Be it around your region or abroad, touring with a motorcycle can be a unique and enriching experience. With no doors or windows between you and the world, you’re left open to soak in the environment; to feel the touch of nature on your body. If that sounds appealing and you want to try it, this guide covers the basics of what you need to know.
The Bike for The Job
There are all kinds of bikes available in the market. Be it for a short or a long tour, across an asphalt highway or off-road, the key is picking the right motorcycle for the job. A light and simple bike will work for a nearby tour, while a longer tour might require a heavier bike, with increased gas capacity and a good seat to allow for comfort and efficiency over long hours on the road.
What you wear on the road is key to your safety and enjoyment on the trip. A leather jacket and aviator glasses sound like a great idea; until you find yourself sunburn and with dead insects all over your face.
Dress for safety, and to endure the weather. That means wearing protective jackets, pants, and suits, which have padding and resistant fabrics to shield you in case of a fall. Dressing to endure the weather means picking protective suits with good ventilation if you’re going somewhere sunny, or suits that will keep you warm in the colder parts of the world. Carrying a waterproof suit with yourself is also wise, especially on longer trips.
When packing for a tour you’ll have to be efficient with limited space, and also pick the right type of bags for your purposes. If you have never packed a motorcycle before, be aware that there are several bag options, such as tank bags, tail bags, and throw over saddlebags. No matter how you choose to pack, don’t forget to mind the distribution of weight and balance of your motorcycle.
As far as the actual contents of those bags go, the basic preparations that go towards any type travel apply here. Some of it you should have with you regardless, such as repair tools, first aid supplies, your passport if you’re aboard, GPS, local map, emergency phone…
Other items are tied to how long your trip will be. You might need something you can use to sleep outside and to cook, for example.
Space is limited, so keep an eye out for items that can fill multiple roles and for items you can share with other travelers in your group. A touring group, for instance, should need only one first aid kit and set of repair tools, so there is no need for everyone to pack one. And as far as multitasking goes, a waterproof dry bag can be used for storage, laundry, and even as a beer cooler when camping.
On any route — and especially in longer tours — knowledge is your greatest asset. You should take the time to study your route, learn about the local geography and culture, and look up online for the experiences of other travelers and the problems they faced. Anything that can help you better prepares yourself for the challenges ahead.
Finally, remember to take your time and have fun. Many motorcycle tourists prefer to go at a slow pace, so they can enjoy the pleasure of safely riding a motorcycle through a beautiful terrain.