Claire and I were asked to present a workshop on how to plan a moto adventure at Camp VC this weekend.
I promised I’d put up our notes and lists on the site as a blog post, so here they are…
What’s what when it comes to road trip planning from:
How to plan a route
How to prep your bike
What mistakes not to make
- Broad questions
- Concept – what do you want to do and see – what bike do you want to ride?
- Do you want to travel on your own or with other people?
- Destinations – where do you want to go?
- Point to point or circular route? If the latter – how will you get back?
- How much time and money do you have to dedicate to the trip?
- How much mileage do you want to do in a day?
- Where do you want to stay?
- Do you want to ride every day? Would you like some rest days? Where?
- Detailed planning
- Insurance for the bike (EU and non-EU)
- Insurance for and yourself (medical)
- Breakdown cover – do you need it?
- Visas, carnets and vignettes
- Consider having a website and telling people about the trip – you may be able to use social media to help with planning and equipment
- Prepping the bike
- Servicing and maintenance
- Preventative maintenance
- Luggage (doing a test pack and a test ride fully loaded)
- Navigation aids
- What to pack
Personal kit – see Claire’s kit list in appendix
Tools – see Charlotte’s tool list in appendix
- Inner tubes
- Spark plugs
- Brake pads
- Oil filter
- How are you going to decide your route and navigate it?
- Get a big wall map to use for planning
- GPS or paper maps?
- iPhone or dedicated sat-nav?
- Will you plan each day before you leave or decide as you go?
- What about escape routes/contingencies/bail outs?
- Now set a date to go and set a date to be home by
(REALLY IMPORTANT AND WILL MOTIVATE YOU TO GET EVERYTHING ELSE DONE)
- What did a day look like for us?
- Get up and work out the evening’s destination
- Plan a route there (we just used Google navigation)
- Have an idea of where to stop for lunch
- Take note of any motorbike shops en route
- We only booked accommodation in the afternoon when we were sure we’d make it there
- Be flexible on the route – if something looks interesting, go have a look
- Social media
- Consider whether you’ll blog/vlog/Insta/Tweet your trip
- Keeping your friends and followers updated has a number of advantages
- Set this all up before you go to keep daily work down
- Be familiar with the tools you’ll need to use (video kit, cameras, etc.)
- Update as much as you can, but don’t let this dominate what you’re doing
- Lessons Learned
- Never trust that the weather is going to be good and always take warm clothes and good waterproofs
- Don’t overpack – you can always buy the rest of the things you need
- If you’re riding with others, use an intercom – having that ability to talk with each other made some of the harder bits much easier to deal with
- Don’t worry if you don’t have mobile phone coverage – you can navigate offline
- Make sure all your documents are in order and easily found for border crossings (Passport, green card/insurance, vehicle registration V5C)
- Use social media to connect with other bikers in the areas you’re visiting and riding through
- Things WILL go wrong and this is all part of the experience of travelling independently – learn to embrace it, because this is where the magic can happen
- If you’re shipping your bikes back, it’s really useful to have local contacts who can help and translate for you
- If you’re navigating with a phone, make sure it’s kept waterproof and take a load of USB cables because water kills them
- Download the language packs for the Google Translate app – it’s like putting a babel fish in your ear!
Companies we used
Non-EU insurance: www.tourinsure.de
Recovery service: www.qdosbreakdown.co.uk
Hotels and apartments: www.booking.com (get the app on your phone)
www.expedia.com (get the app on your phone)
Claire’s sample kit list
sleeping bag – softie3
knife/multitool – spyder/swiss army
oil cooler kit
Luggage – waterproof soft panniers
tools – puncture repair
Clothing – knox armour, kevlar shirt
Underwear x 3
Socks x 3
Tow rope setup
Charlotte’s tool kit list
Spanners and sockets
Special tools (e.g. spark plug wrench)
Multitool (Leatherman with bit kit)
Electrical fixing kit (wire and crimp connectors)
Puncture kit (plugs/patches/CO2 cartridges or pump)