Hitting the open road on a cross-country motorcycle trip is the fantasy of many Harley owners. The adventure, picturesque settings, and freedom have an idyllic quality that’s unmatched by any other ride you’ve ever had. Before you head out on your journey, use these suggestions and tips to ensure a smooth ride that goes off without a hitch.

Get Your Bike Ready

Image via Flickr by Dave_S.

Like a car road trip, a motorcycle journey begins by checking and fine-tuning all the components of your bike. Start by inspecting the lights, lubrication, chain, spark plugs, air filters, and fluid level in all battery cells. You should consider putting a bit more tire pressure in than usual to counteract the loss of air you’ll have for prolonged rides. A general rule of thumb is 30 psi (pounds per square inch), although you may also want to follow the manufacturer’s specifications.

Fine-tuning your ride is also a boon for the cross-country journey, as it can make the ride smoother and more comfortable. Installing an oil cooling system helps regulate the oil temperature, but isn’t included on all Harleys. This system helps keep the oil at the proper temperature to lubricate the engine, limiting the chances that you’ll need repairs during the journey. You may want to tighten the suspension as well to endure longer rides without hassle.

Figure Out Your Budget and Costs

One thing that can quickly derail a cross-country Harley trip is stressing out about cost. Some travelers may feel that putting the trip on credit cards is worth the price, but a fiscally responsible person may not want the hassle or stress of paying them off later. Building a budget can help determine how far you can go and how long you can take time away from your job.

According to a Forbes report, the average cost of a cross-country motorcycle trip works out to $1.17 per mile including food, fuel, gear, accessories, lodging, and motorcycle rental. If you’re a Harley owner, you can cut out the rental price (an average of $107 per day) to find a price of about $0.80 per mile. This is by no means set in stone, so you may want to create a spreadsheet and tweak it to your liking and tastes.

Where to Visit

A country as massive as the United States lends itself to endless possibilities for a motorcycle road trip. All you need to do is figure out what types of attractions appeal to you. Although the Pacific Coast Highway only covers 655 miles in California, it covers so many landscapes that you’ll feel like you’ve covered several states. Route 66 is another popular route to travel on bike and such a fun trip in terms of culture and scenery that even Paul McCartney did it, albeit in a Ford Bronco.

Whether you’re taking historic Route 66, A1A, or another one of the scenic byways across the country, the great American Harley road trip is something you’ll remember for a lifetime. Make sure to prep accordingly and enjoy the moment. Even if it lasts for months, the moment is still fleeting.

Smooth Riding Cross Country on Your Harley

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