This surge in solo travel began soon after the U.S. emerged from the last economic recession. Shortly thereafter my inbox started receiving emails from women sharing their stories of the solo trip on which they were about to embark. Since then books have been penned, Facebook pages have been created, non-profit causes have been funded, and lots of news articles written—by yours truly as well—chronicling some of the incredible journeys of female solo motorcycle adventurers thus inspiring others to do the same.
This has led to one of the most common questions I’m asked by women riders:
Here is my personal list of safety tips. Yours may be different. I’d love to hear from you if have something to add.
My Calamity Jane mentality, that live-free wanderer alter ego, doesnt join me on my solo trips. While I love to camp and escape the confines of necessity, I never camp when I’m alone. Unlike the infamous female pioneer who was known to lay her head down wherever her travels took her throughout the West, my body ends up in a bed in a room, not a bag in a tent.
This means I avoid lonely, desolate roads even if my motorcycle and I look amazing all alone against the incredible earthen backdrop. (“Wheres the movie camera hiding?”) While I love back roads and believe like most riders do that those paths less traveled are where the neat discoveries happen I take extra caution to not get lost and to not end up on a secondary road where I’m likely the only vehicle for a long time. “Awww. That’s no fun,” you say. “You’re a chicken, Genevieve!”
I try to stop at rest stops and gas stations where there are other vehicles so should some shady characters drive in Im not alone. Sometimes this is difficult to plan and I may end up the only person at a rest stop, so if I have to stop where I’m the only vehicle, and others then pull in, I follow rule number 4.
When its called for I don my Wonder Woman suit, meaning I wear my tough girl demeanor, respectfully smiling and conservatively engaging with others if need be. My body language shows I mean business. Remember, my goal is to mitigate the risk of finding myself in a compromising situation.
Just as Wonder Woman can escape a sticky situation in her invisible aircraft, I always leave myself an out. So for example, if I’m sitting on a bench outside a convenience store drinking water and eating a snack I stay aware of what’s going on around me, meaning I don’t get lost in my emails or Facebook on my cell phone oblivious to my surroundings, even for a moment. If someone sits down next to me and engages me, I make sure a) there are others around at all times and b) I can safely get on my motorcycle to leave when I’m ready.
6. “Cute Genevieve” stays home.
I enjoy my Rock Revival jeans and cute shirts just like the rest of the girls, but when I’m riding my motorcycle in out of the way places, I downplay my femininity so as not to invite unwanted advances. For me, this even means the difference between wearing my fun bright red or pink lipstick versus just making it a Chapstick day. Get it?
It’s nice to say you want to “get away from it all” and park yourself in an out of the way location for the night, but a solo trip is not the time to be careless about your lodging plans. Map out your riding route such that you end up at a hotel or motel that’s located in a safe part of town. How do you know if that part of town is safe? Ask people at gas stations, shops, etc., before venturing to an area with which you’re unfamiliar. Most people are kind and helpful and will steer you in the right direction. My motto is not knowing is not an excuse.
I plan my day so I’m not pulling into a hotel lot after dark, this way I can see clearly the area where I plan to spend the night, and if I don’t feel comfortable after checking in, I have the option to find another place while it’s still light out.
The topic of whether to carry a weapon is a controversial one. Back in the day when I wasn’t married to a motorcycle rider and took more trips by myself, I always carried a switchblade in my pocket and pepper spray in my purse. Say what you will, but it gave me a measure of comfort knowing I had some form of self defense at my disposal.
For a long time, I was of the belief that carrying a firearm “invites” bad things to happen, but in light of the world in which we live now, I see where it could save me if I had to use it. I’m knowledgable on concealed carry laws as I cross state lines and know how to use the weapon in a self defense situation. If we didn’t live in the fallen world where there are bad people, I could solely rely on my rule #10.
I pray to God each and every day and night to protect me on my travels, and I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, my words, and my decisions. I also thank God for the many blessings He’s bestowed upon me for that day.
That’s my short list. These actions have kept me safe for many miles of solo travel and I have never ended up in a compromising situation. Again this is my personal list.
I’ve started the conversation. Now I’d like to hear from you on what things you do to stay safe. Post your thoughts in the comments section below.
