Geocaching is a hobby that has enjoyed extensive adoption since May 2000 when the accuracy of GPS units was enhanced. Since it often involves quite a bit of travel, it is only natural that motorcyclists eventually incorporated it into their own activities. Welcome to the world of motorcycle geocaching!

A Dual Sport Bike in the Wilderness

How to Geocache on a Motorcycle

The Internationally Recognized Geocaching LogoGeocaches are located in all sorts of places – from the most urban of settings to the middle of the wilderness. As such, a dual sport bike is the most versatile vehicle when it comes to geocaching on a motorcycle. However, you can stick to urban geocaches if you only own a street bike, and you can still participate in trail geocaches if you own a dirt bike or ATV.

The Basics of Geocaching

What is geocaching? In its most basic form, geocaching is simply using a GPS navigation unit to find something left behind by someone else. That’s it! All you need is the coordinates (latitude and longitude) of a geocache to get started.

On the most basic level, a geocache includes a logbook (as simple as a piece of paper). Everyone who finds the geocache writes down their name (usually a codename instead of an actual name) in the logbook.

Many geocaches also include other items – usually trinkets of little value. When you find a geocache, you are allowed to remove its contents as long as you leave behind something of equal or greater value in its place. Do not remove the logbook, however.

The Contents of a Geocache, Including a Logbook

A standard size of a geocache is about the size of a shoebox. However, some may be much larger – as large as a five-gallon jug. Others, termed micros, may be only large enough to hold a small roll of paper as a logbook and nothing more.

Regardless of size, geocaches are usually hidden to those who are not looking for them. This ensures that an unsuspecting bystander will not happen upon the geocache by accident and unwittingly remove it.

A Geocache Using Fake Leaves as Camouflage

Even with coordinates, finding the geocache can take some time. Even the best consumer GPS units are only accurate within about 10 feet, and oftentimes the original hider wasn’t able to log the most accurate coordinates to begin with. Because of this, when you arrive at the exact location described by the coordinates, you may still need to do some searching within a radius of 10-50 feet.

Since geocaching takes place in the open and in public places (often in the vicinity of people who aren’t participating and may not even know what a geocache is), it is important to participate in ways that do not endanger others or disturb the environment. This is especially important since you will arrive on a motorized vehicle. Remember that not all geocaches are placed with motorcycles in mind. You might have to park your bike and walk a bit.

Where to Find Geocaches

Geocaches are located all over the world. Of course, knowing where to look is the hard part. Fortunately, there are several online communities that make it easy to find coordinates for geocaches that others have left.

  • Geocaching.com is definitely the largest database of geocaches. It is free for its most basic service, though it requires a fee for premium features (including the ability to search specifically for motorcycle-friendly geocaches).
  • OpenCaching.com is easy to use and also includes a large number of geocaches. It is managed by the GPS manufacturer Garmin, though you do not need to use or even own a Garmin unit to participate. It is completely free.
  • OpenCaching.us is not as feature rich, but it does have a number of geocaches which the other two do not have. OpenCaching.com and OpenCaching.us are not affiliated with each other. It is completely free.

There are other websites as well, but these three are the primary ones that tend to have listings all over the country. Geocaching.com and Opencaching.com even have associated smartphone apps, allowing you to access their databases while on the go.

These websites also rate geocaches by difficulty. Start out with an easy geocache near where you live. This will give you the hang of it and help you understand the process better. They also allow geocaches to be marked with specific attributes. Make sure you are aware of any conditions or requirements associated with a geocache.

One of the great things about using these websites is that you can log the geocaches you’ve found. It’s a great way to keep track of where you’ve been and how many you’ve found. In some cases, you may need to verify that you actually found the geocache by inputting a code hidden in the cache or by another method.

What to Take With You

    Garmin Montana 650 GPS Unit

  • A GPS unit or smartphone
  • The coordinates for the geocache
  • Hints to help you find it, if applicable (provided by the geocaching website)
  • A pen or pencil to write your name in the logbook (in case one is not provided)
  • A friend
  • A camera
  • Something to leave behind (if you plan on taking the geocache’s contents with you)

Leaving Your Own Cache

Eventually, you may want to leave your own cache for others to find later. In fact, the best way to increase motocaching activity is to create geocaches which are motorcycle friendly. However, here are a few pointers to consider when you begin leaving your own caches.

  • Obey local laws. Some jurisdictions completely ban geocaching, so you might want to look into this beforehand.
  • Seek appropriate permission. This is especially important if you want to leave a geocache on federally regulated public lands. Some authorities allow it; others do not.
  • Respect private property. You should only leave a geocache on private property if you have the owner’s express permission and they understand exactly what a geocache is (including the fact that others will come looking for it repeatedly).
  • Do not place a geocache anywhere that could cause danger for a seeker. Remember that others who come looking for your geocache may not be as physically fit as you or have the same equipment.
  • Do not place a geocache in a location that might arouse suspicion. For example, areas frequented by children (such as schools) or government buildings are generally poor choices for geocaches. The same goes for overpasses, airports, military locations, etc.
  • Choose a place that you can easily return to. You will be expected to maintain your geocache. For example, if you discover that many seekers are logging DNFs, you may need to visit the geocache to see if it is still there. If not, you’ll need to either replace it or archive it.
  • Use a weatherproof container when leaving a geocache.
  • Only leave objects which are safe, appropriate for all ages and non-perishable. In order to avoid attracting animals, you should also leave objects which are completely odorless.
  • Obtain coordinates that are as accurate as possible.
  • Use one of the websites mentioned above to leave information about your geocache. A geocache is only fun when someone else can go looking for it too!

Two Dual Sport Bikes Beside a Lake

Have Fun

Even if you’ve been riding for years, you may discover that crossing motorcycles with geocaching adds even more excitement to an already exhilarating pastime. Don’t forget to pick up a motorcycle-friendly GPS unit from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC before you head out on your first geocaching adventure!

Do you already geocache on a motorcycle? What are some stories you can share? Do you have any advice? Leave your thoughts in the comments.