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Fly and Ride: Motorcycle Vacation Tips

As an experienced international adventurer and travel photographer preferring the two-wheeled mode of transportation, an airline ticket is also a ticket for dreaming about the chance to ride new roads on a "Fly & Ride" motorcycle vacation.

What is a "Fly & Ride" motorcycle vacation? Simply put, you fly to a location and then rent a motorcycle at that location. Since we live in Florida, it takes half our vacation days just to ride out of the state. But, flying to a location and renting a motorcycle means that in a one week span of time it is possible to explore areas of the country that we might not have otherwise gotten the chance to. It also means we get to maximize riding the area we want to, rather than spending most of the time getting there.

As much as I love a good cross country road trip, we simply don't always have the time to take one.

On a Fly and Ride you can save time, and the hotel or gas expenses you'd have shelled out along the way while getting to exciting new areas faster. But, to have a successful "Fly and Ride" motorcycle vacation there are a few basic things to you'll need to know to make the process go a little smoother.

Find the Right Motorcycle Rental Company

EagleRider is one of many motorcycle
rental companies you can choose from.

Renting a motorcycle, you can expect to pay about $80 per day and up, with discounts for extended time periods. But don't let rates be your only consideration when choosing your rental agency. You will want to examine other factors, such as insurance coverage, supplementary fees, and incentive perks, before you make your final decision.

As soon as you have your airline reservation, begin checking with the motorcycle rental agencies in your destination city about reserving your motorcycle. The sooner you book the reservation, the better chance you have of getting the style bike you prefer. Ask if they have airport pick-up and luggage storage. Some agencies even rent helmets and riding gear, if you want to avoid packing yours. The reservation staff can also advise you on helmet laws in the states you will be riding in and their company policies on wearing helmets. Often you can fill out the rental paperwork in advance, to save time the day you pick the motorcycle up. Each agency will have its own benefits to match your needs.

Choosing The Right Motorcycle

Different motorcycle rental agencies offer different makes and models of motorcycles. If you intend to ride more than 100 miles (here is where you should inquire about mileage caps and extra charges), you should pay attention to the comfort some motorcycles over others. If a long, two-up ride with infrequent pit stops is the plan, the luxury cruisers choice is a Harley Electra Glide Ultra Classic or Road Glide with cushioned seats and back rests, stereo CD player, intercom, floorboards, lower fairings, and a host of other amenities.

Another item that makes every trip check list for me is a china marker...We use it to jot directions on the corner of the windshield. It wipes off with the swipe of a thumb and doesn't wash away in rain.

Motorcycle rental agents report that Harley Davidson Road Kings are the top choice for consumers, probably because they combine the best qualities of a touring bike with the appearance of a cruiser. The next most requested cycles are the Harley Davidson Fat Boy and the Heritage Classic. The latter comes with windshield, large leather saddlebags and passenger back rest standard from the factory. The same equipment can normally be added to the Fat Boy-- all of which are detachable for that cool, solo rider who likes to travel light. Of course, if you always wanted to try out the V-rod, but didn't think it would work as your full-time ride- this is your chance.

If Harleys are not your motorcycle of choice, BMWs, Triumph, Hondas, even off-road bikes are available in different areas if you find the right agency. Make sure to choose a model that fits both your physical and riding abilities and has the options that you'll need for your vacation. Don't pick a dirt bike if you're going to be touring on paved roads for the next week - you'll be short on packing space and comfort!

When making your reservation, inquire about their insurance policies and surcharges. Does the agent carry liability insurance, with whom and for how much? Does it cost extra above the price they quoted you? They should furnish you a card or certificate to carry on the motorcycle in case of an accident or traffic stop. Most states have laws mandating liability coverage. It's worth a phone call to your own insurance agent to determine what coverage you may or may not have with your current policy.

This is also the time to ask about pick-up and drop-off times, fuel costs, maintenance responsibility, motorcycle substitution, theft or damage waivers and cancellation policies.

When you make that final decision, and book your reservation, be sure to ask the agent what documents you need to bring with you when you pick up the motorcycle. While some European dealers may only require a valid driver's license, U.S. companies will also want motorcycle class notation on that valid license.


Senorjeem says:

Just flew from Western Canada to Miami and rented 4 Harley's from Eagle Rider in Miami. Rode down to Key West and back, and then West into the Glades for a while. Great way to do it. Pre-shipping luggage!! Awesome idea
Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 2:10 PM

manopolyman says:

Planning trip from Ca. (bay area)to East Coast Ma.were I live sometime this Spring. My Goldwing now located in Ca. Have not picked route yet and want to take about 2 weeks to do this tour.......Any tips and anyone interested in joyning me for this adventure?
Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 2:14 AM

yamakawa says:

Flew into San Diego, CA with my brother where we rented BMWs. We rode up and down the coast on Hwy 1 and took in some amazing sights. Be sure to get unlimited miles on your rental and search for those hidden must see spots on-line before going. Trip of a life time.
Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM

2Vstars says:

We are thinking of a cross country trip which would include flying out to California and renting bikes to ride back home to PA. Not sure if this is going to be feasible as far as renting or anything yet but, if anyone has an suggestions we would love to hear from you. Please reach us at scorparius1963@yahoo
Sat Jun 20, 2009 at 3:09 PM

felon says:

vstroms has nothing other than 650 suzuki's to rent. Certainly not for most bikers.
Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 3:43 AM

NwDoug says: just rented with this Company out of Portland Oregon they deliver your Motorcycle to you. Best service I have ever had. Bike was set up perfect with luggage.
Fri May 9, 2008 at 10:49 AM

NwDoug says:

I would be at viewpoint 30 miles(Coulmbia Gorge Area just outside Portland Oregon) from my house with 2 German guys riding two big V-twins and i ask them how they where enjoying America we love it just wish there was something else to rent out there then a big heavy cruiser. They would say.

Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 8:01 PM

felon says:

Shipping is good if you don't mind being without your bikes before your trip, while they are traveling. Harley-Davidson dealers and Eaglerider have most every model Haley-Davidson has on the road avilable to rent. Planning is part of my joy, I don't want someone else taking that away too, if my time limits my miles!
Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 4:04 PM

sherryh says:

We used fly and ride before but were not happy with choice of rentals available, so
last year we went to Sturgis and used a company
that shipped our bikes! They made our room reservations, even picked us up at the airport! Discover America Motorcycle Tours was their name, this year we are going to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon & Zion Park all in one week! Having our own bikes makes the vacation great and it was almost the same price as the fly and ride!
We highly recommend them! And all our pictures
have us on our bikes, after all we've got a lot of money tied up in them and it's fun to show them off!
Wed Jan 16, 2008 at 9:47 PM

pcr21710 says:

What great ideas for traveling, ziploc bags and pre-shipping your stuff. We will try that on our next trip, Thanks
Sun Dec 9, 2007 at 1:56 PM

lillypad1752 says:

Ragan, another great article, keep them coming!
Tue Oct 23, 2007 at 12:18 PM

jackblack says:

Nice article!
Thu Oct 4, 2007 at 9:49 PM

Tomby92 says:

Great article Ragan! But what do you do if you break your finger while bowling?
Thu Oct 4, 2007 at 1:15 PM

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