For some, beloved motorbikes have been stored away since Autumn and riders are itching to take to the open road. writes Chris Sykes.
Whether you are a regular rider or burgeoning beginner, here’s Moneybarn’s tips on how to stay safe and still have a thrilling ride. Just remember to carry out the essential checks before you get back on the saddle.
While anything on two wheels will work for a prolonged road trip, there are certain motorcycles that are better equipped for the long haul than others.
If covering mile after mile of motorway is your aim, a Bagger bike is your best option. Fully fitted with saddlebags, wide front fairings, backrests and footboards it provides ultimate comfort for your every journey.
However, those looking to take things off-road may prefer a bike designed for adventure touring, such as a dual-sport tourer. This bike can travel over nearly every terrain and is essential for riders wanting to escape predictable routes for more adventurous journeys.
Before setting off, ensure your bike fits the bill. Check it doesn’t require any additional maintenance and look over the main areas such as your tyres, wheels, controls, lights, electrics, oil, fluids, chassis and stands.
Once you’ve decided upon a destination, it’s important to plan your route so you can make the most of those great open roads and spectacular views. Schedule fuel breaks, so you know when to stop for a stretch and some food.
Even though you’ve planned your route, you should always carry a physical map with you, in case there are any accidents or road closures you need to react to.
If you’re a techy motorhead, you may want to consider spending a little extra and purchasing a Bluetooth helmet. We recommend helmets that have built-in Bluetooth, which will connect to any Bluetooth headset and helps you keep in touch with other riders within a certain radius.
Choose a model which can be charged by a micro-USB, rather than a standard cord. This is the easiest option if you travel frequently. You should also purchase headsets with reliable controls, so when you take calls, the sound adjusts automatically without any effort required from the rider.
With minimal space to play with, packing for your motorbike road-trip is an art. What you pack will depend on the type of trip you’re planning, combined with your own personal preferences. You should consider the duration, destination(s) and whether you’re camping or hotel-hopping as this will determine what you pack and how you do it.
Consider using packing cubes to organise your items, rolling clothes instead of folding to create more space and eliminate creases.
Stick to lightweight clothing where possible and pack light. In doing so, you will reduce the total weight on the bike and experience a smoother, more balanced ride.
What you wear when out riding is an important decision and not one to take lightly.
Getting it right can be the difference between impaired vision, discomfort, being freezing cold or soaking wet.
When riding, you should always wear a helmet, riding gloves, riding boots, eyewear, long pants and a riding jacket no matter the weather. You should use compartments within your clothes to store important documents such as your ID and travel insurance, in addition to a stash of money so they are easily accessible in case you need them at service stations or toll booths.
You should always remain visible to other motorists on the road, so ensure your jacket or helmet has reflective patches.
You will want to use waterproof versions of items such as gloves for extra protection if it’s raining or a cooling neck wrap if it’s sunny and hot.