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15 tips for your exciting long distance motorcycle trip

1. PACKING FOR YOUR LONG DISTANCE MOTORCYCLE TRIP 

Less is more. This is usually phrase connected with sophistication and can be widely used in different aspects of life proclaiming different benefits. Less spending – more money, less social media – more time to read,  less stress – more sleep, less driving – more walking (we would say – more riding). In this particular example we would say less stuff - more space and less stuff - more time. As usual when packing for trip, usually used measure for right quantity is to take our 50% of what you have intended to take with you. In motorcycle touring it is the same. You might not need all that t- shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, additional jacket etc. Really, no matter how small the luggage space is, you will always be tempted to take the stuff you don’t really need. So, the best way is, when you pack, take out 50% and select what you really need in between the remaining 50% and the 50% you took our. But remain with 50%. The space in your luggage will give you less stress when searching for some stuff, it will save you time, and will enable you to buy or get yourself some nice stuff along the way to take as a souvenirs form your marvellous journey. Here is few useful advice of a must-take stuff  – a tyre repair kit, portable 12v compressor, tool box, duck tape, plastic fastening straps, chain lube in spray, helmet vizor cleaner, flashlight, small foldable knife or swiss knife but maybe a bit larger, few energy bars and some water.   

 

2. YOUR CLOTHING 

The key thing to have in mind – not to overdress neither underdress. The best way is to dress multilayer. It is sometimes tricky to avoid overdressing when heading for a long-distance tour as we naturally tend to think we have to be well and safe. But this might be a mistake. Check the weather forecast of the region you will be heading and do it always daily and dress accordingly. As soon as you start feeling uncomfortable, stop and change your clothes. In case of small cold, don’t underestimate it as it will make you feel freezing for a whole day not being able to warm yourself at the end of the day even if standing for a hour under a warm shower. In case of very hot weather, do not take off your clothes to shorts or short sleeves t shirt as this will cause you an opposite effect. The engine heat, the heat coming underneath you coming from the burning asphalt and the heat of air hitting you will make you suffer in heat wave more then being lightly dressed in light mesh gear. No matter how warm, never ride the long distance in sneakers, good protected riding boots are a must. You do not want to get a stupid ankle injury that might stop you from changing gears or breaking when being far far away from home. In case of cold wave, use the “phantom” bandana. In case of heat wave, try not to flip up the helmet as the heat wave of hot air will be hitting your face and you will be feeling much warmer then with your closed helmet with air vents open. This you will particularly experience on the temperatures higher then 35 degrees Celsius. Always take care of having your raingear with you. We would recommend separated rain jacket and separate trousers as it is much easier to dress and undress, and it protects better from rain entering down your body. 

 

3. MOTORCYCLE INSPECTION 

Don’t forget to check your motorcycle before departing. It takes you a minute and it saves life. Do the walk around and visually check the tyres, chain (is it loosened or too tight, consider that when loading your bike with luggage the rear fork stretches and tightens the chain), is the chain oiled enough, front forks (potential leakage) and other parts of the bike that you can visually check. It is advisable you do this kind of checks every morning before you start your day. It sounds like a boring routine but once you get used to it, you will not even notice and you will be automatically go for it.  So, try to make it a habit on your journeys. 

 

4. YOUR CONDITION 

Now that we have concluded our bike is in perfect shape and fit condition, lets check up on ourselves. Ehm... are we fit enough to be able to handle the long distance tour riding around 300-500 km per day in a week or two. Every day. Or even more? That is a good question. No matter it seems we sit on our bikes enjoying the ride and doing nothing special to be needing a sports fitness, motorcycle riding is very intense and requires energy to be able to feel well on the tour and not struggle. So, take care of yourself before the tour, shape your fitness level, have some more intense walks in case you do not exercise regularly, reward your body with air and try to balance your eating habits to more healthy. Your riding you will thank your daily you while on a long distance tour as your body will need less food to consume (train it so before by having some exercise) and this is very important as overeating during the day on the tour will make you sleepy and fatigue and you will always feel tires. So in this case of eating habits there is also a rule while on long distance tour – less is more. Of course, reward yourself with a cold beer in the evening and some nice steak or whatever you like as you certainly will deserve it after a full day riding, but for lunch try to be modest and take care to eat less. 

