Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the latest ‘adventure bike’ to do Adventure Motorcycling, or to have an adventure; and you certainly don’t need loads of latest new gear. I follow people on Youtube that have ridden around the world on Harleys, C90’s, Vespa’s, sports bikes, old British bikes and just about everything else with two wheels. Look at the bike in your garage, if it is reliable, able to throw some Loboo duffle bags on the back and get you a few thousand miles from home, then use it!
Preparing for your big trip is fun; I find it one of the most exciting parts, planning a rough route and national parks I might camp in my tent at. Some people however get so caught up in the preparation that they never actually leave! You can never predict what’s going to happen while you are on the road so don’t even try to prepare for every possible eventuality. Taking basic cautionary measures such as arranging travel insurance that covers motorcycling, packing a first-aid kit and getting your bike in road ready shape are all well and good but the rest…well, that is in the hands of the road gods.
Making a intenary
Really? How can an adventure motorcyclist stick to an itinerary? You never know who will you meet, what you may find or a place you might hear about on the road less travelled. If you are the kind of person who likes to know where they’re going to sleep each night then this kind of thing probably isn’t for you. It’s very rare that you will find yourself genuinely out in the cold with nowhere to sleep, and if you have a tent strapped to your bike then you will always have somewhere to stay.
It’s a perfectly normal human response to finding ourselves in an alien land to feel wary of the strangers around us. However, on the whole you’ll find the locals you meet are more curious than sinister and will be keener on talking to you about what you ride and where you come from than stealing your belongings.
Take a GPS
Paper maps rule. They don’t break down. A GPS has the potential to cut down your interaction with your fellow riders. Some of the most memorable encounters on the road are a result of asking a stranger for directions. For the cost of a GPS, you could have another month on the road. If you really want to have that GPS interaction, why not use a Ram Mount with your cell phone and save the money you would have spent on the latest Garmin.
Never flaunt yourself by looking flashy
It’s an uncomfortable truth but no matter how skint you are at home, once you enter some 3rd world countries, you’re a rich rockstar. It’s hard to blend in when you’re the only white guy on a motorbike in a remote Laos jungle but it really helps if you’re not in all the latest designer gear straddling a bike that would feed the villages for 10 years. A bit of scruffiness goes a long way in building bridges and also, in not getting ripped off by locals.
Worry about money
You’ll probably be on a budget but worrying about every cent is a sure way to spoil your potential experiences. Life on the road is comparatively cheap but sometimes you may have to shell out for an unexpected cost – getting a part shipped from home or an emergency stay in a hotel for their free WIFI. Remember, you’re on the trip of a lifetime and the memories will far outlive the debt, so go on, go mad and max out that credit card. If you are camping for free, what immediate costs do you have past petrol in the bike and food in your mouth?