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Ask many bikers what their dream road trip is and they’ll likely tell you it’s travelling across America. This is a once in a lifetime undertaking for most but it’s a lot easier than you think.
Here we take a look at some things you need to put in place before you buy your ticket and head out on the interstate.
The simple answer is yes and it’s not as logistically difficult as you might think. America is a lot more open about this kind of thing than other places around the world. All you need to sort out is an exemption letter from the Environmental Protection Agency, take out the right travel and bike insurance (it’s not covered by your UK policy) and pay for your bike to be transported over by freight.
Now, if you’re only going for a couple of weeks, it’s not worth the effort to take your own. If you are planning a long trip, perhaps a couple of months or more, it’s something you may like to consider.
If you don’t want to take your bike, you can easily hire or buy one while there. Hiring is probably the best option and there are plenty of choices including Complete North America which allows hires not just for the US but Canada as well.
Most tourist centres in the US have at least one or two bike rental companies and prices vary depending on the bike you choose. Costs tend to be around £200 a day once insurance is included. You normally get a better price if you are hiring for a longer period and it’s a good idea, as you might expect, to shop around.
If you don’t want to do much planning for your trip there are a variety of guided tours that do everything for you, including arranging accommodation. These can be a little restrictive but they’re a great option if you want to travel with other people and don’t want to worry about the logistics. Companies like Lost Adventure give you the option to plan your dream biking adventure with greater flexibility.
You’ll quickly realise one thing about America – it’s big. While a trip to Scotland from England may take a few hours, in the US you are talking days of travelling to reach your destination. There are long tracts of road where you won’t meet another soul for hours.
The key to a successful trip is doing your research and planning beforehand. Many bikers, for example, want to have the experience of riding the iconic Route 66. It spans 2,400 miles from Chicago to Las Vegas with many sights like The Grand Canyon along the way. Once you’ve paid for your bike and the ticket over there, America is quite a cheap place to travel and you can find a motel room for as little as $40 a night and plenty of places to eat.
When planning for your trip try to consider how much time you want when you stop off and how long it’s going to take you to get from A to B. As a rule of thumb, 200 miles a day is about the optimum and easy to achieve if you are travelling on the interstate.
Finally, what to wear is important. As we’ve said, America is a big country and the weather can vary quite a lot. Even in the summer, areas like the Appalachians can be pretty cold. Travelling by bike means you are limited by how much you can carry so sort this out before you set out on the road.