Friday, 4 November 2016

How to plan a motorcycle ride? | Article #1

bikes parked at a scenic spot overlooking valley and beautiful sky

Motorcycle rides are the perfect getaway for me. May it be a short ride or a long motorcycle trip, I love travelling to different places on a motorcycle and coming back with new experiences and memories. I, being a planner, like to plan by rides or trips at least a week in advance.

There may be many “Just get on a bike and go wherever the road takes you” type of people out there. But others of you are not and need a little help in planning a motorcycle adventure. And as a fellow riding enthusiast, I have come up with a few pointers that might help you.

1. Destination

The first thing about planning a motorcycle ride is the time you have in hand and where you want to go. Consider your past riding experiences and take into account how much distance you can do/have done at a stretch and also in a whole day. 

Tip - To make things easier, find out the distance your bike can do in a full tank. So this distance can be the maximum distance you can ride for at a stretch.

Once you have your destination, divide the journey into small parts. Divide the whole journey based on kilometres if it’s a short ride and based on the amount of days if it’s a long ride.
Once you have the destination and the total journey divided according to your riding comfort, add a few extra hours to the total time as a room for errors, getting lost, rushing to ATM to withdraw money or something unexpected or unplanned.

Tip - If you know that you can ride for say 300km maximum, then generally ride for only 280km as you don’t want to get all exhausted at the end of the ride and probably get sick.

a group of motorcycle enthusiasts ride on their bikes through landscapes


2. Fuel and other stops

This is another area that should not be taken lightly. If you are headed to a place which is just off a highway, or on the way to a major city or town, chances are that this route will have fuel stations, restrooms and restaurants every few kilometres. But if you are travelling to a desolate place, even google might not have any data regarding that route. So to be safe, always carry a canister full of fuel while travelling to remote places. Also carry some food and water while travelling to such remote places, in case you don’t find any on your way.

Another important aspect is cell phone coverage. While it is not mandatory for the place you are travelling to, to have cell phone coverage, it can definitely be helpful in case of emergencies or in case you get lost. There are many websites on the internet (like www.opensignal.com) which help you to find out the cell phone reception in any particular area. Though these websites may not be completely accurate, they can be very helpful in getting a rough idea of the cell phone reception in that area.

bike parked on the edge of a cliff overlooking a small town along a seashore

3. Lodging

Lodging can be considered when multi-day rides comes into picture. We all love to sleep with our bikes under the star for a thrill, but sometimes it is smarter to stay in a room at night. A well planned combination of camping in the outdoors and staying in rooms will work on multi-day trips, but then of course you’ll have to carry all the camping gear with you. Also consider your health and the comfort you require while planning your lodging.

Considering that you have planned your route properly, you can always use websites like “make my trip” to book hotel rooms. These websites help you to book good rooms without burning a hole in your pocket.

bikes parked at the end of a ghat section in a line afront beautiful nature

4. Weather

The season in which you are going to travel is another aspect worth considering. Hill stations can get very cold during winters whereas coastal areas can get extremely warm in summers. Hence, you should plan and prepare for your ride according to the destination and the season in which you are travelling.

Also, if the season is not right, travelling to certain places becomes very difficult. For instance, you cannot plan a trip to Leh Ladhak in winter as the temperatures are sub-zero and most of the roads are covered in snow.

bikes parked on the shore of backwaters of a dam

5. Maps and roads

The final step is to put all of this onto a map. I like to use Google Maps. But there are several other applications and websites that you can use to map out your journey. Just put the destination you are travelling to and select the route that you want to take. A detailed printable, sharable and downloadable map will be created for you by Google Maps.

Tip - Save the offline map of the place you are travelling to in Google Maps. This will enable you to use Google Maps navigation even if you don’t have any reception or mobile data.

Also always make it a point to get an idea of the quality of the roads you are taking to the destination. You can do so by researching on the internet or talking to your fellow riders who may have been there. This is important so that you can prepare yourself accordingly. If the roads are bad and there is no better way to get to your destination, carry a tyre puncture kit along with you.

This is all the information you need for planning a perfect motorcycle ride. In the next article, I’ll explain in detail how to prepare for short and long motorcycle rides.I hope that these pointers help you in your motorcycle riding experience. If I forgot to mention something, if there is something you would like to know or would like to add something, feel free to add it in the comments section below. Also feel free to share your riding experiences or destinations with me.

Ride Safe! Cheers!

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