Riding your motorbike abroad – Part Three

The Bike Insurer's American road map 700px
Picking a destination is tough when planning your road trip abroad however it’s just as important to think about the route and the stops you’ll make along the way.

Get your destination and work backwards

When you’ve settled on your end point, where you intend to spend most of your time on your holiday, you can decide where to make scheduled stops and stayovers en route.

Not only does this give your trip a bit of structure and help you become aware of how long each day’s riding will be, it also stops the stress of trying to find suitable places to rest each evening.

We suggest using a route finder service to get an idea of the route you’re likely to follow from your home to your destination.

From there you can see what obvious options lay directly on the route home and those that lie a little off your proposed route.

How many miles in a day?

oddometer

The amount of miles you cover in a day really depends on what you feel comfortable doing and on the type of motorbike you own.

If you’re attempting a long road trip on a sports bike, you’re going to struggle to get more than 300 miles done per day because your rear-end and back will feel horrendous.

On a tourer, a motorbike built for lengthy slogs, you’ll be able to get 300+ miles in comfort however then there’s the issue of fatigue.

Between 250 and 300 miles is about right but you shouldn’t feel pressured to ride that far or for that long. Take your time.

Different riders get tired after different lengths of time in the saddle. If you know how long you can go before becoming tired (which is very dangerous on a motorbike) then it will be easier to break your journey up into more manageable chunks.

Six hours riding a day is a maximum for most people and within that six hours there should be good breaks, not just to get fuel for your bike, but also to stretch your legs and get fed and watered.

How many stops should I make?

The number of stops you make is very much up to you and the length of your journey.

What is just as important is to be flexible and to factor in unexpected stops and delays. You might get lost or have to go in search of a cash machine or pharmacy, so don’t bite off more than you can chew in terms of distances per day.

Where should I stop?

Where you stop off depends on two main things:

1. What you want to do?

If you’re simply after somewhere to get your head down for the night after a tiring day in the saddle, then you can stop almost anywhere, as entertainment isn’t a concern.

If you want a bit more entertainment in the evening or a wide choice of restaurants, then obviously you want to get away from roadside hotels and into cities and towns.

2. The type of accommodation you want

If you’re camping then you need to sniff out camping sites available along your route but remember you’ll need to lug all the relevant gear around with you.

If you’re after somewhere a bit more upmarket then towns and cities are again your best bet.

Petrol stops

Petrol station stop
You won’t get very far on your road trip if there are no petrol stations along your route.

When planning your route, check out your petrol station options and, more importantly, know how many miles to the gallon you can get out of your motorbike.

By doing this you will know how far you can travel before you’ll need to fill up and where the nearest petrol stations are in the area.

Mix it up

Not every day needs to be the same when you’re on the road and your stopovers should probably dictate the pace you set.

Some days, cut your riding right down, particularly if you’ve got somewhere nice to stay and look around.

Likewise, if there’s a lovely mountain road to swing your bike through, maybe give yourself a bit more time on your bike.

You don’t have to go on the same route to and from your destination, either.

Look at mixing it up on the way back. This way you’ll get to ride on different roads and visit different places.

Satnav for your motorbike

Satnav

There are lots of satnav options for your motorbike that make riding through Europe and abroad a breeze, however they can sometimes get you lost.

Roads are always changing and GPS signal can go missing so you should always carry a backup map and know your route.

Some satnavs can give you little warning about upcoming turns and if you’re not prepared for them you can ride right on by.

If you’ve learnt your general route, and read up on the junctions you will be using, there’s less chance of being surprised and getting lost in the French countryside.

Be flexible

There will be some minor hiccups along the way, whether that’s a problem with your motorbike, road works getting in the way or simply liking a stop off point more than you thought you would.

Be prepared to change your plan if you need or want to.

The benefit of a motorbike holiday is that it provides you with freedom and flexibility; don’t stick rigidly to your pre-determined plan if you don’t want to.

Enjoy it

Remember, you’re travelling by motorbike because you enjoy riding, so don’t forget that the travelling is supposed to be a part of your trip.

Don’t think of it as a means of getting from A to B but an enjoyable, exciting and picturesque way to see your country of choice.

Next page: Travel insurance for motorbike tours and holidays