Enhanced Motorcycle and Automobile Travel
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We all ride to have fun, LOTS of fun, but safety comes first. Everyone should be equipped with full riding gear – an approved helmet, abrasion-resistant clothing, (jacket / pants), boots, gloves, and eye protection. A helmet is included at no charge with your rental but most riders prefer their own for reasons of hygiene comfort and limited selection
Aside from riding gear, you'll want casual wear for dinner and non-riding activities, shorts, swim suits, comfortable shoes, etc. You will want to bring a sweater or light jacket for evening wear. No jackets or ties are required at any of the restaurants we will be visiting, but extremely dirty biker attire is not entirely appropriate either.
Please limit your luggage to two pieces per person.
You will not have to carry much on your bike, as the main luggage will be in the truck or trailer. On the Black Dog Ride Across America, the luggage truck will not always be traveling with the motorcycles, so you will want to have the basics - extra layer of clothiing, spare gloves, rain gear, etc, on the bike with you.
When you arrive at the hotel you do not need to check in. Your key will be given to you and you can collect your luggage from the truck and take it to your room.
If you plan to charge any incidental expenses to the room you will need to provide a credit card at the front desk. Charges for room and tax will be billed to GAMCT.
Late summer is generally pleasant but brief showers may appear at any time especially with altitude changes. The surest way to ward off rain is to put on rain gear.
Daytime temperatures will range from moderately warm to medium-hot, but cool – or even cold - conditions are also possible, especially at higher altitudes (7,000’ + / 2,133m +) The best advice is dress in layers, as temperature (while unlikely) can range from 23°F to 118°F (-5°C to 47°C) in the course of little more than a day.
Keep in mind you do not have to carry all your riding gear on the bike. You can bring more than one jacket, liners, pants, gloves, etc. and keep them in the truck or trailer to use as needed.
Bring from home or purchase in the US before we begin the ride. With adequate lead time, GAMCT can order items in advance and have them for you at the start of your Tour.
GAMCT and our Rental Partners require that all Riders and Passengers wear a helmet at all times, regardless of the local laws where we are riding.
Helmets are included with the motorcycles at no additional charge. Most of them will be 3/4 or 1/2 style, some will have windscreens and some will not - there are a few full-face helmets available. Since everyone will be wearing a helmet for 6-8 hrs per day, we recommend you bring your own, or you can buy one here. Downside to buying a US helmet is that it may not meet your legal requirements at home.
We strongly recommend additional safety equipment:
Jacket - Leather or textile, preferably with armored inserts. If you bring your own jacket, wear it on the plane to save space in luggage. You can purchase a jacket in the US for $150 and up.
Pants - We recommend abrasion resistant pants, leather or textile. Kevlar jeans are also a good option. http://www.dragginjeans.com/. At a minimum - wear jeans, no shorts or lightweight pants. (and not the Capri pants favored by a past group from a large Eastern European country)
Boots - At least ankle high, preferably with armor protection. Wear boots on the plane to save space in luggage. Athletic shoes, sandals or slippers are not appropriate for riding. (Yes, we have seen slippers)
Gloves - Two pairs of gloves, one light weight and one medium weight.
Raingear - On guided tours we schedule rain for only the hours of darkness, on days not ending with the letter “y”. Unfortunately we do not have 100% success with this policy. My own practice is to NOT put on my rain gear when the other riders do. That way the rain will stop and I will not need it after all.
Some or all of these items can be easily purchased in the US before beginning your ride. There is no need for fancy clothes or many different outfits while riding. Jeans and T-shirts are fine. If anyone wants to get dressed up for a night out along the way or before / after the ride, you have the option and should pack accordingly.
It’s not necessary or advisable to fill multiple luggages with jeans, T-Shirts, underwear and socks, especially if it means paying for excess baggage coming to the US. Near the start of the tour we can make a stop for riders to purchase basic items inexpensively. Souvenir T-Shirts can be bought along the way, along with cheap luggage for sending home the treasures you wish to keep. Discard the rest.
Jeans or Khakis, Swimsuit, Shorts
1-2 Long Sleeve shirts, 2-3 T-Shirts
Casual Shoes and/or sandals (comfortable for walking)
Lightweight jacket to wear off the bike, sweatshirt (jumper) or fleece to wear under motorcycle jacket if needed, Hat
Toiletries - Toothbrush, razor, deodorant, makeup, etc.
Medication - let us know if special storage (cooler) is needed. Non-prescription items such as pain relievers (aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen) cold remedies, stomach medicines, etc. are readily available but may be called by different names in the US. If you have strong preference for familiar brands you should bring those items from home.
Spare eyeglasses, sunglasses, copy of optical prescription
Sunscreen, Camera and memory cards, chargers, etc.
If you have a smartphone, consider getting a US SIM card do you can access data (especially maps and directions!) or make calls.
Some hotels have facilities for laundry along the way.
TIP - At the beginning of the ride, organize your gear in such a way that you are bringing only one small or medium size piece of luggage into the hotel each night. After several days you can re-organize as needed.