Are you a fan of long distance endurance riding? Look forward to your summer road trips as the height of relaxation? There are a lot of riders, especially those with cruisers and touring bikes, who make a lifestyle out of seeing the country from the seat of a motorcycle. There are a lot fewer who successfully tackle the Texas Iron Butt Challenge. This is a feat reserved for a small group of hardcore riders who have managed to build a strategy around making it over 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less, without stopping. That means no rest stops to pee at, no walking around to shake the limbs out, no diner booths to give your butt a rest from the steady rumble of the engine.
If you’re feeling the call of this challenge, or if you want to adapt it to see a part of the country outside the great state of Texas, you’ll need to know how to prepare yourself and your bike to succeed. The key to the Challenge isn’t strength in your muscle or even mental strength, it’s the ability to predict your needs and provide for them ahead of schedule. If you can stay comfortable, it’s possible you will even manage to cover more than the 1,000 miles, or possibly that you’ll get to sleep before you’ve been up for 24 hours. After all, covering that distance in a single trip around the clock only requires an average top speed of about 42 miles an hour if there’s no pit stops or meal breaks.
How To Make a Long Motorcycle Ride More Comfortable
There are three ways to make sure you stay relaxed and comfortable, or at least as comfortable as you can be without a break for a whole day. The first one is by making sure you’re geared up for the ride. Without stopping, it’s going to be hard to layer up or down as temperatures change. That might mean you have to pick whether you want to be too hot for part of the day or too cold for part of the day. The right choice of clothing can make sure you have the padding you need to stay protected while giving you options for cooling down like opening a jacket or rolling up sleeves.
Planning Clothes for a Nonstop Trip
You’re also going to want to think about joint support. Boots that give you stiff support around the ankles and a hardened or steel toe to protect your feet are a bare minimum. If you want to reduce fatigue as much as possible, consider using a base layer of compression garments with breathable microfiber construction that wicks moisture away, like those you can get in the performance clothing sections of sporting goods stores. Over that, layer your riding gear, dressing appropriately for the weather. Then, if you want to really make sure you’re well-supported, use something that braces all the joints in your legs and not just your ankle, like a good, thick pair of all-leather chaps.
Bike Accessories and Supplies
The second step to making yourself comfortable is your gear on the bike, including both the accessories you rely on and the support you’re going to need from cargo you have to carry on the bike. On the accessory side, a power port or frame-mounted battery holder can make sure you have the juice to keep your navigation going. You can also set yourself up with music or other audio entertainment to help keep yourself from giving in to road fatigue. As long as you’re tuning things up, make sure you’ve taken the time to do any impending upgrades you’ve been wanting to the seat, mirrors, and grips. The more your bike is tuned to be perfect for your shape and height, the easier an all-day endurance run will be.
On top of the changes you make to the bike and the clothes you buy, you’ll also need to bring along food and drink. That means at least two single-liter bottles of water and enough granola bars and other snack foods to get you through without getting lightheaded. If you can, think about covering both bases at once with a thermos full of an easy to drink soup that you can access as you need it. A good hot bottle can last for 12 hours before the food goes below food safe temperatures, and it will be a better meal than stuffing your face full of chocolate chip granola until your stomach stops complaining.
The last thing you’ll need to provide for in this step is your need to flush that waste as you eat and drink. Most people can avoid needing a bowel movement with the right planning about when they eat and when they leave, especially if you’re relying on soup and packaged snack food all day. You’ll need to pee, though. Many of the participants in the Texas Iron Butt Challenge have innovated ways of handling this, but there are two common options. The first is to rig a device that lets you go into a tube that is routed down your pant leg and out the bottom, so it drops to the road without troubling you. The other is to suck it up and buy an adult diaper. It’s not pretty, but if you’re not stopping for 24 hours and you want to avoid an indecent exposure charge, these are the two most comfortable options.
Tuning Up for the Trip
The third prep step is simple. You need to tune up your bike, to make sure it will go for 1,000 miles straight without stopping. That means checking out the plugs and wires, even if it’s not time. A brake inspection is also a good idea, as is a fresh round of oil and lubricants for the systems you need to keep in shape to keep the bike operating at its peak. Ordering these supplies and taking care of any questionably due maintenance early ensures you don’t over-stress the bike while you are out and sideline yourself with a breakdown. Consider upgrading to performance parts when you do, to help yourself and your ride on the long trip ahead. When you shop for the best aftermarket parts for Touring motorcycles, you give yourself a chance to go into this trip with a bike that’s performing better in every way.