17 Things to Remember When Planning a Bike Journey

‘If you want to be happy
For a day, drink,
If you want to be happy,
For a year, marry.
If you want to be happy,
For a lifetime, ride a motorcycle’

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There is no other time you come closer to ultimate freedom and bliss than when you’re on a bike. Leaving the world behind, mile by mile, you’re in your own fantasyland where nothing else matters but your bike, the road and you. With the wind in your hair and the world speeding by, painting a blurry but beautiful portrait, a bike trip becomes a panacea for all the nonsense that we harbor in our lives.

Image Courtesy: Pravin Kumar 

Planning that memorable bike trip is a meticulous job. A number of things need to be borne in mind before you can take off like a dare devil on the road. Your first bike trip is going to be the ideal learning curve for your subsequent trips. But to prepare you with the essentials, here are our most handy tips for planning a motorcycle trip anywhere around the world.

1. Carry protective gear with you at all times.

Don’t take your protective gear lightly. When you’re spending hours at a stretch on the bike, it will seem like a blessing to have these basic things with you. Make sure you have these things for sure :
- Riding pants
- Riding jacket
- Riding boot
- Helmet
- Neck brace
- Rain gear
- Earplugs
- Scarf
- Swiss knife
- Sun block
- Sunglasses

2. Save on space smartly

Don’t pack like you’re travelling with lots of boot space. Scrutinize your belongings and filter out the thrash. Don’t pack outfits, pack layers. You can pack smartly by not just rolling up your clothes but trying to use substitutes innovatively. For instance, use your battery backup as your main charger. Your Bluetooth headsets can be attached to your helmet, making it easier for you to communicate on the go. Identify things that you might be able to do without and are likely to get on the way too. Pack the absolute essentials only.

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3. Carry appropriate amount of cash

It makes sense to come to terms with the fact that your credit/debit card might not be useful along the way. Many remote places do not have ATMs and many small establishments do not accept cards. It is better to carry some cash with you at all times. Scatter your currency instead of keeping it in one place.

 Image Source: pixabay.com

4. Basic stuff to repair bikes

If you don’t already know how to, it is absolutely imperative that you learn how to make some basic repairs on your bike. Carry your bike’s manual along with you and these basic accessories to help you deal with any emergencies:
- clutch cable,
- front and rear brake pads,
- spark plugs,
- light bulbs,
- fuses and a master link for the chain,
- stainless steel wire
- Puncture kit
- welding solution
- Tool kit

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5. Carry enough supplies

The keyword is ‘enough’. It’s easy to go overboard, imagining that you might need everything under the sun. These are some essentials that will definitely come handy:
- Backpack hydration system so that you can hydrate on the go
- Woolens that don’t take much space
- Blanket that can double up as a sitting mat
- Snacks like peanuts, energy bars and biscuits
- Portable Water filter so that you never fall short of water
- toilet tissues,
- devices like GPS, phone etc
- camera gear, (extra memory cards)
- fork and spoon,
- Chapstick,
- weather radio (if you’re in a region where the weather changes rapidly or if you’re travelling long distances)
- Portable stove

6. Don’t forget the paperwork

As boring as it sounds, this one is important to remember. The essential paperwork to carry is:
- Permits if any,
- Medical insurance information
- Medical prescriptions
- Identification
- Manuals
- Motorcycle insurance
- Any other authorizations

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7. Take enough breaks and take in the journey

While planning for the day’s route, make sure you include appropriate time for breaks. It is, after all, all about the journey. Take in the scenery and give appropriate breaks to your legs and butt. Planning the day in advance always helps, as do targets. Having said that, make sure keep realistic goals.

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8. Eat light

It’s as simple as this, an overfull stomach makes you drowsy. You can have the last meal of the day, just before you sleep, a little heavier than the others. Eat and hydrate yourself at regular intervals. Carry small snacks with you.

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9. Understand the terrain and its population before hand

It always helps when you are prepared. Analyze what you will need based on where you are heading. Are you travelling through a rugged terrain or a smooth highway? What kind of towns fall in the way? What kind of people will you be encountering? Ask the right questions beforehand and you will save a lot of trouble on the journey.

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10. Avoid riding in big groups

This is really a personal choice. But experienced bikers will tell you what a pain it is to ride in big groups where there are all kinds of people you need to adjust to. In such cases, it is seen that budgets are often different, priorities are different and so are choices. Some bikers have a mind of their own and end up getting lost many times too. That is why, make sure you know who you are travelling with, especially if it is a long journey.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

11. If you’re travelling in big groups, it makes sense to have a recovery vehicle and doctor behind you, or else, sign up for roadside assistance

If there are more than 5-6 bikes on your trip, consider hiring a doctor to travel with you along with a recovery vehicle. It can happen that some of you lose your way and at such times, the extra cost of the vehicle seems to be worth it. If you’re a smaller group or are travelling solo, sign up for road assistance. These guys will sort you out!

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Don’t just depend on GPS. Carry a map and compass with you.

Technology is great. And it helps most times. But to depend on it completely would be a rookie mistake. As a back up, always carry a map and a compass with you too.

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13. Carry enough gear for luggage protection

In so many ways, your luggage is your life-saving kit on bike journeys. Make sure you don’t end up dropping some essential items or having them stolen with the help of some secure luggage protection gear. These will help:
- Steel loops for cable
- Zip ties,
- Bungees

Image Courtesy: Pravin Kumar 

14. Basic medicines that you are used to are a must

Always carry basic medication with you. These could be some cold and flu medication, mosquito repellents, first aid kit, mild laxative or anything else that you know you are bound to need. It is difficult to find all kinds of medication in small places.

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15. Start early, retire early

Whether you like it or not, bike journeys require you to be an early riser. To avoid traffic and extreme temperatures, it is best to start early in the day and retire to your bunking destination early so that you get plenty of rest and relaxation. You can eliminate peak traffic times by covering most of an urban city at odd hours like early morning or evening.

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16. Make it a ritual to check your bike each morning

 This one habit will help you immensely. Check
- Clutch Plates (make sure that they are not worn out)
- Engine Oil, Filters & Piston Rings
- Tyres and wheel alignment, Handle alignment
- Electricals & Battery
- Clutch & Accelerator Wires
- Carburettor Tuning
- Drive chain and Sprockets
- Swing Arm & Timing Chain
- Air Filter & Spark Plug
- Brake oil and Brake pads
- Head light, tail light, break light and indicators
- Tyre conditions

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17. On a long journey, take one day to do nothing

You might be in the pink of health but you have to know that a bike journey tires you out a lot. Give yourself one day to do nothing ; just relax and explore. This is especially useful on long journeys. You can write that travelogue, connect with people or just breathe in the beauty of a place on your day off.

 Image Source: pixabay.com

Bike journeys always give you the best of memories. When you look back, you will find yourself missing the feeling of being on the road, craving the independence that comes with it. Just being a little vigilant and smartly prepared can make your bike trip a smooth journey that will be etched in your heart forever.

You may also like to read:

Leh on Wheels- Plan the Perfect Road Trip to Leh

9 Passes in India that Inspire the Wanderlust Biker in You

Bike Trip from Kanyakumari to Kashmir

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RESHMA DEWDA RESHMA DEWDA

A hippie hiding in civilized clothes, a borderline feminist and a dreamer stuck in a practical avatar, Reshma is an incorrigible idealist who lives in a black and white world. A robin hood in her own right, she loves to come to the rescue and most times , she ends up rescuing herself in the bargain.

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