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64 thoughts on 10 Tips to Reduce Risk to Your Personal Safety on a Solo Motorcycle Trip
Great advice! Now, having read this, I may be braver about taking solo trips beyond my comfort zone. I like her advice not to draw attention to your femininity. This is not the time to look chic, hot, or sexy. I usually wear my hip-length hair in a long braid … but on a solo trip, I’d hide it under my jacket, for sure. I’ll try to not give anyone a reason to give me a second look.Thank you, Genevieve, for these great tips!
Thank you Genevieve. This list is really what I needed to hear. I’ve recently gotten to a place where I can roam free and have had a couple thoughts crumble the idea of journeying out on some solo adventures. This is in part because of the fear and oppressed mentality of a parental figure in my life. I love #9 and #10. Ride hard and be safe out there!
Genevieve, you have been serving the women’s motorcycle community for decades. Your work is awesome. I have been reading you since 2004 when you had hard copies of your magazine! Pay no mind to the naysayers. They have a negative, narrow mindset and are the type of people I try to stay far far away from. In my opinion, if you are riding two wheels you should always be trying to improve your riding skills (physical and mental). Like to give a shout out to MCrider on youtube where an instructor in the Dallas area makes videos about how to improve your riding skills. Sometimes a bit boring but always very good, practical, useful information. I am 62 but never too old to learn something new. My recent solo trip was to Balmorhea, Texas. I went out there to hike the Davis Mountains. Only thing about solo riding I don’t like is that it is lonely. Take care, keep up the good work, and keep the shiny side up!
What a great read, so much appreciated for sharing. You do your trips just like myself. I’m always aware of what’s around me, and I very much believe in my second amendment rights. Never had to use my weapon. But very glad she’s there if I ever do.
Loved reading your article. Nice to know there are women out there doing their thing on the motorcycle. When I took my safety course there were more women in the class then guys. Female ridership is up which is a plus. Keep riding ladies and ride safe. Blessings!
Thank you very much. I am doing my first solo ride from Ottawa, Ontario, to Miramachi, New Brunswick, to California. I’m leaving June 24th from New Brunswick. Thank you for these tips — I appreciate it.
I lost my soul mate and riding partner five years ago to cancer. Since then, I have continued to take motorcycle trips we used to share, going solo. I would say I follow all of your rules, other than a conceal carry. Although I own fire arms, I am not comfortable enough using one to carry one on my person. I would add a couple of things that I do, these before taking a trip, especially when I want to explore two lane back roads: use Google Maps and Google Earth to take virtual tours of my planned routes. I also hit AAA and pick up guide books for the states I will be visiting and pour through them for lodging, fuel, and food available locations along the way. One thing I never do is stop at any bar even if it is for food. I always choose restaurants with a lot of vehicles in the parking lot, whether a chain or mom and pop establishment. I am 59 and will be doing this as long as I can. I prefer to ride alone because I can stop when and where I want.
Once again, Genevieve, thank you for a great list. Realistic, informative, preparatory for any rider. Unfortunate as it is, the romanticism of motorcycling, or any adventure, solo or with company, does require attentiveness. No matter what ‘world’ you live in. Comments to include: water, tools, bike manual, and letting loved ones know your itinerary, I agree with. Whether local or cross-country, both my husband and I are CCW permit holders and do so. After 100,000 of miles, never an incident, but sure glad we were prepared. With #10 as #1 and all the rest, we’re covered. Thank you.
I am about to embark on my first solo trip and I really appreciated the tips—many of which I would have never occurred to me like rule #6 and #8. Very practical, common sense advice. Thanks for posting.
Hi Genevieve; I have been facing the fear you wrote about, in planning my next and longest tour so far.I have done some solo touring, and follow most of your suggestions, which I agree with. I feel bad that you got some nasty comments from people who disagree, but I guess that comes with the territory!Thanks for sharing your “rules” and affirming many of my own thoughts on the subject.Ride safe, have fun!
