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One great way to take advantage of your motorcycle as a form of long-distance transport is to go motorcycle camping. You get both the freedom and speed of riding your motorcycle on new routes along with the fun of camping in a new place every night. Turn your next long ride into a camping trip instead of staying in hotels and you won’t regret it, provided you do a little preparatory work to make sure all goes well.
Your local BMW and Ducati motorcycle dealership, BMW Motorcycles of Jacksonville, is in Orange Park, Florida. We’re well-versed in the art of motorcycle camping so we’ve created this guide to help you plan and execute your next adventure.
Every good journey starts with at least a little planning. You should determine your destinations and the order you intend to visit them, which will help you plan a route. You can either try to save on gas by picking the most direct route on a highway, or make your ride more enjoyable by going for the scenic routes and backroads. Look out for construction zones and high traffic areas you might wish to avoid. Figure out where campsites are so you’re not stuck riding around at night when you’re exhausted, and plan a rest day or two into your itinerary in case you need to stop riding early because of weather or fatigue.
You want your motorcycle to be in peak condition when you’re going on a long journey, so make sure that you give it a good lookover before you depart. Check your tire pressure and look for worn spots on your treads or objects embedded in them. Fill your gas tank, check and top up fluids and make sure your oil is clean. Test your lights and signals to see they’re all functional. If you haven’t ridden recently, do a short ride near your house and listen for any strange sounds. Should something feel or sound “off,” bring your motorcycle into the BMW Motorcycles of Jacksonville service department so our mechanics can have a look.
Motorcycle camping is a lot like backpacking in that you have very limited storage space. However, you’ll need to ensure you have space for clothing, food, shelter and emergency supplies at the bare minimum. Your options include side bags or panniers that can add bulk to your bike, a top-side cargo box or a cargo rack at the rear to which you can bungee-cord your belongings. Dry bags are a waterproof option which can be great if you’re riding through stormy weather. You’ll want to ensure that your electronics and other sensitive equipment are stowed away in a waterproof storage container as you ride.
You’ll want to pack your needs very strategically and keep the weight of your items in mind. Overloading your motorcycle can increase your risk that you’ll slide out or have an accident because of imbalanced cargo. Pack your tent and your sleeping bag as tightly as you can, either in side bags or your cargo box. Bring only a few changes of clothes that layer well, and consider investing in a riding suit if you don’t have one to keep yourself warm and dry as you travel and protect the clothes you’re wearing underneath it.
Spring for miniatures of toiletries and hygiene items. Don’t forget necessary medications, charging cords for your devices and maybe a solar battery to charge them if you’re camping somewhere without electricity. You should have some food and water with you, but you can always purchase more as you travel so don’t go overboard on this as it will weigh you down.
Campsites suited to motorcyclists abound all over the country, but you should double-check that the campsites you’re looking into are motorcycle-friendly. Consider your camping set-up and your needs so far as water and power go. Set up camp in a place that’s not too far out of the way of others, but not so close to the bustling center of camp that you can’t get any sleep. You’ll want to lock down your bike in some fashion so no one steals it, too, and perhaps even bring a cover to protect it from the elements.
If you’re in the market for a great new or used motorcycle, come down to our showroom to see the new and used models we carry, including the latest Ducati and BMW motorcycles. BMW Motorcycles of Jacksonville is in Orange Park, serving the cities of Gainesville and Tallahassee, Florida.
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