With fewer people wanting to use public transport and more seeking affordable alternatives like motorbikes to tour around the UK, it’s important to bear in mind that your safety – and the safety of others on the road – should remain your number one priority. We’ve put together a list of things to bear in mind when you’re touring on your bike.
1. Don’t let the scenery distract you from your safety
The scenic views are one of the biggest pulls for touring, but with them usually comes winding country roads and uneven or unpaved surfaces. If you find a particularly idyllic spot, why not make a stop, take in the view, and explore the surrounding area for a while? This will help ensure you take regular breaks, which, incidentally, is our second tip.
2. Take regular breaks
Motorcycling is surprisingly tough on the body and the mind. As a result, make sure to take regular breaks. This helps ensure that you remain alert and attentive to your surroundings when you’re riding.
3. Know your limits and make them clear to other riders
If you ever feel pressured by other motorcyclists into riding for longer than you’d prefer, or for riding at a speed you aren’t comfortable with, you’ll know how stressful this is.
It’s always best to discuss your limits and the number of miles you want to travel each day before going on the tour. Not doing so can be detrimental to your safety – plus, it can put unnecessary pressure on you when you should be enjoying yourself.
4. Pay close attention to the road ahead
Make sure to pay close attention to the road ahead of you – we know this can be difficult if you’re travelling on winding roads, but it’s a great way of anticipating any hazards and acting accordingly.
And if you’re touring in more rural areas of the UK, you might even come across wild animals or livestock crossing the road.
5. Ride single file
Whilst riding in formation looks cool, it reduces the amount of lane space each biker has. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to respond to hazards on the road without colliding with other riders, or – at the very least – putting other motorcyclists at risk.
6. Make sure to stay hydrated while you ride
Dehydration can creep up on you fairly rapidly, so it’s important that you hydrate on your breaks. Dehydration is extremely dangerous when you’re operating a vehicle as it can cause drowsiness, slower reaction times, and an inability to focus, all of which would make it dangerous to ride a motorcycle.
7. Use earplugs
Riding for long periods when its windy can actually do a surprising amount of damage to your hearing. It’s best to bring some earplugs along so you can pop them in if the noise is getting to you. Of course, this might make it difficult for you to communicate with your fellow riders, which brings us nicely onto the next point…
8. Agree on a few signals with your friends
Shouting at the top of your voice to your fellow riders will quickly make you hoarse, and chances are they won’t hear you over the roar of the engine anyway. Instead, agree on a few signals you can all use with each other to communicate. Signals for things like “pull over”, “let’s take a break”, “hazard ahead”, and “we’re turning left/right” will go a long way in ironing out any communication issues.
9. Wear bright colours or reflective gear
Touring for longer periods of time will have you riding in all sorts of weather conditions, so it’s important that you dress appropriately. This means you should wear bright or reflective gear, especially in low light conditions, so drivers, riders and pedestrians can see you easily.
10. Plan for various weather conditions
If you’re travelling around the UK, even the summer months aren’t impervious to a drop of rain. Make sure to pack a raincoat or other waterproof clothing. It can also get pretty cold on the road, so be sure to bring an extra sweater or two.
11. Get the right insurance
Last but not least, make sure you have the right insurance policy in place before you head off. At Bikesure, we offer touring bike insurance for exactly this purpose. This way, even if you don’t have a solid destination in mind, you remain protected wherever you go.
We offer a wide range of features, from agreed value and accessory cover to breakdown and recovery options and legal cover up to £100,000. Just give us a call on 0330 123 1028 to find out more, or request a callback.