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Monday, 12 November 2018 06:20

A Guide to Planning Your Overseas Bike Trip

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motorcycle travelingIt’s the stuff of dreams: taking an extended bike trip overseas. The one thing that bikers like is a challenge, and if this your first time planning this trip of a lifetime, you may not know where to start.

To help you, here is a guide to planning your overseas trip, so that you make this once in a lifetime opportunity one to remember for all the right reasons.

Who are you going with?

Long distance trips are a challenge, and you need to think about who you are going with. Even if you ride out with the same person every week, spending a prolonged period with someone can be a different ball game. You need someone who is going to be able to keep up with the pace, be good company, but also share your goals.

Choose your travel companion wisely, but if you don’t have anyone in mind, reach out to local motorcycle groups to see if there are others who will want to join you. The benefit of organizing a group trip is that you may be able to arrange discounts on bike hire, accommodation, and other planned tours.

If you are planning to tour solo, make sure that you let your friends and family know your schedule so that they can keep tabs on where and how you are. Traveling alone, while it gives you the possibility for extra adventure and to stop off at the places that you want to, adds an extra element of danger, which you need to account for.

Where are you going?

You need to extensively research where to go. If you are going to countries with a very different political and social culture, you need to research whether it is advisable for independent travel. Organized tours, while perhaps not being your ideal choice, are often the safest way to travel. There are some great legendary riding routes all over the globe, but which one you choose can depend on:

  • Your budget

Your budget will, without a doubt, be the main influencer of where you can go. You may intend to camp along your chosen route to save money, rather than pay for pricier hotels; however, you must consider your safety in the country. Some countries, while great for touring in, are not safe for you to camp in. You also need to budget for flights and travel insurance. Your travel insurance is perhaps one of the most critical parts of your budget. Choose a specialist cover that is designed for bikers. It will cost more than you may expect, but failing to do so can cost you dearly. If it means you must contact Bonsai Finance for a short-term loan, so be it. At least you will be covered in the event of an unwanted emergency.

  • Visa and license restrictions

You must make sure that you have researched the visas you need before you reserve flights. You do not want to be in the position of not having the necessary travel documentation in place for travel. Similarly, you need to double check the license requirements for the country that you are visiting. Some countries have comparatively reduced safety laws. However, it is best to apply the same safety rules as you do at home or you risk your insurance being invalid.

What equipment will you use?

Once you have identified the country and route you want to visit, you can now look at the finer details. You will be able to research which company to hire bikes from. Always take note of the online reviews that are available. You will be able to glean an understanding of how trustworthy and reliable the company is.

TIP: Look out for clues as to how well the bikes are maintained. You also need to ask the hire company what maintenance tools are included in the hire, if at all. You know how frustrating breaking down can be, so imagine doing it in a country where you don’t speak the language and don’t have a cell phone that works.

  • Hire an appropriate bike

There are so many styles of bike, and you will have your preferences, but you must make sure that the bike that you hire is suitable to the terrain. What is good for asphalt western roads will not last the distance on some routes. Touring motorcycles are fit for purpose and are designed specifically for long distance riding. You don’t want your riding position, ability to carry cargo or windshield coverage to restrict your enjoyment of the trip. Speak to the local bike hiring companies to identify which bike they recommend. After all, they know the route and will be familiar with the roads.

  • Take your own gear

Just as when riding out at home, you will need specialized gear. While you may be tempted to hire equipment from the bike hire company, it is a better idea to take your own. The benefit is that you will know its history and can guarantee the safety standard.

Helmet: As you already know, not all helmets are made equal! Take your Canadian DOT, Snell or ECE rated helmet. This way, you can ride knowing that your head is superiorly protected.

Base layers: Invest in synthetic material base layers that you can add and remove in fluctuating temperatures. Synthetic material is preferable as cotton can be heavy.

Rain gear: Just because the average temperature is high, doesn’t mean that you won’t experience rain. It’s best to be prepared for all weathers.

Sunscreen: Pack adequate sunscreen with a high SPF to protect from wind and sunburn.

Earplugs: On long journeys, wind noise can cause headaches and increase tiredness. So, make sure you take earplug protection.

A long-distance bike trip will provide you with enough tales to tell family and loved ones for years to come. You must plan and prepare for it adequately. It will challenge your mind and body beyond your wildest dreams. Physically prepare for the challenge, your body will need to be fit! You don’t just want to complete your route; you want to be able to enjoy it too.

Last modified on Monday, 12 November 2018 22:25
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