Ensuring you are thoroughly prepared for the unknown can turn a potentially disastrous motorcycling trip around.
Here at Wilkin Chapman, we have put together some essential touring tips to revolutionise your ride, helping you to save time, stay organised and have fun.
Before the trip, write a checklist of things you need to take, and be sure to check it through. Though it’ll be individual to each rider, here is a recommended list of general items which may be useful:
Spare motorbike key
Puncture repair kit
Road legal GB/EU stickers
First aid kit
If you decide to take a phone, be sure to update your Medical ID. Available on most smartphones, your Medical ID can be added and edited on Apple’s Health App and Android’s user settings. The brief and often vital information you provide - such as emergency contacts, blood type and prescribed medication - could assist medical professionals quickly and effectively in the case of an emergency. Find out more about it here.
Though your phone can be a lifesaver, as well as making a great camera, map and wallet, it’s important not to rely on it. Take note of the towns you pass, the signs you see and the roads you are on, especially if they’re unknown to you or it’s getting dark. Take a good old-fashioned map and carry a documents wallet with other important paperwork such as your passport, insurance details and hotel reservations – whilst you may not need everything, don’t depend on Google Maps, e-tickets or paperless bookings.
If you are travelling outside of the UK to other countries in Europe, be sure to have relevant insurance such as European Breakdown Cover and European Health Insurance (EHIC). In addition to this, know your speed limits. Avoid rush hour, particularly in cities you aren’t familiar with and travel across them before the traffic hits, whether that means setting off early or extending your evening journey across the city, to bypass the following day’s busiest periods.
Before any trip, give your bike a once over and take a pre-ride maintenance check. Carrying out a couple of quick visual checks - lights and controls, tyres and secured luggage - plus monitoring air pressure and oil level can be really effective in making sure every ride is a comfortable, safe, and secure one. The major differences in preparing your bike for a Sunday afternoon ride and a motorcycle tour are that you’ll be riding further and carrying more weight, so always keep this in mind.
You should expect more wear on the moving components of your bike, such as belts, chains and tyres, but don’t let this stop you from touring. Ensure your tyres are inflated to the highest suggested pressures for additional loads, and if they’re new then wear them in first. Replace your belt if it has met its recommended mileage and make sure your wheels are aligned.
Remember, long runs are good for your bike, especially if it doesn’t get daily exercise; they’re equally as good for you too - so be prepared first, then get out and ride.