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Pack for a Motorcycle Trip
Pack for a Motorcycle Trip
Packing For a Motorcycle Trip - Top Ten Tips
By Alan Liptrot
It's always a problem knowing what to pack for a motorcycle trip. Fortunately, that feeling of utter freedom we get when we are riding our bikes far outweighs the problem of limited luggage space. Having said that, the problem doesn't go away, but by applying a little thought, it can be overcome. Here are some tips to make life easier on the road.
It's tempting to throw as much as possible into your panniers, but remember, every ounce you pack onto your bike reduces handling qualities. Add to this a pillion and the needle on the pleasure-ometer begins to swing to the low side. Of course, there are some things that you can't do without, but the keyword here is need. Take what you need and nothing more. If you are going on an organised guided tour, the company should (if it's worth its salt) have a back-up vehicle that will carry your luggage.
To optimise the handling of your bike, place heavy items at the bottom of your panniers.
Before You Go
In the weeks leading up to your planned tour, begin making a list of what you might need to take with you. At this stage, it doesn't matter if the list is too long; you can always cross things off as the time draws nearer. By using this method, you will ensure that the things you take with you are what you really need. You will also reduce the risk of leaving behind an essential item.
Unless you like riding for hours with a rucksack strapped to your back, it's invariably better to have panniers and back box. Detachable panniers are great; they can be unhooked as carried like a suitcase. Belt bags are also popular for carrying things like money, credit cards and mobile phone.
Packed and Ready to Roll
To Roll or Not to Roll
You'll have to decide this for yourselves, but personally speaking I prefer to roll my clothes before placing them in a bag inside the panniers. Other riders like to lay things flat, but it doesn't work for me. Some bikers like to use zippable plastic bags that are sat upon to squeeze out the air before they are sealed. They claim that the vacuum keeps their clothes crease-free, but of course, I'm just not heavy enough (hee-hee).
Tank Bags are fine and some of the expandable ones can hold quite a lot of luggage, but it does take the fun out of it a little bit for me. If you're going on a tour with a back-up vehicle, you only have to put up with the tank bag until you reach your starting point, then someone else carries it for you; great.
Plastic Sealable Bags
It's always good to keep your smelly socks away from your good clothes. How many times have you gone into your luggage and found that you can't decide whether you've worn those socks once before or not?
Very often small items are forgotten, such as; mobile phone charger, camera, camera batteries, first-aid kit, toiletries etc. This is when list-making comes into its own. If you're going to a hot country, don't forget your insect bite/sting cream. Something I always carry is a pack of tissues; I know it's just a small item, but it comes under 'Essentials' for me.
If you get as excited as I do prior to a motorcycle tour, please pay extra attention to making sure that you are carrying your bike documents and driving licence. If you are going overseas, don't forget your passport, or you'll be turning around and going home. .
Unless you are heading for some remote region, there will always be a chance to buy things that you forget, but you aren't really going on a shopping trip so try to remember as much as you can. No doubt, there will be something you need, and it can be fun finding these things in a foreign town, but if the list is long, it can become tiresome.
Well, you've packed and you're on your way. Have a great time and ride safely. May the roads be long and winding, and the sky blue.
The original article, along with other motorcycle articles can be seen at http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk. The website is dedicated to motorcycle touring in Europe. The tours can be seen at http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk/tour.htm