By Alan Liptrot
It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people set off on a long tour without making sure that their bike is in the best possible condition it could be.
Having your motorcycle serviced before a long tour could save days of heartache, especially if you are planning a trip abroad. In some countries, garages aren't always as motivated as you are when it comes to getting your bike back on the road.
Sometimes, the whole holiday can be taken up waiting for repairs. Don't forget to carry spare bulbs.
Make sure you have the right clothing.
Even in summer months there is a possibility that mountain roads can be subject to some nasty weather. It could be forty degrees or it could be less than ten, and it's a guessing game that you would be wise to avoid.
This is when a guided tour with a luggage-carrying back-up vehicle comes into its own. Another advantage of a back-up vehicle is the access to water if it does become very hot.
Don't try and cover too much ground in one day.
Many people who set out on their own, forget to allow time for refreshment stops. There's nothing worse than arriving at your planned destination in a state of exhaustion, then quickly eating and climbing into bed.
A few consecutive days of this will see you wanting to ditch your bike and catch a bus. Be reasonable with your itinerary.
Is it a race or a motorcycle holiday?
Another downer that could happen whilst on tour, is being pulled by the local police and hit with a huge speeding fine, and in some countries I mean huge.
Always, but always respect the traffic laws and speed limits, and this applies if you're touring in your own country too.
When planning your route, make sure you go somewhere interesting.
It's all very well spending the day on fantastic country roads, but when you wash up in that one horse town and you're sitting in bar all by yourselves, you'll wish you'd put a little more thought into the route.
Again, if are traveling with a guided tour, someone else will have done all the homework for you.
What time of year are you planning to take the tour?
Bear in mind, especially if you are traveling to a mountainous region, that even when the sun is shining on the coast, it can snowing in the mountains. In summer, you're probably going to be fine if you remember to carry the right gear, but be careful in spring and autumn, or you may just have to pack a snow shovel.
I know that you've been set free and are determined to enjoy yourself, but believe me (here speaks the voice of experience), it's no fun crawling to your bike with a raging hangover, a mouth that feels like a monkey slept in there and a splitting headache.
For your own sake and the sake of the people you are traveling with, go easy on the booze.
We've talked about the condition of your bike, but what about you?
You owe it to yourself to feel as well as you can during your tour. I'm not talking about launching into some kind of marathon training before you embark on your trip, but the better you feel, the more you'll enjoy yourself, so if it means shedding a few pounds, it's well worth it.
Besides looking after yourself, it's also a good idea to keep an eye on your traveling companions during the tour. It's always worth asking how someone feels, especially if you know them well and feel they're not quite on the ball.
You're in an incredibly beautiful mountain pass, the high peaks have a coating of pure white snow punctured by the most graceful pines you've ever seen, and guess what; you forgot you camera.
This scenario is not as uncommon as you might think. Before you set off, and I don't mean in the hour leading up to departure, make a list of all the things you're likely to need on your trip.
I know you want to travel light, but you can always cross things off the list, but you can't magic them out of thin air once you've started.
This could be the most important one. Go with friends who'll understand when you get lost, tired or irritable. Better still go with a specialized tour company.
Alan Liptrot is the founder of www.motorbike-tours.co.uk The Company offers guided motorcycle tours in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. We will guide you through the plains and mountains of Southern Europe and North Africa. The tours can be seen at Motorbike Tours
Article Source: Ezine Articles