This Easter you are going to take the opportunity to finally make your first motorcycle trip. Surely you will have many doubts about how to organize yourself, how to carry your luggage or how many kilometers a day to do. If you are also accompanied, logistics multiplies, right? How do you plan a 4 or 5 day motorcycle trip? Do not despair, take it patiently and think of these mini-vacations as a perfect opportunity to test yourself, find out if you really have the wood of a traveling biker and, most importantly, find out what you should improve to continue and expand the adventure on your summer vacation.
We want this first experience to be so good that you count the days to repeat it, so we have made a practical guide with tips, guidelines and useful indications to help you prepare the trip. The less you have to worry about what you forgot, the more you will enjoy the journey.
The trip: basic decisions
The truth is that, in general, when we consider traveling, our destination is usually determined by many conditions, although if we had to summarize the main ones, we would tell you that, in this order, they would be:
. Time we have
. Money we have
. Means of transport we choose
. Ways we will use to do it
In our case, the means of transport is clear, so we will have to fit the rest of things so that everything works out little by little. If you think about it, they are all intimately linked. It is of little use to us to plan a 5-day route if we do not have enough money to refuel along the way. Nor is it too realistic to bet on inaccessible mountain roads – which, without a doubt, will lengthen each day of travel – if we do not have enough time to do so. We give you some tips that can come in handy for you.
How many kilometers a day do I do?
It is very difficult to tell someone how many kilometers they should drive on average per day because it depends on many things. Among others, the state of the motorcycle, the objective of the trip itself, the roads that are chosen or the desire and expertise of the rider. In any case, to calculate a suitable route for your first motorcycle trip we believe that a range of between 400 and 500 kilometers per day may be sufficient. We insist that it is your first trip. Many more are coming behind, so you don’t want to drink the whole road in one gulp.
How much fuel will I need?
Deciding an average number of kilometers per day to travel will also help you plan the complete route. If this times you have 4 or 5 days off, a simple multiplication will give you a complete trip of between 1,600 and 2,500 kilometers. We tell you this so that you can roughly calculate the cost of fuel. One tip is to add between 10 and 20% reserve to that expense.
Why? The way we drive, the roads we choose and the state of them (traffic jams, detours not considered, works, etc.) will have a direct impact on fuel consumption. Surely you keep a weekly record, but we are talking about a new situation, which you do not control and you should be careful. Think that if your calculations are well done and you do not throw the reserve, you can give yourself a tribute or save it for the next adventure.
How many times do I have to stop?
Regardless of whether you travel 100 or 500 kilometers a day, you should include stops every 2 hours to rest. Do not skip them because the more tired and sore you are, the closer you are to suffering a fall or an accident. That includes any kilometer point or distance from your destination. That ‘total, I only have 5 minutes or 5 kilometers to get there. I’ll take it’ is not a good idea.
What is a good routine is to do some stretching every time you get off the bike. Legs, arms, hands, neck and back will thank you very much. Another recommended practice is that you start your route first thing in the day, clear and with good light conditions. Not only will you drive better, but you will live the luck of the early riser: you will see more things, with more tranquility and, if you like to try the local gastronomy, you will eat better because you will ‘be hungry’ earlier and you will avoid that time when restaurants are pecked and the service is much more overwhelmed.
The bike: tuning
The General Directorate of Traffic expects that during this Holy Week there will be about 15 million long-distance journeys. Among them, a large part will feature motorcycles. In addition to the good coexistence with other road users, especially cars and trucks, it is important that you make sure that your machine is ready. Many of the accidents are caused by a lack of maintenance. In our blog, we have covered this point profusely on several occasions, but as a reminder, our recommendation is twofold.
Before starting out
Do the checks yourself on main elements like:
If you want to do an in-depth review, it is best to go to your trusted workshop where they check other types of elements such as:
. Air and oil filter.
During the crossing
It is always convenient that in your luggage you make room for a tool bag with:
BASIC TOOL KIT
Puncture repair kit.
. Wire, duct tape, and electrical tape.
. Set of screwdrivers.
. Small Hammer.
. Allen key set.
. Scissors and Army Knife.
. Mini battery jump starter
Motorcycle accessories: comfort, communication and confidence
Increasing your comfort when you ride, having good communication throughout the route and being able to move with maximum confidence when you park your motorcycle and dedicate yourself to exploring the place you are traveling to are, in our opinion, the three values that should guide your choice in motorcycle accessories. We call them the three C’s and it’s worth at least taking a look.