While there are some reasonable tips in this article—like being aware of your surroundings and watch where you park for the night, I’m not sure I can get behind some of these “tips.” Don’t camp or only do it at a family-friendly campground? Don’t take secondary roads unless you’ve previously researched it and towns abound? Carry a weapon? Pray?I understand it’s a “personal list” but it’s being posted on a forum to help educate women riders, so it implies a certain level of common sense and practical advice for women that are considering a solo trip. Telling me to carry a weapon and pray are neither of these. Sorry, I think this article missed an opportunity to provide solid, practical advice regarding solo travel on a motorcycle.
As it states clearly in the article, Genevieve writes, “Here is my personal list of safety tips. Yours may be different. I’d love to hear from you if have something to add.”We all have things to learn from one another. This article was meant to spark the conversation about solo travel so we can share what works for us. While carrying a weapon and praying works for many women who chose this path, we understand it doesn’t work for everyone.Many riders commented with helpful tips that vary from what we wrote about. You are welcome to take what you like, leave the rest, but we would love for you to share your own experiences and tips.
Hello. I have ridden bikes my entire life. A friend and I toured Canada and we spent two weeks riding through California and Arizona. I am 62 now I had to sell my bike 10 years ago because of bills and every time I see one I get excited! I need to get back out there looking good with flies in my teeth! It would really boost my spirits and I am not ready to begin knitting yet. I took a break from riding after having a couple of accidents, but got back into motorcycles when I changed jobs and met two people who were into riding long distance. I bought a beautiful 1976 BMW 900. I put about 45,000 miles on it then I had to sell it in 2006 because of illness. My partner passed in 2011, and in 2016 I began thinking, “it’s time for me to find an old BMW.” I am partial to them as they are so well balanced. I will need to get a sidecar next summer.Maybe I will see you if you decided to ride in Bend. Be safe I really like the information here.
I just rode solo from California to North Carolina and will continue this trip to Massachusettes in a few days after spending time with my newborn nephew. I pretty well broke every rule here, other then preparation. I’ve also solo-ed on four wheels for various long-distance and long duration trips including a trip where I only camped in the back country or a remote campsite in the middle of nowhere. I’ve even back countried solo for 14 days with nothing more than a backpack and certainly no concealed weapon because they are usually no-nos in National Parks. My pickup even broke down on a Blackfoot Reservation where I spent time hitchhiking to help then had to have it towed off the reservation for service. I admit, I have taken some unnecessary risks on a few occasions, but I prep and research before I go.The fear and suspicion outlined in this article first saddened me and second angered me. The idea that as women we need to even consider this as necessary precaution to prevent ourselves from getting hurt is a sad, sad, sad statement of the world and country we live in. We have to play it safe and not do the fun routes lest we make ourselves victims and be at fault if anything happens. Of course, as any motorcyclist knows, better alive than right. It also angers me that this is the world we live in. That we all have to live like we are prey having to avoid things we love so we don’t end up attacked, injured or dead. Very few of these tips would apply to men. Articles for men about riding solo would tell them to take the road less traveled and have fun and throw caution to the wind and make is once in a lifetime trip and make memories. But now, us women get patronizing fear articles. I am a mechanical engineer with a masters degree from MIT. I always hated the women in engineering groups that wasted my time on career balancing and making it in a man’s world and how to cook fast meals for the family. I now bristle at these articles geared toward women that encourage us to go around acting like targets for violence. Sad and Mad.
Hi Kimi,I’m saddened that you read this article, which we’ve gotten very positive responses to, as a “patronizing fear article.” In fact, the writer’s entire introduction was about each of us making personal choices, and then she outlines what she does. She never suggested that these are tips everyone should abide by. Take what you like, leave the rest.Motorcycling itself is an inherently dangerous activity, and those of us who choose to partake even while knowing this, are then faced with the choices of how to minimize our own personal risk (or not). When WRN publishes these types of articles, it is in attempt to provide readers with information to help arm them with the knowledge and tools to minimize their risk. It’s not about instilling fear, its about offering solutions and suggestions.
