Going for a long trip is the dream of every rider. Leaving behind all the worries and tensions, just riding your heart out and exploring the exquisite beauty of the world. There are several things to be kept in mind before going for a long trip. This article will help you prepare for a trip, especially the newbies.
COMPLETE INSPECTION OF YOUR BIKE: The very first thing to do before any trip is to check if your bike is 100% ready. Take your bike to the nearest service centre before the trip (would be wise!). Check the brakes, tyres, chain sprocket, oil, headlight etc. It’s better to spend some cash on servicing your bike rather than regretting later in the middle of the trip. Just like Valentino Rossi once said, ‘The most important thing is to have a good relationship with the bike… you have to understand what she wants’.
A MAP AND A PORTABLE GPS SYSTEM: Always have a physical map with you. You can do away with mobile applications like Google Maps but in India, you’re not bound to have mobile signals everywhere (here’s how to use Google Maps offline!). A portable GPS is very helpful but might cost you a bit. There are also few models that are available online for less than INR1,000.
RIDING GEAR: This includes riding jacket, helmet, riding gloves, pants, and boots. A right-sized all-weather jacket with reflective material should be bought. The jacket must contain certified hard armour. A light-coloured helmet with a scratch-resistant visor of at least ISI standard must be used. Gloves with only mesh are not recommended as the material gives no protection, however, gloves that are all-leather including palm side is highly recommended. Leather riding pants are always preferred but a good pair of jeans will also work. But never go for bell-bottom jeans or anything that can hinder gear shifting or braking. A pair of long boots without heels (flat soled!) will help in long trips and will give you maximum protection in case of an accident. Proper rain gear will help you from getting soaked and have you going.
ACTION CAMERA: It’s great to capture the memories of your journey. It would be impertinent to not mention GoPro cameras and mounts, but there are cheaper alternatives to document your journey seamlessly.
EARPLUGS: The noise in the helmet while riding a bike is very loud. Using earplugs will reduce fatigue and irritation to your ears. Earplugs can be bought online and won’t cost much.
BLUETOOTH HEADSET: Using a Bluetooth headset will help you in turn to turn navigation. Adding this facility to your helmet is not very expensive. If you are going in a group then this would be very helpful since all of you will be connected in real-time.
PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR: This is very important because you don’t know what kind of weather you’re going to face. It could be foggy, rainy or dusty. The eyewear will give a clear vision of the road and will protect your eyes. There are special types of riding glasses with UV protection. These glasses, like goggles, have a strap. Thus, it does not bring any discomfort while wearing a helmet.
BIKE TOOLS: This includes a small frame-mounted tyre pump, tire patch kit, Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and a small torch. Lubrication oil/ spray for chain sprocket would come handy. Prepare an emergency kit before you hit the road so that you’re prepared in case of a breakdown.
Also, acquire a little knowledge on how to repair your motorcycle (the simple hacks and puncture fixing!). Also, carry a swiss army knife with you. It’ll help you in many ways. Assured!
EXTRA GLOVES: In case your first one rips, it is better to have a second pair. This is of utmost importance since our hands and neck are two of the biggest places where we can control our body temperature and having the appropriate gear for both is very important.
DOCUMENTS: Always carry the following documents with you while travelling. The documents include:
- Certificate of Registration
- Certificate of Insurance
- Driver’s License
- Emission Test Certificate
Make sure you don’t leave any documents at home and please do carry the originals of the above-mentioned documents while travelling. Besure to keep the Xerox copy (attested version!) and the original safe and separate. The Motor Vehicle Act permits a period of 15 days within which the RC is to be produced before the officer who demanded the same, but if you’ve left the documents to say, back at home and were asked about it some 750km away, it is better you cancel the trip!
WATER: Around 80 percent of the brain is water. It is important to make sure it gets enough, as it is liable to interfere with your concentration and other cognitive functions. But not more, you don’t want to die of hyponatremia! Always stay hydrated. Always have a bottle of water with you. You’ll easily get dehydrated during the long rides and will lose focus which could be fatal. Keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.
TOILETRIES and DUCT TAPE: This one is not that important as you could buy it on the way, but it’s good to have what you will need before you start. Now, toiletries are on the list because some of the hotels where you’re going to stay might not provide these. So, it’s better to carry your own.
Now, imagine your indicator breaks and is hanging on its wire. This is where the duct tape comes in handy. Just tape it till you reach the nearest workshop. Duct tapes will help in situations like these.
POWERBANK: I don’t think I need to mention this since power bank would be the first thing that everyone would put in their backpack nowadays. Carry a power bank that has a power of more than 15000mAh. For the shutterbugs, carry a two-pack battery and charger kit or just replacement batteries. Both are easily available online. You can also charge on the go if you get your bike a charger outlet.
FIRST AID KIT: It is a good idea to carry a first aid kit. It could help you or your travel partners or a fallen stranger. A first aid kit could help you from certain minor injuries and will help you until you reach the nearest hospital.
LIQUID CASH: Lastly, carry some amount of cash with you at hand. most places won’t accept credit/debit card. In case if you have to bribe someone, a credit card is not going to work (not promoting anything here!).
Always be prepared for the worst. Bike riding is not an easy thing. Carry the important items and you don’t have to worry about anything. There is nothing like riding a bike; the feel, the pleasure it gives and freedom it brings are unmatched. But remember you’re not the only one on the road. So, ride safe, enjoy it and always wear a helmet.
Elizabeth Mathew is a digital journalist and a photographer. A life-long generalist, she writes for various blogs covering digital entertainment, social media and tech. She can be followed @raisamathew