Riding across the country …
Riding across the country isn’t all Easy Rider or pick your favorite biker tale. There are so many factors that contribute to a life on two wheels. Especially cross country travel. The bike, exposure to the elements, limited storage, and the open road all contributing.
Consider the bike, Bikes come in all sizes and varieties. But for touring a bike only needs to have three qualities. It should be reliable, fit you well, and be able to store the items required for the trip.
Reliability is the foremost consideration. There’s few things worse than being broken down on the side of the road. Bikes rarely break down in a convenient place. If it’s going to happen it’ll be on a backroad that’s rarely traveled except by other people seeking the out of the way. Won’t have much if any of a shoulder. Cell coverage will be virtually non-existent. Leaving you at the mercy of the few vehicles that pass by.
Bike fit is given little consideration most of the time. But a cross country tour will mean many hours in the same position. Soon joints begin to stiffen and ache from lack of moving. A saddle that is too stiff or too soft causes butt and leg aches. Handlebar reach and width can leave arms and shoulders sore. Anything that’s uncomfortable will contribute to fatigue and increase the odds of a mental error by the rider.
Bikes hold very little in inside their storage compartments. What little there is needs to hold tools and pieces parts for that eventual break down in a remote location. A variety of riding gear to cover the probable weather conditions. The remaining storage space can go to creature comforts like clean underwear and a toothbrush. Careful planning is always needed and everything packed on the bike needs a purpose.
A rider is always in the elements. In many ways this is the single largest difference to a car. Wind, rain, snow, heat, and cold can’t be avoided. Often that means the rider oscillates between mild heat exhaustion and hypothermia. Often on the same day. This necessitates the carrying of several layers and types of outer gear. But there’s almost nothing as exciting as trying to put on a rainsuit on the side of the road with no shoulder.
Riding a bike is also more personal. Rarely is a stop not accompanied by someone asking about your trip, the bike, or the destination. Add it all together and riding across the country becomes something more than a trip in a car. Memories that will last a lifetime are created by every bend in the road. Each new horizon hinting of the yet unseen. Excuse me while I go find adventure on the road.