Motorcycle touring tips from RoadTrip
Motorcycle Touring Daily mileage.
Depending on your ride, your route and the road quality, you might find 150 miles of motorcycling as big a day as 300 miles. Whatever the case, after back to back rides of much over 200 miles we suggest you plan a rest day at least every third or fourth day, otherwise you can begin to feel like a long distance motorcycle courier!
If you are planning to ride every day for a week, then we suggest budget for 1500 miles at most. If you are planning to ride out for more than a fortnight including mini-breaks, you will very likely average about 100 miles a day, overall. If you are setting off on a full day’s ride, expect an average of no more than 50 miles per hour overall, including pit stops; and plan accordingly.
We have found these benchmarks to be remarkably constant wherever and whatever we have ridden.
Motorcycle Touring Documents
We suggest putting together a package of your essential documents and contact details in a zip lock bag or waterproof pouch. Keeping them with you at all times, either on your person or with the motorcycle, will ensure that you have them when you need them and that they are safe. Another back up option is a UTAG digital storage device – worn as a wristband or a dog collar. These are available on the Web. Don’t forget, you must have the right documentation with you when you take a rental motorcycle to Europe.
See the RoadTrip travel checklist
Ferries for Motorcycle Touring
Please always wait and watch your motorcycle being secured, and ensure that they put a pad over the seat, between the motorcycle and the tie-downs. Park the motorcycle in 1st gear and on its side stand (not the centre stand, if you can help it). This creates a secure tripod, giving you three points of contact, the tyres and the stand. If you are securing the bike yourself, then tighten any ratchets on the low, side-stand side of the bike. You can attach your helmet to the motorcycle either with a fitted lock or a bicycle loop lock.
Motorcycle touring Insurance & Breakdown cover (RoadTrip covers all our motorcycles in the UK and Europe)
These are essentials for motorcycles. Also you will want cover for personal belongings and medical assistance.
Packing for motorcycle touring
It is much easier to locate and store things if you pack them in a succession of bags within the panniers. As well as being an additional layer of waterproofing, you will find that rolling clothes etc. up and stuffing plastic bags is the most efficient use of limited space. Make sure that any pannier liner bags are not overstuffed – to avoid having to repack them by the roadside when you discover that they will no longer fit back inside the panniers!
Pack anything you might want during the ride on the nearside of the bike, so that if you have to stop at the roadside, you will not be standing in the road when you unpack. If you are on an overnight ferry, pack one pannier with anything you need for the ferry journey.
See the RoadTrip travel checklist
Motorcycle Touring Maps
As well as being the definitive analogue back up to SatNav., it is very satisfying when touring to sit down in the evening with a good map and mark up the day’s ride. A map is a great memento of your RoadTrip and also the best way to survey the next day’s riding options.
Motorcycle maintenance when touring
• Check tyre pressure regularly: correct pressure makes for a safer and more comfortable ride.
• Always check oil levels before the day’s ride – hot work and long rides burn oil, even in new motors.
• Check your signals and lights before setting off.
• At RoadTrip, we ask our riders to let the motor idle for a minute or two while you make final adjustments to your helmet and gear before setting off.
• Take it easy for the first 10 minutes or so of every ride to let the bike warm up.
Motorcycle Tour planning
For detailed information about RoadTrip Self-Guided Motorcycle Tours please see our Touring Page.
Back-ups, spares and distribution are the way to go. If you are riding with a passenger or another rider, split the cash and cards etc. If you travel with a second, independent credit card or bank card, then you have alternative access to cash and credit. Take care to ensure that electronic devices – including keyless ignition and immobiliser fobs are kept dry and waterproof.
Toll Roads – are few in the UK but common in other parts of Europe.
Much the easiest way to pay is by credit or debit card –keep the card and ticket handy and dry.
In Switzerland you must buy an annual Vignette in order to use the motorways – the cost is 40CHF. These can be purchased in advance on-line or at post offices and some petrol stations in Switzerland. There is no short term option, it’s an annual pass or nothing (and non-refundable!).
The same applies to Austria although you can buy a 10 day or a 2 month pass for either 5 Euros or 12.70 Euros at Motorway service stations.
Speeding and Confiscation
If you should be caught accidentally straying over the speed limit in Europe you can expect an on –the-spot fine in many places. This is about 90 Euros in France, and more in other places. Therefore, you should always carry a reasonable amount of cash with you just in case. In France all speed limits on National Routes (not motorways) were reduced in 2018. Most are now 80kph (50mph).
If you are caught doing excessive speeds then, as with most countries in the world, you can expect an appointment with the local magistrate! In some countries they will also confiscate your (our) motorcycle. After the initial hire period expires, the motorcycle (and associated equipment) is on hire to you at full daily rates until it is returned to us.
There is a zero tolerance policy for speeding in Switzerland and the fines are heavy. We recommend caution. In France you are required to carry a High-Vis Vest if you use the autoroutes.