I know you mentioned that this is a short list, and I agree with every tip that you wrote. I have traveled 5000-plus-mile road trips solo four times in my life—well, one of them really doesn’t count as a real solo trip since it was two-up from Salem, Mass., to Sturgis and back—but only one bike with two wheels. The one very important item I bring along wit my tools and shop manual is a credit card with at least a couple grand on reserve on top of the one you use for normal travel expenses. I have broken down twice during my travels and ond of them was something that required having it serviced at a shop. Harley stators are deep in a primary and require a shop rather than trying to replace it on the road side. Also, cash is easier to steal and loose.And the other thing that I can’t stress enough is water, water and more water. Especially if your a coffee drinker like myself. On hot days riding in normal temp days can be dehydrating on a motorcycle, and since your generally getting wind blown around you, the sweat that your body produces evaporates quickly, and generally you won’t know your body needs to rehydrate till it’s too late. I have a camel back backpack for my long trips, and ear plugs too. I could go on and on. So I will stop here. Great read!
Thanks Steven. Great additions to my story.
Jesus is first with me, He is not my passenger—He is the driver. He warns me of possible issues thru the Holy Spirit. I found your article very helpful and informative which I’m never too arrogant to accept. I’ve been riding my own for more than 25 years. We can all learn something from each other. Also, I started locking my bike at gas stations when I go inside to pay. I got to thinking about how easy it would be for someone to jump on it and ride away while I’m in the store if it is unlocked. Ride safe and be safe.
Thanks so much. I recently did my first solo overnight trip and safety was a concern. I am now planning my third and longest solo trip—10 days—and am very excited.I was on a trip with my first husband many years ago in Africa and because there were two of us, we let our guard slip. I had a very bad experience which stopped me enjoying trips for many years. I now have my antenna on full alert even when traveling with a partner. I just decided that I could not let fear rule my life. We don’t look for bad things to happen and taken basic precautions makes good sense.
All utter horse#%^t. I’ve traveled the US solo, never had any problems and I do everything this article says not to. Except the situational awareness. I always have that.
I’m so glad you’ve never had any problems. Neither have I!PS: I disdain profanity so I bleeped out your curse word.
Sorry, you lost me at number 10.
Actually, I’m the one who is sorry that you don’t believe that Jesus could your passenger. May God bless you.
I could’ve written this myself. Good advice that I know works. I’ve been riding since 1993. In 2015 I took my first multi-state solo ride from Florida to Texas. I followed your 10 guidelines to the T. Being as I have traveled all over Texas solo through my 63 years of living in my home state, when I started riding a motorcycle solo, things changed on the road. From a truck load of idiot guys in a dilapidated truck that tried to race me, to a silly marriage proposal going down 635 in Dallas. I knew I had to ditch the cute when solo and consider my personal safety at all times. I’m planning a coast-to-coast solo for 2018. Florida to California. Cannot wait! I’ll be 67 years old and it’s a celebration of 25 years in the saddle. YEE HAW! Planning is half the fun too. Rosey hugs to all my wind sisters.
Great advice and encouragement for female riders like me! I often try to plan well and be safe, but your additional advice is very helpful. Thanks so much for encouraging me that I can ride on my own.
It may have already been said — I have not read all of the comments — but you could not be “Cute Genevieve,” no matter how hard you try.
I’ve read your comment nine times and I believe this is a compliment, so I’ll take it as that. Thank you. Sweet of you to say.
Good read. I have a locate app on my phone so my husband can track me when I make a big trip alone.
Great article even though only a small minority of female riders will actually ride solo. The only thing missing is what to do when the bike breaks down. This is where the rider is at her most vulnerable and needs to be very careful. If the ladies follow your advice and ride major roads, cell phone service should be available most of the time and if not, they will be on roads that are busy with lots of other drivers to come to their aid if needed.Like you basically said, assume the role of being in control and don’t panic. Most travelers are more than willing to help a stranded fellow traveler. They will be curious about how you got to where you are. Just remember to thank them.
Great read ladies … within the next few months I will travel to Canada.
Me and my husband ride solo. We have traveled to 45 states on our bike and love it so much. I enjoyed reading your tips and words. One thing we do is keep a bike cover with us on our travels to keep our bike covered up during the night. You never know what kind of alarm will go off on it, it’s just something we do. Ride safe and may God always be your passenger.
