Part of planning a good motorcycle trip is figuring out how many miles to ride in a day. Most riders can handle about 250 – 300 miles on average in one day. But, there are a lot of different factors that will determine how far you should ride a motorcycle in a day.
A new, inexperienced motorcycle rider is not going to have the endurance that a seasoned rider has. If you’re new to riding, and your rides have on consisted of commuting, short rides close to home, or a trip to your local bike night, then pulling off a 300 mile day might wear you out.
Building up saddle time gradually, will help you build endurance for long rides. Start by riding 150 miles in a day, then 250, etc. Gradually increasing your mileage will also give you time to learn what’s comfortable and what’s uncomfortable on your motorcycle.
For instance, if your seat starts getting uncomfortable after 100 miles, you can address that problem by, say, purchasing a custom seat, or adding a seat pad. Take care of the little things that cause you discomfort, before you commit to a 500 mile day of riding.
Fun Fact: according to Google maps, 500 miles, at average driving speed on the interstate, with no traffic delays, will take about 8 hours without breaks.
Type of Roads
The type of road you will be riding on is a huge factor in determined how many miles you can go in a day. Winding canyon roads will slow you down significantly, so, you can’t expect to ride 300 miles of twisties in one day.
The same goes for dirt roads. Even if you’re on a well maintained gravel road with the proper type of motorcycle, you still can’t cruise as fast as you would on a paved highway.
But, if your riding day consists of only highways that allow faster speed limits (80mph on some roads), then you’ll be able to cover 300 miles in a day with not problem, as long as your body can handle it.
Condition of the Road
Road condition is another factor. Take a twisty road and add a bunch of pot holes or patches in the asphalt, and you’re going to have to take those roads slower, which will shorten your trip for the day.
Total Duration of the Trip
How long is the total duration of the trip? Sometimes you can manage a huge 500 or 600 mile day of riding. But, keep in mind what kind of riding you’ll be doing the next day. Trying to pull off that many miles day after day is going to wear you out.
When planning a multi-day motorcycle trip, mix the long days of riding in with a couple of low mileage days, or even a day off to rest. Sometimes you will need to put in the miles to get from one destination to the next, but once you’re there, take it easy for a day and relax.
Type of Motorcycle
What type of motorcycle are you riding? It’s obvious to most that some motorcycles are designed for comfort and long distance travel. Touring motorcycles, will allow you to ride more miles than a smaller bike.
Cruising motorcycles with large front fairings and windshields will keep you from getting too fatigued when riding long miles. Seats and foot peg position that places you in a comfortable, upright seated position will help keep you for comfortable too.
On the other hand, a sport bike with an aggressive body position designed for racing, might make a rider tired sooner, reducing their miles traveled in one day. You get the idea; comfortable motorcycles means you can ride a longer distance.
Hours Instead of Miles
So, now you know some of the factors that determine how many miles you can ride a motorcycle in one day. There’s a better way to judge this, and that’s by hours instead of miles.
When mapping out a road trip, use Google’s My Maps, or your favorite route planning software. Let the software determine how many hours it will take to travel those roads based on average travel speeds. This will give you a much better indication of how many miles you should travel in a day.
If the route you take is 300 miles, but the mapping software tells you it will take 8 hours to complete it, judge from that. Do you really want to be on the bike for 8 hours? But, if it says it will only take you 5 hours, because it’s all straight down the freeway, then maybe it will be easy.
The longest I rode my motorcycle in one day was a 500 mile ride from Sacramento to Joshua Tree. It rained half the day and took me about 10 hours with stops and breaks. I was exhausted. That was a bit too much.Gayle of PackUpAndRide.com
How to Ride Longer in a Day
While there are many factors that determine how many miles you can ride in a day, there are a number of steps you can take to help you ride farther while still staying safe. The main thing to consider is comfort.
- Wear appropriate gear for the weather. Excessive heat or cold will cause fatigue much faster than you realize. Make sure your riding gear and base layers prepare you for the elements
- Windshields. Even if you’re used to riding without one, you’re still working against the wind to hold your riding position. Adding a good windshield will make the ride easier.
- Wear earplugs. Loud noise on a consistent basis, will wear you out faster. Wearing earplugs will not only protect your hearing, but it will also help you stay alert longer.
- Properly adjusted motorcycle. Make sure your handlebars are properly adjusted for a comfortable riding position.
- Take frequent breaks. Take some time to get off the bike and stretch.
- Eat often but avoid large, heavy meals. Healthy snacks throughout the day will keep your energy levels up.
- Drink plenty of water. At every break, hydrate with water and avoid sugary energy drinks.
Planning out how many miles you will ride each day on a multi-day motorcycle trip can be tricky. Don’t overdo it. Keep the daily mileage lower than you think you can do. Stay safe by preventing fatigue. Allow yourself time to rest, take a break and enjoy the journey.
Are you going on a long trip?
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Listen, if you’re going on a long trip, whether its a weekend away or a cross country tour, we highly recommend an on-board tool kit.