If you like road trips & you are thinking of a planning for your summer holiday, a motorcycle holiday could be the answer. Nothing beats that feeling of living the movie road trip experience for yourself.
January or early February is usually the time of year when most of us begin to plan our summer holidays & it’s usually the time to get the cheapest deals. Nothing however beats that feeling of adventure & being out on the road making new friends or riding with old pals looking for interesting places to go next. You may of just recently turned on the TV & stumbled on Henry Cole’s travel programme “Worlds Greatest Motorcycle rides” or something similar, maybe you had Easy Rider on DVD for Christmas & it inspired you & you are now thinking to yourself, you wouldn’t mind a piece of the action.
For many a biking holiday or road trip consists of weekend biker rallies where often all you need is the camping gear, a wash bag & fresh some clothes to change into & some cash to see you through the weekend – and of course directions to the nearest bar.
However over the winter we here on the Staffs Biker website hope to bring out the holiday biker with some tips & hints on planning a motorcycle road trip for a weekend or maybe you want to cruise the highways around Europe & see the world a little. Familiarize yourself with local pastime & laws (not all countries drive on the left) if headed abroad, as well as absorbing some of the culture along the way.
In the modern age, mobile phones, phone apps & the internet are a great resource for directions & bookmarking the journey as well as finding out interesting places to stop along the way or where to head next. Geography is so much easier these days than it used to be & often with many motorcycle holidays you don’t need to sift through the travel agents brochures to plan a holiday, just pick a time & destination & go… although it’s not quite so straight forward as that. You may also need to have a 12v hook up to your handlebars so you can charge that sat-nav or phone if not relying on your map reading skills.. plus now you need somewhere to mount it so it can be seen…are you going to need a tent or find a hotel… will i have enough time to get there… plenty of things to consider & plan before turning the key & firing up the engine to head off into the sunset..
With all that in mind I’ve put together this brief quickfire 4 part plan. Feel free to print or bookmark this guide & use it when necessary / required. We hope to bring you more travel advice or tips in future site updates or posts, but for now this should help a little
Part 1: Picking The Destination
- Work out how much time you have for your road trip
- Work out where you want to go as your final destination & time you wish to spend there.
- Consider how many miles you could ride each day comfortably & your own endurance levels.
- Factor in fuel stops, meal breaks & when to stop for a rest & allow extra time if you get lost.
- Break up the journey depending on the miles you can cover in each day.
- Make a long trip fun by looking for places to see, things to do & places to sleep along the way.
- If with friends, it may help if one follows by car or van to take the camping gear & belongings.
- Make sure your bike(s) is fully serviced & reliable enough for the entire journey.
- Make sure you carry enough cash or a suitable card to visit an ATM or to pay for things.
- It makes sense to join a breakdown organisation that covers your route should anything happen.
Part 2: Looking at lodging & overnight stays
- Carefully consider overnight accommodation in advance, camping, staying with friends or B&B
- Factor in the weather.. cold, wet, soggy nights camping out are no fun if it’s been raining all day.
- Consider a mix of camping or B&B – a room may be the only way you have access to bath or shower
- Pick a location to sleep where you can secure or pack the equipment & bike safely overnight.
- Use internet search engines & trip advice sites to source amenities & if you need to pre-book a stay.
- Websites & reviews for locations you consider staying at are useful to find what suits your needs.
- It’s often courteous to email places to see if they are biker friendly or object to you staying.
- In advance, always try to catalogue any costs such as camping / hotel fees or parking charges.
- As well as charges for accommodation, fuel, food etc, remember any ferry times & prices as well
- Always be friendly & courteous – remember you may have to stay there again on the return journey.
Step 3: Stopping along the way.
- You or members of your group might need to stop in certain time or distance intervals for fuel
- You may need to eat or rest and you will need to find places & plan along your route accordingly
- Call ahead to find out about places to stop.. some may not be shown on maps or some may be shut
- If a friend is following by car / van, a spare can of fuel or some food is always good to take along.
- Read reviews on restaurants & cafe’s – as above – a call to see if they are biker friendly can help.
- Carrying cycling type drinks bottles is always an option, but you may need to stop more often.
- You could always stick to known chain restaurants for ..eg McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut etc.
- Consider taking a set of PMR446 radios & headsets to communicate with each other on the trip.
- Instead of PMR radios, Mobile apps such as Zello provide a walkie-talkie type use for small groups.
- take a look at the riding in a group tips & adopt one of the methods to stay safe & prepared.
Step 4: Maps and Roads
- Plan a trip on a map.. google maps or similar are also handy as it can be accessed by smart phone.
- If planning using an online map or sat nav, save & bookmark destinations & stops in advance.
- Using a map can also be useful to find interesting roads or landmarks to see on the journey.
- Always carry a paper map or printout map should your sat-nav or phone lose signal or power.
- Make copies of maps if riding in a group & ensure each member has one, should they get lost.
- Using a mobile app such as Waze or Here maps is a good alternative to using Google maps etc
- Do a static dummy run of the journey on the map software by clicking “get directions”
- Highlight anything confusing or time consuming & allow extra journey time as necessary
- Be aware that some maps don’t show one way streets, access for motorcycles or road closures.
- Factor in some spare time for roadworks & diversions etc causing unforeseen delays on the trip.
If you feel there is anything we’ve forgotten or if you would like to send us your biking road trip or holiday tips, please feel free to send them in to us. You could even send us an article about a road trip you’ve been on & what you experienced that could be added to the site if you wish so others can see what can or will happen on a biking holiday & of course the journey.. which is half the adventure.