Three things affect your comfort on motorcycle rides: weather, your bike, and your riding gear. You cannot control the weather, but how you set up your bike and dress for long rides will typically compensate for all but the most extreme weather conditions. You need to do more than stretch your legs to stay comfortable on a long ride.
Stretch Your Legs During the Ride
You cannot stay comfortable on long rides if your legs and feet are locked in the same position all the time. That will lead to sore knees and a sore lower back. It also will slow you down and require more frequent stops to stretch your legs and relieve the pressure on your back. You can avoid sore knees by mounting floorboards, forward pegs, highway pegs, or rear-sets that give your bike more foot positions so that you can move your legs and feet more while riding. This helps to take some pressure off your knees and enables you to change your seating position during long rides.
The ability to move around in the saddle also helps to keep your hind end from getting sore or numb on long rides. A lot of experienced touring riders also take ibuprofen prior to starting a long ride. Ibuprofen has anti-inflammatory compounds that help to prevent your spine and joints from swelling up and becoming sore when logging several hundred miles or more of riding.
Dress in Cool Clothing but Prepare for All Conditions
If the weather is hot, you need to dress in cool clothing to prevent overheating. More importantly, you need protection from the sun and its incredibly damaging UV rays. A long-sleeve T-shirt is ideal for keeping the hot sun off your arms during long afternoon runs. The air can penetrate your clothing to help keep you cool by shielding your skin from the sun’s hot UV rays.
While it always is a good idea to wear cool clothing on hot days, you need to be ready for changing riding conditions. The longer your route and the more elevation changes that are involved, the more likely you will encounter changes in local temperature and weather conditions. A quick rainstorm should not stop you from riding. But if you wear only cool clothing, that very well could stop you in your tracks.
An experienced biker always checks the weather and travel routes and brings along extra clothing and protective gear to compensate. Layered clothing that includes sweatshirts, a leather coat or other protective coat help to keep your upper body warm when the temperature drops. Leather chaps or riding pants protect your legs against the constant cool wind as well as potential wipeouts.
A pair of gauntlet gloves can stop the wind from blowing up your coat sleeves, and additional handkerchiefs or other facial coverings keep the cold air off your neck and face while riding at higher elevations or through bad weather. You also need a good pair of riding boots that will resist rain and water and keep your feet warm and dry—even when riding in a sudden downpour.
Keep Your Seat Comfortable
Your buttocks and back need a quality seat and good seating position to give you maximum comfort on long rides. A bike seat that includes a backrest and has a wide saddle for your hind end with suitable padding beneath will absorb bumps and jolts while cradling your buttocks. A quality seat that absorbs bumps, jolts and shocks instead of transferring them to your buttocks and lower spine is a great way to ensure good comfort on long runs. Many accessories can help to keep your seat comfortable, too.
A sheepskin, gel pad and even beaded seating, among other accessories, can improve circulation and prevent soreness in your buttocks. This will help to prevent pain during long rides and give you more energy once you’ve reached your destination. If you do a lot of riding in cool weather, a heated seat or seat cover might prove especially gratifying on long runs.
Protect Yourself From Weather and Debris
A windshield and fork lowers that deflect air away from your body and head can help to keep bugs, debris and rain off your body and face. Lowers and a windshield help to stabilize your bike and protect your head and body from getting knocked around by bad crosswinds and strong headwinds. Your windshield should be tall enough to deflect the wind but not so tall that it blocks your vision during rainstorms.
Storage Space Matters
Long motorcycle rides require many things to get you from one point to another without any mishaps and in good comfort. You need gear for the weather, food for your belly and tools for your motorcycle, as well as time to stretch your legs. You should carry some oil to top off the gearbox during your long run and a tire-patch kit to fix any possible flats. A tire-inflation kit or small pump will give you plenty of air to refill the tire to the proper PSI. Emergency items like tire-patch kits, oil, tools, rain gear, food and other supplies require storage in saddlebags, rear racks, tank bags or another location to make sure you stay comfortable on long trips.
Proper preparation and proper gear selection will help you to better control the riding conditions that you encounter and stay comfortable on a motorcycle road trip.