Planning for a motorbike trip with your mates? Here are some tips to get you started!
For many bikers, a long-distance trip is the ultimate adventure ride. Nothing beats packing days or weeks’ worth of clothes, supplies and camping equipment on to the back of your bike and setting off in search of freedom and adventure.
Traveling by motorcycle in South Africa is pure heaven and undoubtable you will be in for a treat. Superb, sweeping roads, majestic mountain passes like the Drakensberg, Cederberg and Karoo, route 62, off the beaten track towns are all awesome off-roading adventures. Seeing your country from a motorcycle is a must, and once you’ve got the touring bug, it’ll be hard to imaging not doing it over and over again exploring neighbouring countries etc.
But where do you start…
1) Plan, but don’t over plan
The best-laid plans can often go wrong. And nothing is more accurate when it comes to adventure riding, with weather, possible breakdowns and fatigue all waiting to hinder your ride.
While it may be tempting to plan your trip to the tenth degree, they say don’t. Not only will this be extremely time-consuming beforehand, it will also take away the spontaneity of your ride, and could mean you miss out on a lot.
That said, it’s a good idea to know where you want to be and when, and via which route you’re going to go. Expect road closures and traffic jams, and have a contingency plan in mind. Remember, nothing beats a good old-fashioned map and compass for when GPS Signal is hard to find.
If you can always let someone at home know your rough route, as well as your destination for each night. Allow for a couple of rest days along the way – you’ll thank yourself later!
2) Choose your kit carefully
So, you’ve got your bike, whatever it might be. Now you need to choose appropriate luggage. Soft Luggage or Hard. Check out Flying Brick for all your requirements. http://flyingbrick.co.za/ they offer some excellent and extremely hard-wearing pannier sets for larger or small tourers, they also supply added protection for bikes, including bash plates, engine guards and crash bars – essential if you’re planning to do any off-roading.
Highly recommended: http://flyingbrick.co.za/product/dakar-pannier-bags-and-bracket-solution-sw-motech/ Had a set myself. Works like a charm, fully dust and waterproof.
Once your bike is prepared, it’s your turn to sort yourself out with the correct kit. The majority of adventure touring suits are textile and feature removable thermal liners. If you’re going to a hot part of the country, opt for a suit with lots ventilation, while Gore-Tex is a must if you’re riding in the rainy season.
Helmet and boots also need careful consideration – you’ll be wearing this kit day in, day out for a number of weeks, so you need it to be comfortable. Ensure that whatever you have or need to purchase is comfortable and as quiet as you can get it.
3) Make sure you do a little pre-before hand
Check out the online price of the hotel before you arrive, as sometimes hotel comparison sites can offer a cheaper rate. If you are camping make sure its biker friendly.
Make sure you have a first aid kit, tool kit and puncture repair kit, as well as tyre levers, spare inner tubes, duct tape, tie straps, gorilla straps, tow rope, tyre weld etc.
4) Pack light
Save weight by taking lightweight clothing, which you can layer in colder climates.
5) Stay on top of health and hygiene
Hydrate yourself often. Don’t let yourself become exhausted, otherwise you will be more susceptible to illness and fatigue. Try and prevent cuts and grazes that can accumulate dirt and sweat, they can be at risk of infection.
6) Stay within your budget and ability
Be realistic with yourself as to your motorcycling ability. Adventure riding can be challenging at times. If you’ve never ridden off road before, don’t immediately go crazy and out of your comfort zone, get to grips with it first.
It is also important to be realistic with your budget. There’s nothing worse than running out of money halfway through a trip. Allow a limit for food, accommodation and fuel each day, and keep receipts to keep track of how much you’ve spent.
Above all, remember to enjoy the ride. You may be tired, dirty and a little bruised by the end, but you will have made memories to last a lifetime.
Be warned though, this will be the most fun you can have with your helmet on and I am sure addictive.
The MyBike Team