Motorbike Tours: What You Need to Know

For many, the idea of a motorbike tour is like a dream.

There is the freedom of the open road, limitless places to visit and explore and the thought that you could simply pack up and leave whenever you felt like it.  The reality however is very different.

Depending on the countries you travel to there are certain requirements which need to be met, for your own safety you have to take along a certain amount of provision and so on.

Whilst that doesn’t mean that you have to lose some of the excitement of heading out on a motorbike trip, it does mean you need to take some time to properly plan and prepare:-

1. Decide where you want to go

This should be the first point to consider when planning a tour; what country or countries do you want to visit, how long do you want to be gone for, what sort of things are you interested in seeing and doing whilst out there?

Once you have some idea of this, you can begin to plan a route.  Whilst you don’t necessarily need to be tied down to a route once over there, having a basic idea will serve you much better than if you turn up with no real destination in mind.

Map of Europe with drawing pin

2. Know your limitations

This doesn’t just mean the suitability of your bike for the terrain you will be travelling on (we’ll cover that later) but more your own riding ability.

If you’ve never ridden through snow before, for example, you might want to stay away from some of Europe’s mountainous areas or make sure you are at least travelling with someone who has the relevant knowledge and experience.  Be realistic about your riding abilities and plan your trip accordingly.

Gordon's Yamaha against a Norwegian mountain backdrop
image from The Arctic Rider

3. Allow for breaks

This is something which could be included in your route planning or left until you arrive depending on how flexible your itinerary is but allow yourself some downtime.  Not only will this not throw everything off kilter if something goes awry with your bike, but it will also allow you to rest properly if you’ve been riding for long stretches at a time.

Allowing time for breaks will also give you the opportunity to explore an area more fully or even just find a place to put your feet up and kick back for a short period of time.

Two bikers sitting on a wall enjoying chips

4. Service your bike

It is imperative that your bike has a service before you go, especially if you plan to ride for long distances.  The last thing you need, even if you have the relevant insurance, is to break down when you are abroad.  Tires, controls, oil and fluid levels, lights etc should all be properly and fully checked.

A Yamaha bike closeup

5. Stay Safe

The rules of the road are different for every single country so be sure to swot up on your country of choice before you arrive.  You may also need to pack additional items to ensure that you are complying with road safety laws (such as carrying a high-vis jacket, and breathalysers when biking in France).

Rider and Pillion on a seaside road

6. Have fun

In and amongst all of the planning and staying safe and making sure you take adequate breaks etc make sure you relax and have fun.  Hitting the open road and exploring a foreign country is something many people only dream of so make sure that you take the time to actually enjoy yourself whilst out there.

 

Have you been on a motorbike tour recently? Perhaps you’re planning one?

What piece of advice would you give to your fellow bikers?