MOTORCYCLING TOURING TIPSPosted On: August 24, 2018 By : AutoLife Team
We assume that either you ride a motorcycle or have ridden one or at least you know someone who rides. Anyways, it’s pretty evident that the dynamics of commuting through the hustle and bustle of city traffic and riding on the highways are completely different and are worlds apart. We’re used to swerving and maneuvering around busy streets at relatively low speeds in the city but with the urban lifestyle that we are so used to, there’re only a handful of instances when we’ll be going through the highway, maybe for touring or you just hate taking the bus for long tours. But for the sake of this article, let’s just go with touring.
Like we said earlier, the scenario in the highway is very different. The roads there are open and vehicles will be travelling at their cruising speeds which usually average to 100 kmph. Slip at those speeds travelling on a two wheeler, you’ll be the human version of a bowling ball. But of course, that shouldn’t deter you from going out there. We doubt we need to tell you that, so, let us just get to what you’re really here for which is how you can be best prepared to go the distance:
First of all, turn on all your senses from the very start of the journey. You don’t want to be doing that when there’s a truck 10 feet in front of you, seriously that can happen. Stay conscious of what’s going on around you and spot for hazards around you so you don’t get in a pickle. It doesn’t hurt to be alert.
PLUG ’EM UP
Did you know you can fatigue from all that air whistling around your helmet? Yep, not kidding, the thing is that your brain has to process all that noise while you’re on two wheels which can drastically drain you mentally. So, what’s the solution then? We recommend to use ear buds or helmets that can reduce wind noise but since those usually aren’t cheap, we’d recommend ear plugs. Don’t worry about not missing out on the auditory experience of riding. There are ear plugs these days that are designed to block out low frequency sounds like loud exhaust and wind noises which are the energy vampires and just allow you to hear high frequency noise like sirens and horns.
We don’t think we have to tell you to always wear protection or mention how important it is to have it on. Wait, just to make sure we’re on the same page; we’re talking about riding gears. But of course, the other protection is also equally important. If you want to know more about Riding Gears, we’ve got all the nitty gritty details on them in our Riding Gear Series, so don’t forget to give it a read.
So you’re travelling at cruising speeds of 100 kmph and you’re enjoying that wind hitting your chest. Well, those winds are actually affecting you in a way you wouldn’t normally expect; they tend to drain your body from its water and you get dehydrated quicker than usual. Also, you might sweat underneath your riding gear which means you’re losing water there as well. The dehydration will cause you to lose focus which can mean the difference between life and death out there, so drink water my friend.
Now, you’re out there enjoying your tour and at the same time you’re alert so you won’t be facing a truck 10 feet in front of you but what if you’re shoes are laced too tight or your nether regions are itchy? It’s at those times when your focus can shift and you get distracted. So, you’ll want to take measures possible to keep yourself comfortable while you ride. Having riding gear that fit snug and are appropriate for the kind of climate helps. If you have a problem with sweating then try wearing sports specific inner wear. They’re very good at wicking moisture and dry quickly which makes it easy to clean after a long day of touring.
The best form of protection is the one that prevents the situation in the first place so, make sure you’re always visible out there. Sometimes a truck driver might not be alert so he’ll accidentally be on course to being 10 feet in front of you. So, you’ll probably want to do whatever it takes to not blend into the background. Try using colors like fluorescent yellow, cherry red (like a Ducati), white etc.
You can save yourself a lot of trouble by taking your ride to the mechanic a day or two before your tour starts. You just might find an accelerator cable that’s about to snap or realize it’s only a few kilometers before the brakes completely wear out. You can also take this opportunity to have some basic maintenance procedures done like lubing the chains or cleaning the air filter.
We do not mean eat light as in eat a lightbulb but what we’re trying to say is that it’s a good idea to have light meals while you’re riding out there. Having heavy meals before a ride may cause you to feel drowsy or lethargic since your body needs to increase your blood flow down there and ultimately affecting your defense against having a truck come 10 feet in front of you.
You are not going out there to win any races. We know, we know the open roads and those beautiful curves beckon at you but your priority is to reach your destination in one piece. Set a pace and make sure it’s a pace that’s within your skill level. It’s usually over confidence that’ll take you to the highway to hell.
Now, you’re probably thinking that you don’t need to plan cause you’re good at coming up with a solution on the spot. Yeah that’s great, but wouldn’t it be better to know that the coming fuel station will be last before a really long stretch while you’re low on gasoline?
THE MECHANIC IN YOU
A flat tire, a snapped accelerator cable or a blown fuse are pretty common hiccups during your ride but the good news is that they’re all really easy to fix. With the help of your owner’s manual and spare tool kit you’ll be back on the road in no time. We would recommend you to carry a tire plug kit for your tubeless tires, spare fuses, spare cables and spare spark plugs and worry not, they’re all very affordable.
THE RIDER’S CONDITION
You can have the ultimate two-wheeler to take you on your tour but ultimately, you are what’s controlling it so it’s important you’re in good shape health-wise when you’re going out there. You don’t want to be riding with loose motion or having a headache while you’re looking out for trucks.