Before I did a 4,400-mile, 12-day trip last summer, I set up a shared drive for my kids. Every time I gassed up, I took a picture of the fuel receipt and uploaded it while still sitting at the pumps (or as soon after as was possible.) That way, if something did happen and I didn’t make the next check-in point, they had a last known location and a time of day. It also kept them apprised of my progress and route in a way that gave them comfort, because I didn’t want to be checking in every four hours with someone like we’d suffered a role reversal!
I would add letting someone else know your destination. My husband and I can track each other via a GPS app on our phones. He can see where I am anytime, and always knows where I am headed. I am also vague about traveling solo with the curious at fuel stops, etc. Usually say I am on my way to meet up with friends. I do carry concealed, am always aware of my surroundings, and love riding!
My two cents: Agree with all the tips and advice given except the “concealed carry!” Up here in Canada it is against the law to carry/transport a concealed weapon/gun. All these ladies concealing weapons and the mindset to pull them out and use them! If you pull that gun you are planning to use it…forcing the other person to react in the same fashion. Leave the Annie Oakley mentality for the movie theater!Plan for the riding, sight seeing, route you wish to take and use smart thinking in all aspects.1) Do your research. Know the area as best you can. Take maps, plan your route.2) Have an emergency plan for road assistance, bike shops, dealerships. Take out the extra insurance, extra emergency funds, solar charger for phone, first aid kitPlan for the emergency. The trip will take care of itself!
I took a 5-week 8,200-mile journey several years ago (2009, wow, was it that long ago?) and found myself answering the everyday question, “Are you riding alone?” to be “No, the motel was full where my friends stayed,” or “this short leg of the ride I’m alone, but I’m meeting friends in XXX town later today,” rather than expose my solo condition to would-be predators. And I definitely agree with the earlier comment about attitude. Exude a fierceness with posture and an air of confidence, but still show a soft side with a genuine smile.How organized are you? How organized do you appear? Can’t find anything in your saddlebags? You leave your gloves at the gas pump. You seem dazed and confused? Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. Dark skies ahead, road construction ahead, detour ahead, puddle or pond? (Turn around, don’t drown). Traffic is slowing down due to an accident ahead. Watch for that four-wheeler to change lanes right in front of you because they “didn’t see you.”
Random thoughts from a guy.It’s a shame about the wisdom of not camping alone. Then again I hate being alone in motel rooms. I camp 80 percent of nights when touring and the only bad thing about it is if it rains or storms unexpectedly. I motel it if rain is expected and the hassle of finding campsites can really shorten your day. Evening is really a great time to pile on the miles. The internet and apps have made finding sites so much easier.A good part of camping besides not being cooped up in a sterile room is the cost—it’s a lot cheaper than a motel. I think it would be fine for solo women to camp at large state and national parks with a lot of people around. Of course they are the worst for the quiet camping experience and the ones most likely to be full when you get there. Camping is part of the challenge of cycle touring, an integral part of the deal for me.I think I’ve only seen one solo woman cycle camping in primitive forest service campgrounds. I waved hello and let her be out of respect for what I am sure was her wish, no matter how great a guy I really am. I’ve camped everywhere and have never had a worry or problem but am wary when I am the only resident come nightfall.
Great article. I am a 55 year old fairly new rider (two years) and enjoy it so much, I wish I would have started earlier in life. My only add would be to let someone else know your route or check in every day with someone just in case. #10 is what I live by!Stay safe and God bless!
Great advice, many of which I also follow whether traveling on two wheels or four, in motorcycle gear or business attire.
Excellent article! I haven’t done a solo long-distance ride but have used many of your suggestions on my solo local rides. I rely on rule #10 every day! One of these days I will do my own solo long-distance ride.
I found this article to be very helpful. I have been riding for three years. I am planning my first solo trip. I’m going to West Texas to ride the Three Twisted Sisters. I’m going in April when all the wildflowers are blooming. Most of what was said in the article I had already figured out, but it was good to see my plans and precautions validated. Personal safety first is always the highest priority.