How can I make my companion comfortable?
There are bikers who are perhaps used to traveling alone without problems, but things change when they do it with a passenger. If traveling in company can already be complicated … imagine riding a motorcycle. It is true that it gives a lot of freedom, but we will not deny that the routes in such a small space must be organized very well so that the popular saying does its job and the touch does the affection (and not quite the opposite). In the end, the comfort of your partner will result in your own and in the smooth running and safety of this first trip.
Our suggestion is that you invest in a backrest and a seat cover. It will not involve a significant outlay, they are very easy to assemble, reusable and can mean the difference between a trip in harmony and a trip to hell. With a good backrest, your companion can take a more natural posture and rest his back. Of course, keep in mind that you will have to acquire one that can adapt to your make and model of motorcycle or fit in the rear trunk that you carry, if you have, of course.
For its part, the cover will make the trip more comfortable and will not experience two quite unpleasant sensations: the first, getting off and noticing the sweaty pants and, the second, having the ass like cork after several hours on the motorcycle. It goes without saying that these types of covers can also be placed on the pilot’s seat.
Is it worth it to invest in an intercom?
It is not mandatory, but if it gives you the budget, it is a more than adequate option to face trips alone, as a couple or in a group. There is no color, really. If you choose an intercom model that does not complicate your life with the Police, we assure you that you will not want to travel without it on your next outings.
We summarize some of the benefits that they can bring you.
For solo routes
Communicate with your companion by voice without the need for gestures or blows on the back.
Listen to the same music by synchronizing both intercoms.
Depending on the model, listen to your favorite radio stations.
For group routes
Communicate, with your companion if you have one, and also with other motorists who travel within the group within a radius of between 1 and 5 kilometers depending on the make and model.
Lifetime navigator or road map
Without wanting to offend anyone, more and more road maps are left for romantics or people who get very, very bad with technology. We highlight the bad because it is currently difficult not to learn to use a browser. The manufacturers seem to make them for all audiences, from the most geeky and technological bikers to those who started the digital revolution two days ago.
Another thing is that you prefer to face your first trip in the old way, but what we want to transfer you is that you do not give up on them because you think they are complicated to handle.
Among the reasons to consider buying a browser, the main one is the control it will offer you at all times. Without distractions in the middle of the route and with punctual information on radars, meteorology, location of gas stations to refuel or the state of the road, to name some of the most practical and well-known services.
However, we like to highlight a key functionality: the preparation of the trip. You can put your browser to work even before you get on the bike. For example, with the Tom-tom Rider 410 Premium Pack version you will be able to plan your trip calmly and in detail from your home computer, and if there are several of you, share the plan via Bluetooth®. Knowing by heart where you are going to go contributes to your safety and also to better modulate expenses (fuel, tolls, rest areas where to eat, etc.)
Do I take my lock with me on vacation too?
Of course, the enemies of others never rest. What’s more, it gives us that on vacation they do overtime, so if you want to leave your motorcycle with some peace of mind in a place that you do not know, do not hesitate, an anti-theft is a great idea to point on your list.
Baggage: less (not always) is more
When we talk about luggage we always remember that great phrase pronounced by the architect Mie’s Van der Roe in the last century and that has ended up becoming a mantra for almost everything. Less is more also in your motorcycle luggage? If you choose well yes. If you give up protection in favor of making room for other things no. To make it clearer, we offer you some clues.
. Your jacket, pants, boots and gloves must always wear approved protections.
. Choose clothes that are versatile. For example, with removable linings or that are well behaved during most of the year. They must always be waterproof (in case it rains) and breathable (in case it is hot).
. Limit wild card items. A raincoat, boot covers, a balaclava take up little space and can get you out of a tight spot. The army of old t-shirts to go pulling down the road and releasing ballast is worth up to a point.
. Bet above all on utility. What protects you in an accident or a fall is useful. It is a selection method that will never fail you.
Is it advisable to carry a backpack on your back?
The truth is that not because it will end up straining your back and that will negatively influence your riding. Think that you may have to wear it for more than two hours. Also, in a possible accident, it is better that you do not carry anything that could impact you.
The options for not having to carry your luggage like this are many and varied. A couple of weeks ago we made a special luggage with several options. Among all, we highlight you, an extendable suitcase like the Shad SH58X with three positions (46 liters, 52 liters and 58 liters) to adapt the luggage to your needs and / or uses. If you have a backpacker soul, you can always pull a tank bag that will not put your back at risk.