable, wicking and can be washed and dried overnight. Taking three of each item guarantees that I’ll always have a clean item available. High-tech garments made especially for motorcyclists (no seams, lightweight and NOT see-through – IXS were my choice for the long sleeve/long pant liners) are great for under the textile gear I’ll be wearing (Olympia Airglide 5 jacket and Airglide 4 pants). I’ve been wearing Olympia gear since 2009 and have found them to be durable and a good value.  The different liners will be helpful because even though its summer, we’ll be riding to the top of Pike’s Peak, as the sisters did, and it could be cold at higher altitudes.

Being hydrated is an issue and I’ll be making sure we make plenty of stops and will probably leave early in the morning most days. Plans are for about 300 miles per day in order to enjoy the journey.

The Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride July 3-23, 2016, will honor and celebrate our female motorcycling heroines of the past, as we promote the growth of women motorcyclists and the motorcycling community. This event is not just about motorcycling; it’s a celebration of brave and adventurous women, service to community and country and the history of two-wheeled travel. Follow me and my epic ride on FB, the official website and my school’s site at www.bigapplemoto.com.

Ride Safe!