Women Riders

Road Trip - Planning, Preparing & Not Panicking

Written by  January 1, 2013

I was reading a pretty good article about the ten things you should take on a road trip and, while it was great advice, I think they left out a couple of things. As women, our needs might not be the same as men’s, of course. So, I will take their suggestions and add or change a few as we go.

GPS. These seem to be pretty standard now with bikers. Helps the guys avoid asking for directions, making them look like they know where they’re going. The original article states that “getting lost can kill a trip,” but that can also be part of the fun in it. Besides, every GPS can “recalculate” should you wander off the beaten path.

Survival kits. Flashlight, thermal blanket, waterproof matches and water purification tablets are some of the things found in these kits. How much you will really need depends on either where you are going or how paranoid you are or both.

First aid kit. No argument here. Every bike, every car, every everything should have a first aid kit. It should include scissors, wrap bandages and tape, Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes, antibiotic ointment and Popsicle sticks for splinting. Pain relievers such as Tylenol should be in the kit as well.

(And 5, really. Not sure why they made these two separate entries, but I’ll condense.) A tool kit and some spare parts. Hopefully, you had the bike serviced before you headed out. Equally hopefully, you know your way around screwdrivers and wrenches. Unlike auto repair shops, there isn’t a motorcycle repair shop on every corner. Spare bolts, levers, screws, some oil and maybe even an oil filter and the tools to work on these all come under the “better to have and never need than to need and not have” banner. Duct tape and zip ties are great to have on hand as well.

Food and water. Not complete meals, mind you. Nutrigrain bars, et al, are great for in-between meal stops and take up next to no space. I also highly recommend something chocolate if it won’t be too hot during the trip. But if you want to save money and time, a couple of sandwiches or a fruit salad to chow down on at a roadside table is a great way to do it. It also gives you a chance to stretch the legs and get your eyes to look at something besides a long white or yellow line.

Rain suit. Besides keeping out the wet, I’ve found they can also keep out the cold.

A decent camera. Smart phones have pretty good built-in cameras so depending on how serious a photographer you are, that may be all you will need. But don’t forget the charger for either one!

It is at this point that the blogger and I part ways. Some things they just either didn’t think of or didn’t feel were necessary. Two things I always have with me if I will be gone a while are no-water hand sanitizer and tissues or napkins. Along with some of the aforementioned items, the saddlebags also contain: sunscreen, a small spray bottle of windshield/eyeglass cleaner, extra leather gloves and extra sunglasses.

Most of these things are common sense or everyday items. It doesn’t hurt, though, to be reminded of some items that perhaps we hadn’t used for a while, if at all, and of others we never would have thought to pack. In group riding, the item list can be shared so that not just one bike has to become the pack mule. Write out a checklist and keep it handy. Share the list with anyone you might be taking the road trip with so you all are prepared. Plan a basic route and let your loved ones know about it, then promise to check in on a prearranged schedule.

All this preparation and preplanning might seem like a lot of work or just a pain in the butt, but there is probably nothing worse than being in the middle of nowhere when your memory kicks in to remind you of what you forgot!