 

5. DAILY MILEAGE 

It depends how “crazy” you are, meaning in positive way. Some of us are keen on riding and not so much interested in places to see, some of us like the sightseeing, some like the places to visit. Based on what type of rider you are, plan your daily mileage not to overkill the day with the riding and not being able to see the places you stay or not being able to make the nice break where you can enjoy the views, make some photos or have a swim in the sea or a river. Try to reward yourself with such experiences sometimes along the way. If you are heading for a very long tour, try to split the mileage into long-short-long way. This means, that if you are heading very far and you are short in time, make your first days more mileage as you are fresher then and later shorten it down and after being rested you can again hit longer distances. And don’t forget the old saying – if you want to go fast – go alone, if you want to go far – go in company. It does not necessarily need to be true if you are a good company for yourself, but take it into consideration as the fun of the long distance tour with some of your riding buddies will open more opportunities and experiences along the way and fun on the destinations you will be visiting as there is good to have a different view with you.   

 

6. WHEN TO START AND END THE DAY 

It depends what type of person you are. But even a no-morning person gets excited on a glorious long distance motorcycle journeys and heads early for a ride. You do not have to get up too early as there is the whole day infront of you so, you do not need to be on the bike alrealy at 7am. Reward yourself particularly if you have had a nice dinner and few beers or a nice bottle of wine the night before at some nice place. But try to do the early morning every few days or at least in some ocassions as you will be thrilled with the sunrise and the feeling you have done a lot that day, even if you got up only maybe one hour before the usual start. Embrace the day! End the day when you feel you should, don’t push yourself you need to be at the place in case you did not book the stay there. Some of the most exciting and best motorcycle journeys are the ones without any overnight bookings. Stop when you feel you want to stop, take it easy, have some rest an with a glass of cold beer take your smartphone and check the nearby places to stay. You will find it always. And that is the part of the game. Don’t miss it. And don’t plan too much if you can do it like this.  in case of riding in some of our tours, we in Moto Tours Europe  do that part for you, so you don’t need to worry of any place to stay, they are all handpicked, awesome and authentic and you are always able to enjoy the tour and feel completely free. 

 

7. ESTIMATED TOTAL TOUR TIME 

Make at least the tour sketch in some of the apps, at least google maps to see your total tour time and the point of return. If you are a type of person that enjoys planning, do it, there is nothing wrong with that and plan your tour in detail. On the contrary, if you like a bit of challenge and thrill and you don’t like to plan, make at least rough plan. The only thing that is important in this way of planning is deciding the point where you will start to make the turn and start your arrival. Unless of course you decide of heading to a journey where the journey takes you ? Some of us make often a mistake here and plan too much in a too short period of time. So try to make it the similar way like when doing packing, only in this case don’t remove 50%. Try to make it with 10%-15% less vs what you would want to squeeze in the defined period of time and you will have a great journey that will not make you push your limits. 

 

8. WEATHER CONDITIONS 

Riding and weather conditions. Uhm. That’s the story to tell. Ideally we would like to ride all year long. Of course, depending on the part of the World we live in. In case we are not so fortunate to live in mild climate areas to be able to ride 12 months in a year, we are destined to ride usually from early spring until late autumn. Sometimes winter rewards us with few mild and dry days so we can break the non riding routine during winter. However, even in our ideal period of the year, the weather conditions can change. Few advice on that. Make sure you avoid riding in temperatures below 8 degrees Celsius as the rubber becomes stiffer and your tires will not grip the asphalt as good as in higher temperatures so every cornering might become dangerous if not fatal. On the other hand a very high temperatures can cause you become dehydrated without even noticing as your body evaporates sweat and it dries immediately and you do not feel you are losing liquid. So you have to be extremely careful of doubling the amount of water you drink. And water is the best, try not to  reach for sweet drinks, colas or energy drinks, as they have either sugar or cofein or other ingredients that you can easily take in huge quantities not even being aware as your primary goal is to  quench thirst. You can reward yourself with any of the drinks you like in the evening after the tour is over. You can combine a coke or some hydrating drink with electrolytes during the day but never drink only that, try to drink water in 80% of cases. In case of rain, don’t be lazy and do not avoid putting a rain gear on you in case you judge the weather conditions will turn to rain as only a minute or two of riding on a rain can make you completely wet, instantly catching a cold unless you are riding under a warm summer shower and the rest of the route is for sure above 30 degrees Celsius. Other than that, if riding wet on even 20 degrees Celsius, you will have a real feel much lower and for sure get cold, end up with a cold, pneumonia or some pain in your cold bones. So you don’t want to mess up your long riding tour in a minute of rain. Dress up when raining.  

