Riding Tips

Maxim Honda helps make motorcycle travel more fun. Maxim Honda sells Honda motorcycles, Honda parts and provides great, world class Honda motorcycle service in the Dallas, Plano, Allen, Richardson and McKinney areas. This is all well and good, but why do this? The purpose is not to just sell and service great Honda motorcycles. The goal is to provide you, our customer with a fantastic riding experience. With that in mind, we would like to pass along some tips and suggestions to make your riding safer, more fun and more enjoyable. Most of these suggestions are equally appropriate for day trips, as well as longer excursions.

Be Prepared
The last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road on a deserted highway because you tried to nurse an extra thousand miles out of a three-year-old battery. Or, you may have 3000 miles of tread left on your tires. That's great if you're just going back and forth to the office every day, but it's not so good if you're riding cross-country. Sustained speeds of over 70 miles an hour, especially in hot summer conditions, on a fully loaded motorcycle can drastically increase tire tread wear.

At Maxim Honda, we have TireMax. Maxim Honda's TireMax sells tires, mounts and balances motorcycle tires, and meets or beats Internet pricing. Before you set out on your trip, make sure you have good tires and a good battery. Spending a lot of time worrying about whether you will make it to the next Honda dealer and whether they will have the tire you want in stock is no way to spend a relaxing vacation.

Many of our customers do their own maintenance, but bring their bikes in for servicing before leaving on an extended trip. The peace of mind is worth it, knowing that the valves were adjusted, the brakes and cables were good, the fluids are fresh and the fasteners were torqued to specification. Of course, we cannot see into the future and some things can always go wrong. It is important to have a few spare fuses, an extra quart of oil, a small yet versatile tool kit, and a tire-repair kit is a good idea. Maxim Honda has all these items and more. Just drop by our parts and accessories department and tell them what you need before you set out. Also, before you leave, learn how to use your tire-repair kit. It is no fun reading the directions on you tire patch kit in the glow of your headlight while cars whizz past in the dead of night!

Planning is great but leave room for adventure
It doesn't pay to be too comprehensive when it comes to trip planning. If you map out all your routes, you'll not only be less inclined to ask locals for the best roads, eateries or must-see locations in the area, you'll also be less inclined to go there since it means deviating from all your planned route. Do not become a slave to your plans. Any trip by motorcycle is an adventure. Having to get to a specific location by a given day and time adds stress and sounds a lot like the job you left behind. When traveling, choose to head for a general area but leave time to explore and enjoy the many unplanned opportunities that pop up during such a trip. It is fun and amazingly rewarding to talk to other riders along the way. If where they have been sounds good to you, exercise the flexibility to change planes and take the road less traveled.

Taking pictures of your trip.
It is next to impossible to take picture while on the move. If you see something that looks interesting stop. Leave room for adventure, remember? Take pictures when and where ever you can. Make sure, when you take those pictures of scenic vistas, grand canyons, majestic waterfalls or vast herds of wandering wildebeests, have someone or something in the fore ground. This adds reference to the shot and adds a sense of scale. Often times the most disappointing trip pictures are the ones, that at the time, were the most breathtaking. There is something about taking wide open spaces and cramming them into a 5” x7” photograph that just kills the effect.

Traveling light is traveling best
Travel light for several reasons. Too many clothes, tools, maps, etc. increase the need for bigger and bigger motorcycles. The Honda Gold Wing is a fantastic touring bike with all the luggage space you could want but any bike, even your ride to work bike can be a great touring bike if you follow a few guidelines and use common sense when packing for a trip. Hopefully you will already be wearing a full complement of clothes. Leather riding pants, T-shirt, socks, underwear and riding jacket all go on your body and so take up no room what so ever. So what’s left? A pair of jeans and three each of T-shirts, socks and undies. These clothes, along with necessary tools, a tire-repair kit, camera and a few other items, can fit handily into a tank bag and a small duffel bag bungeed to the passenger seat. Do not forget the rain gear. There is nothing that more quickly sucks the fun out of a ride than an extended period sitting with a soaked crotch. Also, make sure that your change of clothes is packaged in water tight containers. Zip lock baggies work great for this, have no weight and can be smashed down with other items. There is nothing better , after a long cold ride than dry socks and underwear to change into. Traveling light means you do laundry every four days, but lots of hotels have laundry facilities. If you are going to be on the road for an extended period of time and if you will be moving from hot to colder climes, you can mail your heavier winter items to a friend en route. Failing this, you can always find a military-surplus store or some mega-market where you can pick up a cheap sweater or other sundry item you need in response to unanticipated weather.
The trouble with numbers

There are many good reasons to travel on a long trip with a friend. A traveling buddy can provide an extra measure of security, give mechanical expertise in the event of a breakdown and administer first aid or bring help in the event of an accident. Often adventures are more fun when shared. That said as you add riders you also slow things down. For every rider in the group it takes that much longer to get breakfast, stop for restroom breaks, get gas or get moving in the morning. More people means less flexibility. The others in your group may not be a fascinated with the Dr. Pepper museum as you are and there may be hard feelings from your stop in Waco. More than two riders constitutes a gang to many and so the prospects of being engaged by locals in conversation declines rapidly as the number of riders increases. This is unfortunate, because local flavor, information and memories often result from such encounters.

Off the beaten path
Take the time to get off the interstate. There is little variation in food and lodging within two miles on either side of an interstate highway. In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig, the author, discovers a curious thing. Once off the beaten path the focus of the trip changed from one of making good time to just having a good time. He stated that the best roads riding roads showed as squiggly lines on the make (lots of turns and corner), connected nowhere to nowhere and were wholly bypassed by a faster more direct route somewhere else. Do not let local events pass you by. Pick up a copy of the local newspaper. You may find that your arrival coincides with the fire department's fish fry, the high school's summer musical, or the county fair and Chigger festival.

Counting the cost and living on a budget
For many, a trip is a chance to get away from the financial realities are always with us. Cutting cost can equal a few more days on the road or a few more gallons in the gas tank. There are lots of ways to save money on a trip. There is camping, for those willing to rough it and carry the extra gear. If you like the indoors and prefer to stay in hotels, here are a few tips that might save you a few dollars. Many hotels have discounts they don't advertise. Most places I stayed offered reduced rates to AAA and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) members, AND many also had reduced prices for members of the military, government employees and people over 50 years old. Some also offer discounts to American Motorcyclist Association members as well as selected motorcycle enthusiast groups, such Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Honda Riders Club, and so on. Before you leave, review which of your memberships may have discount benefits. Some places, usually mom-and-pop hotels, offer discounts for payment by cash rather than credit card. During a two-week trip, you could save enough to treat yourself to a really nice meal. Finally, do not to pull into the first hotel or gas station upon entering a town, especially if you have just transited a desolate stretch. Think about it: Someone who just drove 200 miles across the desert and is tired will tend to pull into the first hotel, gas station or restaurant he encounters. Often, the prices at these establishments run a little higher than similar places farther down the street. Take an extra few minutes and ride through a town to check out prices. You'll save money.

Above all, have fun, ride safe and come back to us with stories of you adventures. We love to hear about you travel adventures. Send us your stories and your pictures so we can post them to the Maxim Honda web site.