Motorcycle Touring Tips
Are you looking to go on a motorcycle touring adventure? If so, you’re going to have a lot of fun and also experience some challenges along the way.
There’s nothing like the feeling of the wind in your face as you cruise around on some great roads. Riding through the countryside is one of the best ways to see the world, but it takes some know-how to keep yourself safe and comfortable while out adventuring!
What Is Motorcycle Touring?
Motorcycle touring is the act of motorcycling on long-distance rides to a destination. Touring doesn’t always mean going from point A to point B as quickly as possible; it also involves finding unique routes, interesting places and having time for all the stops along the way.
What route you take is typically determined by the distance and duration of what you want to do. You might ride from one location to another or go for a long weekend ride in one place.
Motorcycle touring should be about having fun while being free from all the conveniences of modern life!
That said, let’s take a look at a few things to consider before setting off on your journey.
1. Prepare For The Trip With a Checklist
When you get ready to take a trip on your motorcycle, it’s always a good idea to have a checklist of things that need to be done before you take off. You don’t want to get halfway into your trip and realise that you forgot an essential item or need something else for your bike!
The checklist can be as detailed or simple as you like, but you want to include all of the essentials. Some ideas to get you started include:
- Supplies (food, water, medication, etc.)
- Spare parts
- Tools to fix your bike if something goes wrong
- Backpacks, saddlebags or panniers for storage
- A map (especially if it’s your first time on the route)
2. Pack The Right Gear
If you plan to stay overnight on your trip, you will need some extra clothes for sleeping. Be sure to pack a set of waterproofs in case it starts raining during your ride.
A first aid kit is another essential item that should be included in your backpack. Be sure to include bandages for wounds and any other injuries that might happen on the road.
If you take any medication, be sure to pack a few days worth. It’s always safer to have extra just in case!
You should also make room for at least one security device, such as an alarm or chain for your motorcycle. Even a small deterrent like a disc lock could be enough to deter an opportunist thief.
3. Make Sure Your Motorcycle Has Been Serviced
Your motorcycle is your vehicle for the trip, so you must ensure everything on it is working before you take off. After all, you want to be safe and avoid any problems while you’re riding!
This is especially true if this bike is different to the one you usually ride. You may not notice some of the faults until you’ve ridden it for a while.
You should service your motorcycle before the trip, but if this isn’t possible, make sure to give the bike a thorough once-over at the very least.
Make sure both tyres are in good condition, and there are no flat spots or leaks. Make sure your oil and coolant are topped up. Go over and check both brakes to make sure that they are working correctly. You should be able to change gears without too much trouble; if you have any difficulties, you may want to get this checked out before departing.
When preparing for your trip, you must have all of the necessary documents. This will vary from one place to the next, but a few of the most common include:
- Valid MOT Certificate
- Driving License
- Original Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C)
- Valid Insurance Certificate
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- GB Sticker (unless your number plate already has an EU marking)
- Carnet de Passage en Douanes (if you’re travelling outside of Europe)
Remember never to leave any documentation with the motorcycle. Losing them could spell the end of your trip or worse!
5. Budget For Expenses
Nobody wants to run out of money while they’re travelling, so you should try to have a budget in place.
Your budget should include money for fuel, food, toll roads and any other incidentals that you might need along the way.
Riders often stay at hotels when they’re travelling. If you plan to do so, make sure that you have the necessary funds available. You will also want to set aside some money for emergencies if your motorcycle needs repairing during the trip.
6. Plan Your Route
You want the route to be exciting and fun, but you also need it to be safe. You don’t have to stick to the main roads if that’s not your thing. You can always take side roads or little-known routes instead!
For a more adventurous trip, pick an offbeat route that has gravel roads and wide curves. However, remember that you should not take a road that is too difficult for you or your bike to handle! Google Maps is a great place to start, plus you can always adjust your course during the trip.
Planning your route should also give you an idea of how much to budget for accommodation, food and other necessities.
7. Expect The Unexpected
Regardless of how in-depth your plan is, something can and will go wrong along the way. You must be prepared for this and think about what you’ll do in each scenario.
For example, what if you run out of fuel? Or what to do if your GPS stops working?
No matter how terrible the scenario is, there’s always a solution with a little bit of forward-thinking!
If you are going on an extended trip, you should invest in a GPS or other navigation system. If your motorcycle does not already have one, this could be an added expense, but it will pay for itself in the long run. You can also purchase a motorcycle-specific GPS unit that is easy to attach and detach from your bike if you want to travel light.
Bluetooth options are also readily available online. Hands-free systems, like the Sena 30K, allow you to receive navigation instructions straight to your ear, making it easier to hear and follow directions while you’re riding!
9. Be Courteous To Other Road Users
As a motorcyclist, you have additional responsibilities when it comes to riding safely on the road. You should always be courteous to other drivers, but this applies when touring in an unfamiliar setting especially!
It is important to follow traffic rules to the letter, even if you’re simply riding in a city for the weekend. You should also give cars plenty of room when passing them, and take extra care in built-up areas.
Be aware that other drivers and pedestrians may not be familiar with seeing motorcyclists on their roads, causing them to be extra cautious.
10. Take Your Time And Enjoy The Ride
Finally, if this is your first time touring on a motorcycle, make sure that you take things slowly and don’t feel pressured to speed up. Motorcycle riding is supposed to be a relaxing pass time, so don’t try to rush things or risk injury because you are in a hurry!
Make sure that you also take regular breaks throughout the trip; it’s best to take one every few hours so you don’t get too tired. These are excellent opportunities to unwind briefly, check your motorcycle over and ensure you’re still on target to your destination.
Motorcycle touring is an enjoyable way to explore the world and meet new people. However, it is not without its risks! Use the tips above to keep yourself safe and make this experience as fun and worry-free as possible!
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