Understandably, I’m nervous about undertaking a long, solo motorbike tour.
The question is, what exactly am I afraid of?
Pretty much everything would be the short answer! I have no experience touring, no experience camping and no experience of motorcycle maintenance. The roads are mostly unfamiliar, the Sat-Nav is brand new, even the laptop is relatively unfamiliar; so the chances of something going wrong are mounting…
Examples of things that could go wrong:
Collision with another vehicle
Accident on unfamiliar roads
British “summertime” soaking all my (uninsured) gear
Not being quite ready to completely leave my comfort zone, my first ‘big trip’ will be a figure 8 lap around the UK. The Bike8 was designed by the test riders at Bike magazine and incorporates some (maybe most) of the best biking roads in Britain. It’s a properly British 4-6 day motorbike ride, the details of which were published in a supplement (called Epic Rides) in the summer of 2012 – and you can win a badge if you provide evidence of completing the route (Gold for the whole thing, silver for the Northern or southern loop).
You know what they say, fail to prepare; prepare to fail. Well, I’m totally new to solo traveling and I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so I’ve been sorting out my gear list for almost a year now!
I’m probably packing too much stuff but my first trip is just a week or so around the UK, so that should give me a chance to figure out what I do and don’t need. For the benefit of others attempting something similar, or if you’re just curious, here’s a non-exhaustive, detailed look at some of the more important items on my gear list:
First of all, here’s the whole shebang in bullet points, it’s more for my benefit than yours but some of the more idiosyncratic options are described in detail further below – with links and pictures and everything!
Motorbike (kinda obvious but you’ve got to start somewhere)
So; I’ve never camped before, never toured on my motorbike before, never driven abroad. Nevertheless, I decided I’d like to see as much of my home planet as I can and I’d like to start by riding my bike around Europe.