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Motorcycle Touring Tips - Riding Versus Touring Buddies

Motorcycle Touring Tips for Riding Buddies

by Jim Park aka RideMyst

Eric and Charlie were the best of motorcycle riding buddies. They would get together nearly every weekend, ride to breakfast, swap a few tales and visit their local motorcycle shop.

Every summer Eric would take a long motorcycle trip on his bike, while Charlie having obligations to family and work, could only hear about the details upon Eric’s return.

Finally the time came when Charlie could put three weeks together for that long road motorcycle trip. No two ways about it, Eric and Charlie were going to see the country together on two wheels!

Unfortunately, the pre-ride excitement was the best part of the trip.

The guys experienced no mechanical problems, no accidents and no problems back home with family or work. So what happened?

When planning an extended motorcycle road trip there are many things to consider before setting out. The more obvious items are things like where you will be going, the routes you will take along the way and doing your pre-ride preparations on your motorcycle by checking things like tires, brakes, cables and fluid changes. The most obvious problem with long motorcycle trips on the road is often overlooked. That overlooked problem is the person (or group) that is traveling with you.

You need to ask yourself how compatible are you and your riding companion?

Prior to any long motorcycle tour you need to be honest with your assessment of several things and follow up with a candid conversation with your riding partner.

Here are a few things to consider.

Do you and your motorcycle buddy have similar riding skills?

Motorcycle Touring Tips Riding Skills for Two

Riding skills can mean a lot of things. For example, riding skills can mean how fast a motorcyclist navigates a “tricky” section of road. Imagine you reach a really twisty section of mountain highway, just what you have been waiting to enjoy on your trip. However, the other rider is a bit intimidated by those same roads and slows down...a lot!

When you have completed that nice section of roadway you may find yourself quite a few minutes ahead of your friend and spend a half an hour waiting on the side of the road.

First, and most importantly, you can’t ask your friend to pick up the pace. This can take away the enjoyment of their ride not to mention the possibility of creating an accident. Secondly, the slower rider may ask you to slow down and ride down to their comfort level. Again, not good because you are now sacrificing what you may enjoy the most.

Riding skills can also include the rider’s stamina. One rider might consider a long day in the saddle to be 300 miles while the other may want to put in 600 miles per day. If you are faced with cutting your riding days in half or doubling your riding day depending on your perspective, your trip plans will change significantly. You may miss seeing Mount Rushmore or ride by so fast you barely get to see George Washington’s nose!

These are just to examples of riding skills that can come into conflict between two motorcyclists on a long motorcycle trip – so get to know your buddy’s skills beforehand!


brgharris says:

I tend to tour alone. I have a few buddies with whom I do day or weekend trips. but to fully go on a vacation tour I far prefer going with my wife or with our son in the sidecar.
Fri Jan 28, 2022 at 9:42 PM

Cozumel says:

Great article, all true as I discovered on my last trip in Mexico.
Sun May 21, 2017 at 7:35 AM


To James25: Like the Nike ad says "Just Do It." BUT before you take that leap do a few extended weekends traveling on your bike. You will quickly discover what you do and do not need to take along. I did a 10K trip by myself except for the final leg where I caught up with my wife in Taos, NM. It was a great experience. Do your bike maintenance well ahead of time, plan your route for your allotted time and enjoy the ride. You can do it! -JEP-
Mon Mar 27, 2017 at 6:24 AM

chiefwo says:

I tour alone...I may ride with different people along the way for a day or so..but I go alone. Do my own planning, run my own tour. I have found that in the past riding with people is just a problem...which you end up having to deal with in the end. Too much senseless drama and added stress. So for me going solo is the way to go.
Sun Mar 12, 2017 at 5:15 PM

james25 says:

had a question trip from new york to arizona i do want to ride take the trip. i dont have anyone to ride with but i do plain to move out there. just wondering i keep getting neg. comments that i shouldnt travel on bike, but i ride all year long this would be the best experience for me. would want any tips from ppl who been riding for years for a newbie like me if i make my trip
Wed Mar 1, 2017 at 2:50 PM

gtedrow says:

Great information. I have heard many other horror stories from guys who had the wrong partner on a big trip
Sun Oct 30, 2016 at 4:53 PM


Thanks for the comments, guys! This was from personal experience over years of riding. I tend to agree with Pokey's comment. My best touring partner is my wife. She currently rides a Ninja 1000 and can run off and leave me if/when she wants! ;) -JEP-
Fri Mar 13, 2015 at 5:52 AM

Topper says:

Great post. I recently took a trip to Arkansas with 8 other riders I didn't know and their riding style was different than mine. I broke off from them a couple of days early to ride a slower pace.
Sun Nov 16, 2014 at 7:45 AM

BikerMeme says:

We are lucky. My husband & I have great riding companions. There is usually 4 - 6 of us on a road trip which we take every year. Usually 2 weeks. We all seem to agree on where to stay & where to eat. We don't usually book ahead of time either. Just play it by ear. We love riding together.
Fri May 30, 2014 at 7:41 AM

easyglider says:

Great post! Nothing worse than a bad trip. It strains things both on the trip and in the future. I had a buddy this happened to and he was ruined on long trips forever after. Went on to sell his bike a year later.

Consider taking a one weekend trip together before hitting the open hwy for 2 weeks. This is a good starter trip to find out more without wrecking a freindship.
Fri May 9, 2014 at 11:46 AM

jstaguy1951 says:

As a rider who has yet to take an extended tour this is a great article. Lots of food for thought.

Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

SimplyLisa says:

Excellent post; you're spot on! Thanks for sharing.
Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 7:26 PM

PhoenixRising says:

On POINT! As a professional Tour Guide, I run into this from time to time. So during the planning stages I ask MANY questions.
Thu Apr 4, 2013 at 6:45 PM

pokey says:

riding with a partner does have its benifits, however my wife and i prefer to ride alone. we can stop when we like, take whatever road we like, and get a room when we get tired. we make no reservations. the best trip is having nowhere you have to be and 2 weeks to get there.
Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 7:06 PM

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