I enjoyed your article and realized from reading it that I do all of these things as well. I travel cross country (sometimes two countries – Canada) alone frequently. Just a few additional things I’ve added to my solo journeys…1. I always get my bike serviced and new tires if mine won’t make the trip, even if the tires “might” make it I still have new ones put on. 2. InReach or other brands, which is a satellite communication device that you can use to text or send 911 help in areas that your cell phone does not work in. Even though I try to stay in the “mainstream” sometimes there are stretches that are just dead zones. You can also provide the information to your close friends so they track you and see where you are if there is an emergency. 3. I purchase the extra Harley Roadside Assistance which provides longer towing and hotel accommodations if needed. Even when getting regular service stuff happens and it’s a real cost savings! Last year my engine blow out on a road trip (I was wasn’t alone) but having this and my extended warranty were priceless when I bought a new bike on a trip. Thank you for the article, I thoroughly enjoyed it! Even though I’ve been riding for years and tour alone frequently it’s always welcome to learn new things and have a little refresher. PS: I never leave home without my firearm!
I’ve taken several trips solo. In the last few years I rode around Lake Michigan one year and Lake Erie the next. I joined a group called Motorcycle Travel Network. I’ve used it ten times, as a single you stay for $15 a night. You are in a home and your bike usually in a garage. I always felt safe and the website tells you all about the house and the area. I did find out when I had a flat tire that my AAA didn’t cover it. Good article. Blessings.
Enjoyed this article immensely and loved the common sense approach. I see a lot of women riding in clothes that are not only unsafe if there should be an incident with the bike but also unsafe as far as the message being projected. In a perfect world things would be different, but common sense and practicality go a long way as far as your personal safety. Pay attention—always be aware and prepared and your level of safety will work for you.
Great article! Loved every point you included. I like to say I am a realistic optimist. Optimistic that the trip will be awesome and without incident … but realistic that this requires planning, awareness, and some preventative actions. I just finished a 15-day trip of 3,771 miles, mostly solo. Where I can I build in connecting with friends, but solo is ok too. I like that I can move and see things at my pace.There have been a lot of good feedback notes already and I agree with the additions. My solo trip planning includes:1) Planning. Knowing my route and where gas stops are about every 100 miles or 1.5 hours. An hour of research pays off.2) Know my bike. I know the condition she is in, how far I can go on a tank on a good day, and when pushing wind and mpg goes way down.3) Have my Garmin maps updated, preloaded, bring paper maps, and my compass.4) Major medical kit, a tire plugger, tool kit for most needs, and a few spare bolts and Locktite … things loosen and fall off. It happens.I also added a small Antigravity battery to my rolling kit. It has enough juice to jump a van 4 to 5 times, so I always have a way to charge my phone, Garmin, or my bike (I bought the kit with the jumper cables and have used it on other bikes successfully. It’s fast, clean, and easy).5) Make sure my SPOT GPS tracker has new batteries and bring spares. I use it to check in in the morning before heading out and in the evening when I am off the road with friends and family who support my independence, but want to know I am ok. The GPS tracker works regardless of cell phone connectivity and has a 911 feature. 6) No Facebook tags or posts. I don’t advertise I am traveling. My safety for travel includes going home to no unwanted visitors. I email or text with friends while on the road.7) Above all else, I listen to and trust my inner voice. If it looks or feels iffy, I am out. Shiny side up my wind-family!
I took a solo ride last week from Norway to Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and Paris, France, alone. Slept in cheap hotels and airbnb. Met lots of great people on the road and had a great time. Got motor problems on the autobahn in Belgium but two guys on bikes stopped and helped me. It was just so much fun. I want to go out again on my 31-year-old Honda VT1100. The tour home I went through France, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark then Norway again. 3,790 km. Ride solo and have fun.
Enjoyed your advice and employed most myself on five solo cross-country moto trips after I retired. Keeping in touch daily with a spouse or friend is good practice. Not letting others you meet while traveling know that you are alone is important too (friend is up ahead or behind…). I was also lucky enough to have a friend at my dealer who would check on reliable shops for any maintenance I needed on the road. In the event of an emergency I also had my AMA membership for towing, etc. Never did need it but it was there. And I’m still planning some trips in Canada for this year, alone.
