- Written by Carole Nash Editor
- Created: 21 March 2014
We don't know about you, but we've been counting down the days 'till we can jump on our motorbikes without having to think about packing our 'just in case' waterproofs.
And as this winter has been, shall we say, a little wetter than usual, we've kept ourselves going by planning our adventures for when the sun finally decides to come out and (hopefully) stay out.
No matter what kind of trip you're planning – be it a home country cruise or a month-long overseas adventure – there's always loads of preparation. So, to help you out a little, here are a few touring season preparation tips.
Travel as light as possible
Look at any other touring tip list and it'll tell you exactly the same. Pack only what is absolutely necessary for your trip, and make sure you plan in advance where it's all going to fit. Depending on what you're riding, you'll most likely need a tail bag, saddlebags and tank bags. Use similar techniques to suitcase packing: roll your clothes up tight and weigh your bags after they've been packed. You should make sure that the total weight of your bags do not exceed the recommended limit of what your bike can carry (the owner's manual will tell you this). Tail luggage racks will also have a weight limit so make sure you take this into account. Always pack a spare key and an emergency tool kit.
It's all very well travelling light, but don't leave behind important bike bits in favour of packing a couple of extra shirts.
Load it up
When it comes to loading the bike, make sure the weight is evenly distributed and don't overload the rear. If you think you'll need wet weather gear, put it near the top so it's easily accessible. Where necessary, secure with straps and/or bungee cords. A cargo net is particularly handy for soft luggage or where a separate waterproof cover is used.
Check your consumables
There are many online guides to prepping your motorbike for touring. When you come round to doing it, pay particular attention to the consumables. Check the chain, sprockets, tyres and brake pads, and make sure there's enough wear left on them to last you the duration of your journey. Due to the length of time that you'll be riding when on a tour, things will obviously wear out faster, so it's important that you bear this in mind. If you're worried you might miss something, book your bike in for a pre-tour service.
Double check documents
Forgetting to pack that extra tool kit would be really frustrating, but forgetting to pack all the right documents could end your tour before it has even started. It's absolutely essential to pack your driving licence and insurance (including breakdown insurance) documents. In many European countries it is a legal requirement that you carry your vehicle V5 registration and your MOT certificate, too.
If travelling overseas, you should carry proof of personal and medical insurance and your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as E111s are no longer accepted in some European countries. You should also make a list of relevant contact details should you need them. Make photocopies of each and every single document, just in case, and pack them separately to the originals. Also check the destination country and any country that you are passing through for their rules on what you have to carry by law – emergency triangles, hi-viz vests, etc.
With any motorbike tour, you must make sure you have the appropriate cover. Our policies feature European cover of up to 90 days as well as UK and European accident and breakdown recovery, which is perfect if you're planning an overseas trip.