Travel or Tour?

Have scooter, will travel

Since the 1st of July I have essentially been busy camping out on the motorbike. Two weekend camping trips and the rest of the time has been spent camping at a house I’m helping to remodel with no A/C and lots of outside work in 90+ summer sun. I am officially one whipped puppy. When you are on the road you upset your circadian/sleep cycle, eat differently at different times, don’t sleep in your own bed, etc. which can take it’s toll. Someone I know has a sig line that reads:

Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a rest

So I’m taking a rest today and will lay down some thoughts on a subject which has been a popular discussion during the last few weeks. Among bikers it is usually stated as “How many miles do you ride each day?” but that isn’t a fair question because it doesn’t broach the subject of “How do you like to ride?”.

A trip to New Orleans from my house is about 550 miles which can easily be done in one day of traveling or trying to cover ‘X” distance. It would make a long day of riding (10-11 hours) and you sure wouldn’t stop and see much, and you’d be tired that evening and maybe next morning. Course I’m a hell of a lot older today than I as way back then 🙂

If I were to tour to NOLA I would take two days, wander all sorts of small roads and communities, see all kinds of cool stuff, meet some people and have bags of fun. 250 miles a day is fun and relaxing and casual and I would not be tired on arrival.

There are places (or destinations) where you just need to burn miles like thru the great plains, Texas, the desert southwest or Big Sky country. Maybe they can be done at higher than normal speeds as that makes a big difference. I remember the days before the Double-Nickel fondly.

No matter what that day’s ride is going to be, I start early, stop at least every 100 miles or each hour for a break. I have a drink on the handle bar and some type of trail mix/nut/fruit stuff to munch while riding, and fruit or cheese in the cooler. You can spend a lot of quality time in the saddle and cover lots of miles but most folk who try to do long term consistent high mile days find that on day two or three their mileage has dropped almost 50%, and each succeeding day loses you an additional 10%.

So riding a bike like we’re talking is a skill that you can practice to suit your style and pace and “what” that days ride is really about. Be aware of your sleep and rest, eat well, stay hydrated, and take your breaks.

A tired and cranky rider is NOT a safe rider, so enjoy each ride safely, as part of each ride is the next ride.

Keep the shiny side up.


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