Note: This is an older post! We have resurrected, updated and re-published it for all of you who would want some basic tips for long rides.
Taking your bike for long rides is an art to be practised and preached. For bikers who buy bikes just for this purpose, it becomes part of their life as well. This trend of tourers on bikes is becoming the in thing these days.
Here are a few basic tips to ensure you have a memorable and enjoyable trip…
1. Frequency of Fuel Stations: Even before you start, surf the net or ask people who travel very often along that particular stretch of road on the frequency of fuel stations. Though, most of the National Highways have such stations situated all along the route, there are certain stretches which will leave you wanting when you really need to fuel your bike. This planning is required more if your route includes more remote areas.
2. Check Air Pressure: The air pressure in the tyre will play a vital role during long cruises. See to it that it is properly maintained all along the journey.
3. Keep an Eye on your Baggage: This is important. Travel light. Keep your luggage or baggage (whatever) as minimal as possible. That doesn’t mean that you should leave most of your essential stuff at home and suffer. Also, it is very important to remember the fact that the bag has to be tied to the grab-rail (or hooks) properly.
It shouldn’t keep moving here and there all through your ride. The reason for me to stress on this point is because of an incident I saw. I came across a guy along NH-7 who met with an accident owing to the fact that his bag came sliding all the way sideways and at one point he lost the balance and flipped along with the bike. Lucky was he that there was no vehicle coming behind him. It is even worth to invest in a saddlebag if you are a frequent rider. There are specific bags that are now available. One such quality bag we know of is Viaterra Claw.
4. Speed Comfortably: Find the speed that you are best comfortable with. Every rider will have a speed at which he/she (I don’t wanna ignore the opposite sex) can cruise at ease. This will of course vary from rider to rider. Once you find it, cruise comfortably at the same speed. This will also enhance your control of your bike.
5. Learn how to remove the wheels of your bike: There is a huge possibility of your bike getting punctured on your journey. This will lead you at an awkward situation, basically nowhere! The puncture shop would be a few kilometers away from the spot.
So, in such cases if you can remove the wheel by yourself, you can seek the help of other passers-by to reach the shop, get the puncture done, come back and fix it. You will feel its importance only when you face this. So, better listen to this. There are hell lot of videos which teach you how to remove the wheels. Watch them and learn the same. Don’t ever think you are not a mechanic to do that. Practice it; would be of great use to you. Another pointer here is to use tubeless tyres! Until your puncture is real big, they allow you to ride your bike for certain kms before they go completely flat!
6. Choose a proper bike: It is very important that you ride the right bike. It is not advisable to ride around 500 kms or so at one shot on a basic commuter bike. It’s just because that these bikes are not designed to cater to this purpose. If you are about to travel more than 800-1000 kms, prefer a liquid cooled bigger capacity more powerful bike. Not that our regular 150-180cc bikes can not do it, but you would be better off on an apt bike!
7. Check for all the lights: Before you are all set to begin your journey, just check once if your headlamp, tail light and the turn indicators are working properly. All these 3 lights are damn important when you go for a long ride. Do not take things for granted. Not functioning of even one out of these 3 will lead to confusions to the other riders on the road and above all it is not safe for you as well.
8. Be Well Lighted: Ensure you are well visible everytime. During the daytime, natural light will take care of it but it is during the dark you will need to take extra care. Try to ride around with a jacket which has well-lit and clear reflectors. Check your motorcycle’s reflectors and ensure they are properly fitted. And, if you have saddle bags at the rear, try to put some radium at the extreme ends to ensure the car/bike coming from behind spots you and your total width! You can also apply some reflecting material on your helmet!
9. Basic kits: There will be a tool kit and a first aid kit in the small area allotted for tool boxes in your bike. All bikes will come up with these two basic kits. Make sure that both of these are in place. The tool kit will contain the essential tools which you will require at times of breakdown or a puncture. Similar is the case with the First aid kit. Though, very basic stuff only are available in it, it will come in handy at the time of a mishap on a highway.
You can also keep extra stuff – tools and medical kit with you if you are not satisfied with what is provided.
10. Frequent Halts: It is advisable to halt every now and then all along the journey. Stop for tea breaks which would enable you to stretch yourself. This is important as this would offer you a sense of relaxation, thereby offering you a better riding experience. You can make your own stop points at regular intervals. Try to stop for at least 10-15 minutes in every two hours at least! Remember this will also help your bike. Also remember not to stop at some deserted place. Try and take halts on roads which are occupied.
11. Safety is Prioritized First: The last point is the most important. Remember you are riding for your own pleasure. It is not at all recommended to race along or cruise at very high speeds. This would suck off your energy literally and you will not be in a position to continue your onward journey. Wear your helmet all along. If there is a pillion rider, it is mandatory that he/she wears it as well. Make it a point to wear approved and good quality safety gear like riding jacket, boots and gloves.
Apart from this try to chose a faired bike when you are travelling on long open highways. Not that this is mandatory but it does prevent direct wind slashes hitting you directly and you become less tired!
Follow these tips and have a safe biking experience. Enjoy your long ride and treasure every one of these. And do share all your experiences with us and our readers as well.