Great article! I ride solo all the time, but haven’t taken any really long trips. I am relatively friendly with people, but never ever share too much information as to where I’m going, route, etc. and I always listen to that little person inside my head. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t and I believe in my intuitive powers to get away from any situation that seems out of place or strange acting people. Rest areas are totally out of the picture. I always stop at “populated” gas stations, restaurants, etc. Always carry tool kit, change of gear, both warm and cold weather, plenty of drinking water, flashlight, protection, etc. Happy riding!
Nice article Genevieve. I’ve read a lot of articles on how to plan and pack for a solo trip, but there are few articles about personal safety. I learned some good safety tips here and it reinforced others I’ve used on my solo trips. I always carry a knife clipped to my pants pocket. I travel only in daylight hours, park near the motel entrance, and try to make stops where there are other people around this way, if something does happen, I would like to think that a good Samaritan would assist me. Being around other people also exposes you to inquisitive folks who want to know your story. That said, always have an “out” or a back-up plan for any given situation, which includes being approached by a curious person, getting stuck on the road, or depleting the battery on your cell phone. Stay safe.
I recently went on my first interstate trip and I did it solo. It was the best vacation I have ever had. I would like to add to your safety list.1. I made sure my bike was looked at by my trusted mechanic before I left and put new tires on it.2. I had a friend that I texted every time I stopped so my location was always known.3. I did however take back roads but I knew how many miles I could go on a tank of gas and made sure I stopped for gas before I was out of gas.4. I was about two hours away from my destination and I had to pull over due to a storm coming through and I decided I would sit it out in a motel and finish the next day. Wise decision, the storm took down trees and power lines that night. Always go with your gut instinct.
Thanks. Great article! Although I have never done any long distance motorcycle trips solo I do travel a lot for work alone in a vehicle with a certain percentage of it being week-long trips in a truck in many rural areas. I’ve applied all of the same tips you’ve mentioned here for my personal safety throughout my work and would do the same when that exciting day comes for me to tour solo on a bike.Common sense goes along way on two or four wheels. And ladies remember no matter how tough you are, there are crazies out there and your brain will be you best weapon.
Great article! I travel solo often and have for many years and have yet to find myself in a really compromising situation. I practice many of the same tactics described in the article and always, always listen to my instincts. We were given them for a reason after all! One of the safety measures I use is to not let my fuel go much below a half-tank. That gives me options in case the first place I roll into doesn’t feel right. I currently ride a 2015 Road Glide with a 6-gallon tank, so it’s not like I’m stopping every hour. Another tactic I’ve used at stops is to allude to the fact that I’m waiting on someone’s arrival, even if I’m really not. I’m friendly amd will chat with people, but I don’t give away too many details about where I’m going or the route I plan to take either ,and since motorcycles often travel in pairs or groups, I don’t think it’s an unbelievable tactic. Plus it gives the impression that someone is expecting me to be found right where I am? Lastly, unless it can’t be avoided, I try to “empty one tank when I fill the other” by combining pit stops with fuel stops and bypassing rest areas altogether. Safe travels ladies!
Great common sense tips we can all use. I’d just like to add this – very recently a dear friend of mine was killed by people who thought they needed his bike more than he did, and I never want to hear about that happening to any woman rider. Be careful at motels, park as close to the main entrance as possible or right in front of your room. Lock up your bike, just locking the forks is not enough! Security cameras are your friend, and if your bike has an audible security system, use it. If you feel comfortable exercising your second amendment right, do so. I don’t mean to be a downer, and I would never discourage anyone from taking to the road, but be careful out there. An ounce of prevention, and all. Happy riding sisters.
Hi GenevieveGreat article and very appropriate for me since I’m just a month-plus into my first solo journey around the US. I debated on the weapon part and decided not to take the class to have the gun. But most of the other items I already follow so at least for now not an issue. I do rely very highly on #10. While in South Dakota, I just had my first real engagement with a vehicle pulling out in front of me. Of course, I got the worst of that and the bike is being fixed but I will definitely remember the experience. By the way, I am heading into MT and WY so if you are out and about to show the area to a new person, let me know. I will be in Billings and Bozeman for a couple of weeks. My email is in the info section. Feel free to send me a note.Thanks for the great info.
