Critique my 390 mile ride plan. NJ - VA ('09 Ninja 250)

Discussion in 'Americas' started by chrislols, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. chrislols

    chrislols n00b

    Jul 6, 2012
    Every so often I take a ride down to Williamsburg (from North Jersey) - about 390 miles - to visit my cousin, but I decided this time I'd rather take my 09 Ninja 250 to do the trip. I'll save on gas, and have what sounds like a more interesting and fun ride (memorial highways and what not) I know the routes I'd take as I've done them dozens of times.

    My question is, is whether or not my storage is adequate, and whether or not it sounds like it's worth my time or not. So far the longest ride I've done is 100 or so miles at a time, and I didn't really have an comments on it, it wasn't too long or too short I guess, I didn't really have any comments, I was in a group, we rode about 50 miles, got a drink and took a seat, finished it and rode home 50 miles.

    I know I've seen a lot of people touring on sport bikes, but I especially like the idea of doing it on my 250 because of how much I've read about how it's more or less comfortable because of the upright riding position etc. Unfortunately when researching how to prepare for long rides, or see if I'd enjoy one, people say try short rides on a Sunday, maybe 250 miles somewhere then back, which is more then my trip!

    When driving, with traffic I usually leave by breakfast, and I'm there for dinner. I'd be staying for about 4 days, and I'd have access to laundry etc. So today I purchased a tail bag, and a tank bag. The tank bag more or less for my phone, keys, wallet, gps etc. And the tail bag for my clothes, deodorant, tooth brush, and shoes.

    Below are links to the bags I bought, the thing is, is with the tail bag, it fits exactly what I'd be bringing, to the brim (3 shorts, 3 shirts, 3 undershirts, 3 boxers, 3 pair socks, deodorant / toothbrush). I don't know if I should return it, and purchase the same brands saddle bags instead for twice as much storage, or is this just fine? Or maybe there's another storage alternative I haven't seen yet? Backpack? etc

    How can I prepare for this ride, or in general just see if it'd be for more, and whether or not my storage is adequate enough? I REALLY think I'd absolutely LOVE to do this, but I don't want to get 3 hours in, and just feel exhausted and fatigued and have no choice but to continue.

    Tank Bag:
    Tail Bag:
    Saddle Bags :
    Thanks a lot for replying! -Chrislols
  2. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Apr 20, 2006
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Hello and welcome ADVn00b chrislols.

    You prolly don't need much more room tho I'd make sure to have good rain gear and extra warm clothing in case you have to ride in cold rain all day.

    I like having a larger tank bag that can expand if needed and that I can actually rest my chest on while riding. Look into Throttle Rockers for both hands too for longer hwy rides.

    Here's a thread about a cute little college grad who rode her Ninja 250 from SoCal to Alaska: I have her bike now and love it!

    Good luck and have fun, Mark H.
  3. chrislols

    chrislols n00b

    Jul 6, 2012
    Thanks for the tips!

    I really love the idea and ergonomic of the tank bag, although it is quite small. I feel like I'm regretting the tail bag only because it barely fits everything. So I'm not sure whether or not to exchange for the saddle bags or not. But I figure the furthest I EVER plan to ride is VA for 3-4 days, so if it'll fit that, it'll fit anything else, but I really can't decide.

    But for $100 for the both of them, you can't beat it.

    Here's a photo of the tank bag on, although it would provide that much of a resting spot.
  4. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

    Dec 10, 2005
    How about a 200-miler? It's half of what you plan as one way. If you try to get 200 miles done in the morning you'll know that you can have that much time to do it again.

    A 200-mile trip with new luggage may help you fine-tune what you take and where you pack things. (I live in a cooler area so my tank bag must include warm and cool gloves and rain gloves if there's any chance.) On a test ride you don't have to be focused on getting there by a deadline.

    I follow my advice only about half well; I just go. The sports writer Patrick McManus writes about "a fine and pleasant misery". My finest memories come from not-so-fine moments. I'm not saying that you will be miserable or that going ill-prepared is a good idea. But many of us have been in less-than-ideal situations and those become good memories. Many of us remember our first half-equipped camping trips as pre-teens and the innocence and audacity help make good memories.

    EDIT: You can make your storage adequate by not filling it.

    EDIT 2: You have a fine bike.
  5. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

    Dec 21, 2008
    Vagabond Hippie
    You'll be just fine. A 390 mile day is just a bunch of 50 mile days back to back to back. Since you do not have the experience of sitting on the bike for a few hours at a time, just pick a number (i.e. one hour, 60 miles, half tank of gas) and make that your regular stopping point. You can stop for a tank of gas, 10 minute stretch, have a small snack, or even lay in the grass at a rest stop for a bit.

