Motorcycle Travel 8 Top Tips
Motorcycle travel has always been a sought-after way of exploring new places, and it will probably be even more after the Covid-19 pandemic.
As we’ve been seeing throughout the years, motorcycles as a means of travel transportation, have grown in popularity due to the endless possibilities that they offer. Particularly adventure bikes are now more popular than ever. And that tendency is to keep on growing.
They can take you places otherwise unreachable, and provide the chance to enjoy landscapes out of reach to other motorized vehicles.
With that in mind, there are lots of people that look at motorcycle traveling as the means to go places, see new things, and be a part of a culture that knows no borders.
You can do that too, and nothing can set you back!
Nonetheless, motorcycle travel involves a great deal of planning.
Whether you are just starting out motorcycle riding, or have been riding for a few years and you are now considering going on your first motorcycle travel, some essential factors can not be left overlooked.
Though it is impossible to be over-prepared, knowing your limits, and those of your bike is important. Knowing the problems that might occur and plan for them, can make a difference.
2WheelsOnRoad – 8 Top Tips for Motorcycle Travel
Here are our motorcycle travel 8 top tips when planning your next, or if that’s the case, your first of many motorcycle travel adventures:
1 – Choose The Right Bike
There is no right or wrong choice on the motorcycle you choose to travel. Nowadays lots of people prefer the versatility of Adventure Bikes. But it all comes down to the type of travel riding you do, and the terrain that comes with it.
Riding long freeway stretches? You’ll probably be better of with a touring bike that can provide more comfort and wind protection.
Rinding more off-road sectors? You’ll probably want to go for a lighter Dual Sport or Enduro bike that can be easy to handle on more technical off-roading.
Doing a mix of both? Maybe an Adventure Bike is the right choice, providing the versatility that you need to go to the places that you want.
Nonetheless, you’ll still have to put in the equation, the fuel range, and the weight of the motorcycle. The sweet spot is whatever fits your riding needs.
2 – Plan The Route
Choosing the destination is one thing. Simple and upfront. You just need to search in that motorcycle travel bucket list of yours and pick the one you want to ride.
Another thing is planning the route to get there. Now here’s where things get a little more complicated, and why it is important to plan ahead of time. What are the challenges you will face on the route to get to your destination? Are you going to cross different states or countries, with different traffic rules? Are you going to or through remote areas? Does your route include off-road stretches? How long is your motorcycle travel going to last? Do you or your bike have any limitations to undertake that route?
Knowing ahead, when, and where to stop for food, fuel, and rest will save you precious time that you can use for detours or for backup routes. Having backup routes and the time to take them can be of the utmost importance would you find a trek too difficult, weather challenges, or a road obstruction. Being able to have an alternate solution could mean the difference between getting to your night stop point on schedule, or having to camp in the wild at uncharted territories.
Taking all that into account, remember to check the weather forecast, and bring a paper map. Yes, an old-fashioned paper map, can and should be available for when technology fails. And in our experience, both GPS’s and map’s fail. So having both there is useful to complement each other flaws.
3 – Prepare the Bike
Before leaving, your bike should be in good enough shape to take on the motorcycle travel endeavor. And the more miles you intend on logging, the more thorough should be your bike’s inspection.
Check your bike’s routine service intervals, and see if there is any major part replacement coming up, or if servicing is enough. The truth is that whether you are taking on long-distance travel or just a couple of days ride, simply checking the fluid levels might not do it. If you need to replace anything important, do it now.
The same goes for any signs of consumables wear. Tires, sprockets, brake pads, or any other parts that wear out more frequently should be checked.
Starting a motorcycle trip with already worn-out parts will cost you down the road. On your wallet, and on the time you lose replacing those parts. Bear in mind that in some places parts availability might not be as easy as buying them online or just driving down to the local dealership for a quick fix. And it could end up breaking short, or badly delaying your motorcycle travel.
Consider doing a basic mechanics course to be able to fix simple stuff by yourself on the road.
