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Photo by Roberto Nickson:

5 Tips for a Motorcycle Road Trip in California

There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road on a motorcycle. The wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the sense of freedom that comes with being out on the open highway. If you’re planning a motorcycle solo road trip or with friends in California, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure it’s a trip to remember.

Here are five tips for planning the perfect motorcycle road trip in California:

1. Make Safety a Priority During Your Trip to California

Safety should be your number one priority when planning any motorcycle road trip. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer specializing in motorcycle accidents in California has seen far too many cases of preventable injuries that riders can avoid by wearing the right gear, so don’t take any unnecessary risks. The best protective gear includes:

  • A DOT-approved helmet
  • Protective clothing like a leather jacket or Kevlar jeans
  • Quality gloves
  • Quality boots
  • Eye protection and more

Of course, ensure your motorcycle is in good working condition before heading on a road trip. That means thoroughly inspecting your bike and checking the tires, brakes, fluids, and lights.

2. Plan Your California Route Carefully

California is a big state, so you’ll want to narrow down the area you want to explore, then start mapping out the specific roads and highways you’ll take. Be sure to account for rest stops, gas stations, and places to stay overnight if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Research and talk to locals to get their recommendations on the best routes.

Some of the best motorcycle road trips in California include:

  • The Pacific Coast Highway: This iconic highway runs from Orange County to Mendocino County along the coast.
  • Angeles Crest Highway: This 68-mile route takes you through the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles.
  • Route 395: This highway runs along the eastern side of California, offering stunning views of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Once you plan your route, share it with a friend or family member, so they know where you’ll be and when to expect you back.

3. Pack Light but Wisely

You’ll want to bring along all the essentials, but, as you’re aware, space is limited on a motorcycle. Therefore, choose multi-purpose items whenever possible, and secure everything properly, so it doesn’t rattle around or fall off while you’re riding. A good quality saddlebag for a cruiser bike or a set of hard-shell bags for a sport bike can help make packing easier.

Some essential items to pack include:

  • A first-aid kit
  • Basic tools and a spare tire
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect repellent
  • Clothing appropriate for the weather conditions you’ll be riding in
  • A map of the area
  • Rain gear 
  • Snacks and drinks 

Remember, you can always buy things you need along the way, so don’t try to pack everything. Plus, the less weight you carry, the more enjoyable your trip will be.

4. Take Your Time and Enjoy the California Scenery

Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash

Once you hit the road, frequently stop to stretch your legs and take in the view. Don’t forget to take photos and share them with your friends and family back home. Just keep an eye on the time, so you don’t end up riding in the dark. Speaking of darkness:

  • Always be extra cautious at night
  • Ride defensively and assume that other drivers haven’t seen you
  • Use your high beam headlight whenever possible
  • Don’t forget to signal and be extra careful at intersections

5. Be Prepared for All Weather Conditions

In California, you can experience everything from hot desert sun to cold mountain fog, sometimes all on the same day. Pack layers that you can easily put on or take off as needed, and always keep an eye on the forecast, so you know what to expect. 

Bad weather can make riding dangerous, so if you run into a thunderstorm or heavy rain, it’s best to find shelter and wait it out. If you’re not comfortable riding in these conditions, it’s best to postpone your trip until the weather clears up.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your motorcycle road trip in California is safe and enjoyable. And most importantly, have fun.

Featured Photo by Roberto Nickson: