Monday, October 1, 2012

DYI Long Distance Riding Adventures

Riding long distances is all about being safe.  Knowing your limits and riding within them.  It is about extending your riding horizons beyond your local area.  Want to get more out of your limited vacation time?  Learn how to ride long distance.  All it takes is a full tank of gas and an empty bladder.  No, seriously, LD riding is nothing more than staying on the motorcycle from fill up to needing gas again.  By doing this you begin to know what things on your motorcycle cause discomfort.  What items of your riding gear need to be changed.  Riding long distance is about solving problems that come up while riding the motorcycle.  

Do Some Homework:

Archive of Wisdom -- 28 Tips & Techniques from Iron Butt Rally veterans
Long-Distance Riding in Hot Weather - Tom Austin, IBA Chief Technical Advisor
Motorcycle Fuel Economy -- Tom Austin, IBA Chief Technical Advisor
Fatigue and Motorcycle Touring, by Dr. Don Arthur.
Fatigue and Riding Smart -- PowerPoint Presentation
First Responder Actions -- PowerPoint Presentation
(Dr. Arthur's work posted here with his permission)

Do Some Training:  See ROG Testing post

1.  Pick a day to ride
2.  Pick a route on interstate highways (highest speeds, highest consumption rate)
3.  Fill your gas tank and 1 or 2 gallon safe/approved gas container.  Be sure to stow it safely.
4.  Zero your trip odometer and head out on the highway
5.  Ride until the motorcycle runs out of gas.  NOTE ROG distance
6.  Add the contents of the gas container and ride to the nearest gas station.
7.  Fill the gas tank and determine total capacity (fillup + gas can - gas used from ROG point to gas station)
8.  Go to step 3 above and REPEAT!

This is basic LD training.  It's not about the scenery along the way.  It's all about bonding with your motorcycle.  The goal is to be able to comfortably ride out 90% of a full tank of gas.  So, to that end it is important to know the fuel endurance distance (FED) of your motorcycle at sustained highway speeds.  Don't focus on miles per gallon, rather how many miles can you get out of a full tank of gas.  Sustained speeds, over 55 mph, on the interstate will give you the lowest fuel endurance miles. 

Be sure to hydrate while riding at a pace that will not fill your bladder too quickly.  Feel free to stop for rest between gas stops during your early training sessions.  If you feel discomfort while riding note what is causing it and work at solving the problem.  Your body will tell you what needs to be corrected.  Use the same tactic for solving motorcycle mechanical and equipment issues.

Make your motorcycle a comfort zone:

These items work together to solve the "monkey butt" issue.  The combination of a solid seat foundation with the ceramic beads allow for air flow and changing pressure points for added blood circulation.  The undergarments wick moisture away from the skin to keep the backside and thighs dry.  The outerwear riding pants are Gore-Tex waterproof and slide on the ceramic beads very smoothly.  The system works well for me for long hours in the saddle day after day after day.  See the complete list of my riding gear here:  Farkle Data Sheet

  1. Seating foundation:  Sargent Seat
  2. Dynamic Pressure/Air Circulation:  BeadRider ceramic beads
  3. Underwear:  LDComfort riding shorts "Wonder Fabric"
  4. Outerwear:  Aerostich AD1 Riding pants
Having highway peg helps with differing ones leg position while riding.  Also, being able to stand up while riding allow for blood to flow more freely in the legs.  It is important to wear compression socks to avoid lower leg swelling and the risk of blood clots.  Dr. Scholl's therapeutic compression socks work great for me and are available at Walmart for $8.95.

I use a motorcycle back rest mounted to the passenger seat pan.  It's made by Bakup USA.  It's an American company that has both rider and passenger back rests available for all makes and models of motorcycles.

Your First Iron Butt Association Certified Ride

The entry level IBA certified ride is the SaddleSore 1,000 or Bun Burner 1500.  I recommend the Saddle Sore 1,000 as your first IBA ride.  It can be done is under 18-20 hours.  It takes only one witness a the start and one witness at the finish.  For a detailed PowerPoint presentation on how to prepare the documentation see Dr. Howard's easy IBA Documentation Presentation.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Pick a day to ride
  2. Pick a route that is easy to document and verify (See rules)
  3. Pick a time to start
  4. Get start witness sign off first
  5. Get start dated business receipt (DBR) to start the ride clock
  6. Get a DBR at each pit stop
  7. Get a finish DBR to stop the ride clock
  8. Get finish witness sign off last
  9. Submit your certification package (see rules)
  10. Start planning your next certified ride

Here are some LD riding adventures you can do anytime you want.