4 – Gear Up Properly
The right gear for any given journey can vary a whole lot depending on where your route takes you, and the weather that goes along with it.
The utmost basics like helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots might not be the right ones for your ride conditions. Hot weather, cold weather, wet weather, all have particular challenges. And if you go long-distance, crossing several climate changes, it mixes up the task even more.
A fully vented mesh jacket can be the right choice for crossing a desert landscape freeway, but not for high-altitude mountain rides.
For cold weather, you may require more complicated layering.
And for mostly on-road travel, you may want to gear up with an airbag vest for upgraded protection.
The one thing you can’t skip is bringing wet-weather riding gear. Riding in wet gear and a cold climate can be a potentially dangerous situation due to hypothermia risk.
Take your time and research the weather along the route, as well as the averages from the past years, and be ready to take on the challenges Nature throws at you.
5 – Pack The Right Stuff Ahead Off Time
Packing right, generally speaking, is packing only what you need. Overpacking is something that many riders do, and don’t benefit from.
Believe me, you can do without lots of things you think you need, but you really don’t.
Packing right for motorcycle travel is also, packing light. Weight is a massive factor in ride comfort for it not only affects overall performance but also bike handling, making it harder to ride and to pick up.
Adding too much, or unevenly adding weight, shifts the bike’s center of gravity, making it feel unbalanced, and ultimately less safe.
You are better off leaving behind all the unnecessary stuff that won’t compromise your motorcycle travel.
Don’t leave packing to the last minute. Having everything checked and double-checked ahead of time can spare you departure postponements because you found out right there before departing that you had forgotten something important, or that you have an unbalanced bike. Go for a test ride with the bike loaded.
Apart from the easy ones that you wouldn’t leave the house without anyway, like your wallet and cellphone, there are some essentials that you should pack.
The Essential Gear To Pack:
- First Aid Kit
- Tool Kit
- Flat repair kit
- Ear Plugs
- Cell phone charger
- Changes of clothes – a few t-shirts – extra pairs of socks, and underwear. Don’t overdo it. You can always wash clothes.
If you plan to do motorcycle camping you’ll have to add to the packing list:
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mattress
- Cooking gear
6 – Rest, Hydration, Nutritional Needs
Just like your bike, your body needs the proper maintenance and care. And to be able to enjoy the ride you must also keep it in tip-top condition.
Not saying you need to become the fittest guy at your local gym. I know a few riders that have led their lives riding long-distance motorcycle travel and have the bellies to prove that life was good to them.
However, in every motorcycle travel, there is a level of fatigue associated. Hydrating regularly, eating good nutritious food, and having with you healthy high-energy snacks, can relieve some of the fatigue and muscle soreness.
Keep the water flowing, the food coming, and know when to stop and rest. Your body will thank you.
7 – Inspect Your Bike Regularly
We all go traveling to escape from routine. But routine in certain small doses is also essential to prevent future headaches.
Create your bike inspection routine. Do it in the morning or when you arrive at the final stopping point for the day. Do it whenever you stop, but do it. Most of the time, chances are that you won’t find anything wrong with the bike. Yet, looking out for early signs of wear and tear will only cost you 5 to 10 minutes daily, and can help you prevent having to deal with a full-out blown problem further down the ride.
- Engine temperature
- Oil leaks
- Chain and sprocket condition and tension.
- Tire condition, pressure, and any signs of nails, punctures, or cuts.
8 – Share Your Route Itinerary With Friends and Family
No one wants to have an emergency while riding. But If you do, you’ll want to have someone that knows exactly what’s your route every stage you ride, and that can pinpoint your possible location.
I know that for many embarking on motorcycle travel is an escape. Yet in the end, escaping from your friends and family might not be the sound choice. They’ll probably want to know where you are, and where you are headed to. And there can play an important part in finding you if need be.
Share a copy of your detailed route and itinerary at least to one trusted person and for your sake, at least message your wife at the end of each day.
Plan, Ride, Live, Repeat!