Touring-guide – PART I

Getaway trips are a bikerÕs delight as they rejuvenate you. Here are a few pointers that will help you make a long trip safe and memorable

Any kind of trip requires some amount of planning which involves various things that need to be checked and prepared. The destination and the route should receive top priority as these two factors will ensure that half of your planning is done already. While planning the route, you should also consider a few alternative routes incase the primary route is closed or inaccessible after some point. Next, find a good hotel. If you are headed to tourist hotspots then pre-book a hotel through the internet or the phone as doing so saves time and effort while finding shelter. If riding in a group it is advised to confirm the time, the place and the date of departure with fellow riders. Also, check the weather forecast well in advance as well as on the day of departure.

You can never have a great experience if your bike is not properly maintained. Start with the tyres. Having a good set of tyres ensures a safe and comfortable ride experience so replace the tyres if the tread is worn out. Also, maintain the recommended tyre pressure as it is as vital as the tread itself. Another important aspect is fluids. Replace the engine oil with fresh oil as old fluid loses the ability to lubricate the engine internals efficiently. Check and top up the brake oil too. Next on the list are brakes. Ensure that both the brakes are functioning like clockwork and replace the liners/pads if necessary. Other vital checkups include lubrication and adjustment of the chain, battery health and charge, electrical parts and clutch, speedometer and accelerator cables as well as clutch play. Look out for rusty and old parts and replace if need be. Remember that regular maintenance of the bike proves beneficial in case you are running short on time.


A proper tool kit, a puncture repair kit and spares are a necessity while touring

These are the small but practical things that will make your life much easier on the move. If you are done planning, now is the time to arrange and pack the essential stuff. A first aid kit should be at the top of your priority list. Second, get a set of practical saddle bags that will provide ample space for your clothing. Saddle bags are also equipped with pockets which can store water bottles, however, you can also carry a hydration backpack. Also, get a tank bag which comes in handy to store things like the bike’s legal documents, (it is recommended to take the documents along when venturing out on a long trip) maps, area guides, camera, wipes and soap. Communication devices such as cell phones become a necessity when travelling through deserted areas as they can get you out of a situation in the middle of nowhere. A GPS device is recommended for travelling on routes that you aren’t familiar with. Nowadays, GPS navigation systems built specifically for motorcycles can be purchased easily and be mounted on the bike with minimal effort.

Not every one on the planet is a mechanic, however, carrying simple tools along will help you sort out small issues that might pop up on the go. It is recommended to carry the tool kit supplied with the bike and an Allen key kit for minor repairs. Always carry a tyre puncture repair kit along with proper spanners to take the wheel out, if needed. Other essential things to carry include chain lube, spare bulbs and cables.


Ensure that all the electricals are in order as these basic things can prove to be lifesavers on the run Lubricating the chain makes it flexible and lends a smooth ride

Maintaining the right tyre pressure will ensure that the ride is comfortable as well as fuel efficient Check the oil level and replace if needed or just top it up if you have changed the oil recently Check the grooves on the tread and if the tyre is bald, it would be wise to replace it

Long trips often involve a high risk of accidents so having all the protective gear in place becomes important. Hence, you should always carry a quality helmet with good ventilation, an all-weather riding jacket and pants plus good quality boots and gloves.

Before you get all charged up and excited about the trip, make sure that your bike is ready to roll. If it needs any kind of service or maintenance, get it done at least a week before the trip. Make sure that your motorcycle is ready in every way as a bike that is not in optimum condition can give you problems in the middle of the ride. Once the bike is taken care of, ready your luggage. Make a checklist of all the essential things and get them ready the night before the journey starts. Carry enough cash along with you apart from credit cards as many petrol pumps and eating joints on the highway might not be equipped with swiping machines. These small pointers will ensure that you start your trip on a happy note.



A basic first aid kit that is supplied with the bike should be enough in case of a minor injury Good saddlebags along with a tank bag should be adequate to pack in all the necessities


A quality rain suit is recommended if planning to visit wet weather habitats It is a good idea to pack rehydration drinks like these along with ample water before venturing out Good quality riding gear is essential and should not be compromised with on any account

Touring is often easier said than done. Undertaking a long ride doesn’t just mean sitting on the bike, wringing the right wrist and eating up the miles. There is a lot to be taken into account, especially if you are a first timer hitting the road for the weekend. Long rides extending into days, like venturing into the Rann or the Himalayas, need serious preparation. Your motorcycle, like all machines, needs care and love. Even if it has had a recent service, having a quick look through various things like the electricals, chains, brakes, etc. is essential. Next on the list is you, the rider. Be fit and get enough sleep before starting off in the morning. Carry essential medicines especially the ones you need often as they are hard to find in remote places. Do not overload your back by carrying heavy backpacks. Instead invest in a set of tank bags and saddle bags. For back up, carry a puncture repair kit, engine oil, fuses, etc. on really long journeys. In the end, do remember that sometimes all it takes is common sense and faith in your set of wheels to conquer almost any and everything.'

Bike India Team – who has written posts on Bike India.

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