Hi Genevieve! Long time no see. Last time 2009 Keystone, Colorado. Awesome article. Thank you for putting out such great information not only to us seasoned riders but to the new one on the ride! I travel solo all the time. My solo cross country in 2013 was the best so far to date. On this trip I posted to Facebook and made sure I posted two days later of where I actually had visited. I felt I didn’t need someone waiting for me ahead of my stops. The only ones who knew my whereabouts were my husband and sons. Social media is cool, but by not posting immediately was my other form of defense.Yes, I also carry!On The Ride….”Heelz “
I haven’t toured solo, but loved your tips. I try to practice #10 whether in a moving vehicle or not! Thanks for sharing!
Great article! Thankfully the middle part of this country has plenty of things to see since California is off limits due to their anti-gun laws. Arizona has a popular stretch of Route 66 that is great for bikers, same for the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert.
#10 is my #1! Great commonsense advice.
I camp alone. I also ride on roads that aren’t always well traveled. Not unlike Lois Pryce, if I’m going to travel the world solo, I’d better be OK figuring out how to get myself out of whatever I got myself into. And I’m not going to do anything any differently than I would if I were a guy to be honest.Everyone should figure out what works for them, but it’s important to remember that everyone is going to die at some point. But not everyone will live. That part is a choice.
Great list. It’s interesting. As I reflected on my own experiences, I realize that I felt safe traveling alone abroad than I feel in my own country sometimes. Maybe it’s because I was young enough and dumb enough to believe I was safe or invincible, or maybe the world has changed that much. I don’t know. I find that I will rarely avoid having a conversation along the way, but I am careful to never give the impression that I’m alone. If asked, I’ll always say I’m meeting someone here, or that I’m waiting for somebody. I always carry a knife and a concealed carry permit affords me a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing I’m equipped to deal with any situation that arises. I might also recommend a tool kit for your bike and a first aid kit. Both can keep you out of a tight situation. I love riding in groups, but I also enjoy getting away on my own.
Your #10 is my #1 first and foremost. I have ridden alone most of the years I’ve ridden. In fact, I’ve never ridden a long distance ride with anyone else. When I’ve been asked if I was afraid to travel alone, I have replied, “In a car or truck, I am just another person at the gas pump. When I ride my bike, it is more likely someone may remember seeing me.” I think about this in case something might happen. There are cameras everywhere these days in the populated areas so that is something to think about. If you like back roads, make an appearance on a traffic or store camera on occasion. Other thoughts include 1) make sure you know how far your bike will make it when you get down to a certain point on your gas gauge and in saying this, know where you are in conjunction to the nearest gas station when you may reach that point, 2) carry good maps with you even if you have a GPS or cell phone and know how to read them because you never know when you may not have service, 3) keep emergency cash in case you can’t use your credit card, 4) make sure your roadside assistance/towing us paid up to date, 5) if you know people along the way, make sure you have their numbers written down in case something happens to your cell phone and you lose access to them, 6) make sure you have emergency contact and pertinent medical information inside your helmet or saddlebag as well as on your person in case of an emergency where you cannot respond, 7) make sure you have all the things you may normally carry and all are in working order, including flashlight(s), hand warmers in colder weather, cool packs in hot weather, NOA hand crank or battery radio, tools, flares and the list can be added to… 8) make sure you have clothing and boots to accommodate change in weather to keep you safe. Also, make sure you lock your bike up every night (engine and front wheel). This won’t deter those determined to steal your bike but it may slow them down enough to get caught. I know these are givens but these are things I think about before I go on a trip, as well as checking out my bike to make sure it is in road trip order.
Loved the article. Lots of food for thought! Thanks for sharing.
Great article! Common sense guidelines I used when backpacking through Europe. Taking a solo trip from Florida to Michigan next month. Will keep these in mind. Thanks!
I like your #10 tip the best Genevieve. And I use it every day!
Another excellent article. As a solo rider for about 15 to 20K miles a year, this is outstanding advice that I practice each mile. The rest of my miles I share with friends and collectively we still practice these tips. Thanks G!