Planning a road trip on your motorbike – What you need to know.
The sun’s been out for all of a day this summer, and like me, I’m sure many of you are thinking about a motorcycle road trip.
If you’ve been on one before, you already know nothing beats it, if you haven’t, make a pledge to rectify that this summer, and I’m sure you’ll never look back. There are a few things to consider before a road trip, and I’ve very kindly created a checklist for you.
The first thing is how long you’ll be gone for; it could be anything from a few hours to a few weeks. The longer the trip the more planning you have to do.
• Motorcycle Insurance – Make sure you have breakdown cover, and have the relevant numbers saved in your phone.
• GPS – If you don’t have a GPS system or a smart phone, make sure you have a map and your route clearly planned out (you don’t want to get lost).
• Mark and plan petrol stops, most mid-range bikes average 120 miles to the tank, don’t get caught out.
• A tool bag; including a puncture repair kit is a must. Making sure you are familiar with the puncture repair unit before you get on the road is advisable.
• Ear Plugs – It can get very noisy on the motorway, a set of these will keep you sane.
• A flash light; this will work much better than trying to use your phone as a light source in the dark.
• Luggage - This depends on how long you’ll be travelling for; a decent rucksack should suffice for day trips. But you might need to consider saddle and tank bags for longer journeys. Try to pack light, only the essentials; do you really need that Sopranos box set on this trip?
• Tank bags have a clear plastic window on top of them, which is an ideal place to keep your map or directions.
• Check your bike - Make sure your bike is in good working order. Use the T-CLOCS model (Tyres/wheel, controls, lights/electrics, oil, chassis and stand).
• The weather - I am constantly on the BBC weather page, praying for sun or preparing for rain, make sure you have an idea what the weather will be like on your trip, and dress accordingly.
• Spare gloves – It’s not fun putting on wet gloves after a stop, have spares available to give your main set a chance to dry out.
Remember you are a vulnerable road user, so frequent rest stops help to keep you alert and safe. The trip is as much about the journey, as it is about the destination. Pace yourself, there are some beautiful routes around the UK, don’t just go ‘hell for leather’. Take in the scenery, carry a camera and document your journey for those at home, or share them with us on our Facebook page.
Finally, prepare to have fun, maybe do the trip with a couple of mates, there is seriously nothing like it. Once you get started, it’ll become a permanent fixture in your calendar.