 

9. EATING AND DRINKING 

Less is more. At least when talking about riding day. Try not to overeat, try to keep your meals light and you will be happy at the end of the day. First of all you will be fit and more concentrated, your body and brain will not loose energy on consuming food but you can use your brain to enjoy the ride. And your body will be more fit to do it. On the other hand you will be happy to reward yourself in the evening on your destination after few hundreds of kilometres when sitting for a nice dinner and great drinks to enjoy. Of course, do not go into extreme of not eating at all during the day as you will lose energy and you will not be able to compensate it in the evening but you will again exhaust your body with overeating and next morning you will be tired. So balance is everything and stay humble during the day. 

 

10. DONT PUSH YOUR LIMITS TOO FAR 

When doing a long distance motorcycle tour always think of it as an enjoyable tour full of diversity and great experiences. It might be tricky to squeeze all in the desired timeframe and the further you ride the more interesting stuff will emerge so you need to choose wisely in order not to fall into trap and start pushing your limits in order to try to do more then it is possible in order not to turn your travel into an exhausting experience or even worse to become dangerous. You can have some days of pushing if it is worth but take into consideration that you need to have as well a more relaxing days so make sure to have a proper balance between those two. Otherwise you might end up riding and riding, not being able to enjoy the sights, sceneries, learn interesting stuff of the places you visit and it is a pity just to push your riding limits as you can do itz every day wherever you want. But the tour you decided to make you will not be making every day. So keep that in mind and balance your days well.  

 

11. MAPS AND GPS 

It is completely up to you what you choose in order to navigate the thousands of kilometres of your marvellous motorcycle journey. Some of us like to do it only with rough tour plan and rely on the road signs, some use maps and draw the route and place it on the tank bag, some use map only occasionally, some use gps, some plan the tour in details using gps and upload gpx files... it depends what you like. If you have time and don’t get nervous in case of being sometimes lost and searching your way out, some of the best journeys might happen this way and it is thrilling not having everything planned in advance. If you are short with time and would like to plan your journey well in order not to miss important sights and have the tour well balanced, at least you should make an initial plan and day by day on your gps or phone using some of the apps for route planning. You don’t have to be too detailed but try to plan the best of the tour and make sure you use your guidance and set it on time. In case you will be using phone instead of gps occasionally, put it to your steering bar as this way you will lose less time trying to search for it in your pocket. 

 

12. PLANNING DAY BY DAY? 

To plan or not to plan? Some of the best long distance motorcycle rides happen when you do not plan too much. Set your plan roughly. Set your destination and your point where you intend to start your return and leave the points in between unplanned. Ride your day by day by planning only approximate place you will spend the night. If you miss it, don’t worry, you will find the place to sleep and stay along the way (unless you ride through the areas that are rarely inhabited, in that case you might want to consider a biti more planning). Anyway, that type of long distance riding depends on how much comfort you are ready to get rid of and if you are up to the thrilling experiences as you never know what you will get (as Forrest Gump  says - "life is like a box of candies, you never know what you are going to get". And if you want to have a ride of a lifetime and do not care of time limits or at least can afford to steal few days more, give it a try and do your long distance motorcycle tour this way. The reward is great. In case you like to utilize more from the places to visit, experience great ride, great company, pure hedonistic fun, authentic places and a lot lot great stuff to see and experience along the day, take into consideration joining some of the tours we do. Check them all out HERE and pick your ride of a lifetime and experience some the best rides and tours in Europe. 

 

13. STOPS 

Even though some of us would ride all day long, stops are important. Depending if you want to plan them in advance, or you stop randomly (for gas or similar), try to make them and never miss a nice scenery and beautiful place. You will not regret it. How many times have you wondered passing some nice place in a rush and decision between the ride and excellent road and a nice stop and scenery. Sometimes its hard to choose – whether to continue and enjoy the road or stop and enjoy the scenery. Whenever you start wondering, it is a sign you have to stop. And do it, relax for at least few minutes, take a break, enjoy the silence and the view, perhaps make some photos, call your loved ones and share your experience. It is a part of your awesome long distance journey and is equally important and the ride itself. 

 

14. DECIDE WHEN TO START RETURNING 

The point where you start returning is very important. In case you miss it, and you are within a certain timeframe, you can easily be late for few days (or a week, even weeks depending on the tour) in case you decide to go for some new point. So plan it well and start your return on time in order to be able to enjoy the whole tour well and not to rush back home. 

 

15. PHOTOS AND VIDEOS 

This is one of the important parts of your journey and it can be a drag. Whenever you least like it, and no matter how hard it is or how lazy you are, just do it. Some of the most beautiful photos or videos you will make in the moments that were the hardest for you to take them. Keep that in mind and you will surely have amazing memorable moments pictured. Sometimes if you feel like the ride is more important for you, do it. But the moment you feel you should take a picture, don’t question it. Do it! 

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