Yeah, we know! The last thing you need when you’re all excited to embark on your first motorbike road trip, is another set of expert tips! But what we’ve essentially done is combine all that you have already heard (or haven’t!) into one quick check list of ideas that you may consider or reject…
But whatever you do, please do not commit the mistake of taking off without a care as romantic as that may sound. There are important preparation points to consider for smooth, error-free, and safe road trips. Of course once you’re a pro, planning a road trip will be like second nature and that can result in many spontaneous getaways!
However, before that happens, here’s a valuable guide based on real life experiences of other motorcycle riders for all first timers:
1) Begin early
Launch early to avoid lethargy or even low or compromised visibility. Early morning motorbike rides ensure some good progress to begin with due to less traffic and a fresh, enthusiastic you! Unfamiliar roads can surprise you with unexpected turns, speed breakers and the like. Evening time also urges certain nocturnal creatures to stroll across the roads while forested areas are known to swarm with (flying) insects that may hamper your riding.
2) Check your bike regularly
By regularly we mean each time you halt. Your first check should of course be prior to leaving, preferably the night before. Another once over in the morning and then regular vigilance at every stop will ensure a safe journey. Check the tread, watch out for nail heads, punctures, exposed cords, broken teeth, metal shavings, or kinks in the chain or sprocket. Give immediate attention to any scraping or rattling sound that you may encounter. Don’t postpone.
3) Keep earplugs handy
Though most good quality helmets block noise and air pressure, for high speed spells, keep a pair of earplugs with you.
4) Install wind-shields
If it’s going to be a rather long trip, at 80 miles an hour, especially in windy locations, do the sensible thing by fixing some wind shields onto the front of your vehicle. They may not look that sleek or cool, but you will thank us on that 6 hour ride through those mountainous South east Asian trails.
5) Comfortable seat
While you’re getting that windshield mounted, find a good seat with a backrest or just one that’s well cushioned and allows some movement. Soft sink-ins will slow you down and hard moulded seats will cause discomfort and pain.
6) Weatherproof gear
Safety gear is important on any motorbike ride but weatherproof gear is especially important on long road trips. It’s always best to be prepared for all kinds of weather especially the daytime heat, evening chill and unexpected rain. Waterproof, ventilated, breathable head to toe gear will take care of your comfort levels over the entire duration.
7) Take frequent breaks
Though motorbike riding in itself is physical exercise, it’s vital to stretch limbs and get out of that lengthy seated position. Stretch out your legs, arms, shoulders, hands etc to reduce fatigue and aches.
8) Dress to stay clean
It can get quite mucky and dusty on long road trips of fluctuating weather. If it’s particularly wet, wear a full rain suit or weatherproof riding gear. Tuck into ankle length boots to keep your socks as dry as possible. Your helmet, jacket and riding pants should keep you protected from the elements but don’t expect to turn up looking your best at your destination. If you’ve scheduled any important meetings on arrival, factor in some time to shower and change or then push them to the following day.
9) Location and direction
Always stay on top of your location and use your GPS system or paper maps (where there is low network) to guide you. Make sure someone knows where you are by keeping in touch, if riding alone. Always carry your emergency contact and medical information with you when travelling.
10) Eat right
Keep your meals light and eat frequently. Also many riders forget to hydrate and end up feeling light headed and woozy. Snack on fruits and nuts. Try fresh local cuisine but don’t overdo it! You’ll end up feeling tired, lazy and this can be dangerous. Have fun on your first motorcycle trip and let us know all about it. Also, since it’s your first, don’t travel too far from home. Stay smart and stay safe, GoBikerz!