    Figure this. Riding strait through at 55mph, the trip will take 7 hours. Add six 10 minute stops, and your average speed becomes 48 mph, so it takes a total of 8 hours. Really relax, by using six 20 minute stops, and you average 43 mph and a 9 hour trip (while being able to smell the roses). Dink around like crazy, stopping for six 30 minute breaks, and it is a 10 hour day...7am to 5pm which sounds like the amount of time you usually take in a car (adjust your times a little so you don't have to be in rush hour traffic on both ends of you day though). Easy, Peasy.

    When you hear about people riding 1000 miles in a 24 period...realize that only requires a 42mph average speed (moving and stopped). When I travel by bike, I'm happy any time my GPS tells me that my average is over 42mph, because in my head that means I'm at a good overall pace.

    For your storage, you just need to adjust your mindset a tad for the motorcycle. When motorcycle traveling, you never have enough space for everything you would just love to bring. Reduce your clothing allotment (you are taking 4 days of clothes counting what you will be wearing while riding), bring just 2 spares. Every 3rd day, throw the two dirty sets in a washer.

    The top bag is fine and great for around town, but if you think you will be wanting to do more travel by motorcycle, lose the top bag and get the saddlebags (you'd end up buying them in the long run). If you still need more storage after you have saddle bags, use a dry bag instead of a top bag, they will hold much more, are available in a wide range of sizes, and strap down beautifully over a set of any saddlebags (soft or hard) and can be positioned for a nice back rest with some forethought.

    Drink lots of water.
  6. superslomo

    superslomo Adventurer

    Apr 4, 2011
    Hudson Valley
    How have you done the trip previously? Bigger bike? Bigger bags? I'd second the idea of trying to do a test-pack or test run of some kind, but it all depends on your timing of the trip etc.
  7. xuare

    xuare Gravity wins again

    Sep 2, 2011
    Pavlodaistan, VA
    Keep in mind your route. If you are taking the toll roads, you will need enough for the routes (esp Deleware Bridge) and will want to keep it somewhere you can get to it. Try not to get run over on the Jersey Turnpike!

    Maryland (esp Prince Georges County) has issues with sports bikes because the local crotch rocket crowd has a nasty habit of running from the police. Be wary and take it cautiously on I-495 / I-295 / US 301.

    If you cross the Harry Nice bridge you can get a lot better view of the Potomac from a bike, just don't forget where you are or get too close and go over the side ;)
  8. Forde

    Forde Been here awhile

    Jun 24, 2011
    Northern Ireland
    i wouldnt even bother with a tank bag i find they get in my way, plus you're hardly bringing anything. just put your clothes in the tail bag and go. if all your clothes for 4 days fit in the tail bag i cant see why youd need to cut down to 2 sets like someone said. also, you know how much stuff your bringing so if you can fit it all in the bag then you know your storage is adequate. why would you need saddlebags.

    you dont need to "prepare" for this ride, its not like your going round the world lol.

    if you were able to ride 100 miles comfortably you will be able to ride 400 comfortably. i would say if there was a comfort issue with your bike it would have made itself apparent on a 100 mile ride. you are allowed breaks too you know.
  9. SamRus

    SamRus Been here awhile

    Mar 11, 2010
    Southern IL
    Be sure to bring a rain suit. I'd also get the Hippo-Hands (I bought some cheap hand-mitts that go over handlebars for some $20). They really help with hand-comfort on cold and rainy rides, and they pack nicely.

    Definitely wear ear plugs or some sort of hearing protection. That will reduce your fatigue...

    What I also do for breaks sometimes, is stop by McDonalds or any other fast food place, and get a cup of hot tea for $1 (or coffee if you prefer that), and just snack with some crunchy cookies. It helps me wake up!
  10. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Jan 31, 2007
    Annapolis MD
    Think Flashmo described it perfectly above. Pick a distance and then have a break. On my trip to Alaska stopped every 80 miles for a drink and gas. 4 stops and you are finished with your ride. couldn't be easier.
  11. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Been here awhile

    Oct 20, 2008
    Greensboro NC or Fancy Gap VA (milemarker 199 BRP)
    I've found that state highways are easier to travel on than the larger and faster interstates when riding a smaller bike. Travel takes a bit longer but the scenery and slower pace make the ride more enjoyable. Rest breaks are a good idea, keep you from getting tired and help maintain focus. Take the time to enjoy the trip on the way to the destination.
    The suggestions of a half day ride or two make a lot of sense.
  12. SRG


    Nov 18, 2004
    Charlottesville, Virginia
    A small/medium backpack w/o anything to heavy in it is no real additional burden. After a little while I forget about it completely (Kaiega R25 - highly recommended, but I sure something less $$ would do, so long as it's comfy).