What are you afraid of?

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
  • Injury
  • Death
  • Mechanical failure
  • British “summertime” soaking all my (uninsured) gear
  • Theft of my gear
  • Freezing to death in the wilds of Scotland
  • Finding the trip un-enjoyable
  • Going over budget

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Inaugural Trip – The Bike8 (slightly modified)

Map of my route and waypoint

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).

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Preparation: Let’s talk Gear

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)
      • Panniers (x2 – Factroy Fitted)
      • Top Box (Hepco & Becker)
      • R&G Crash Bungs
      • Sat-Nav (Garmin Zumo 660)
      • Blue-tooth Headset (Sena SMH-10)
      • Motorbike Jeans (x2 – E-Squad)
      • Protective Jacket (Jofama/Halvarssons)
      • Helmet (Reevu)
      • Hi-Vis, Waterproof Outerwear
      • Touring Boots
      • Merino Wool Base Layer (x2)
      • Wide Brimmed, Waterpoof Hat
      • Normal Clothes
      • Warm Clothes (just in case)
      • PJ’s & Underwear
      • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
      • Baby Wipes
      • Camelbak 3litre backpack
      • Waterproof Roll Bag (Overboard)
      • Bungee Cords
      • Laptop (Lenovo X230T)
      • Power Gorilla
      • Solar Gorilla
      • MP3 Player (Creative Zen X-fi)
      • Mobile Phone (Samsung Galaxy 2)
      • e-Reader (Dell Streak 5)
      • Camping Hammock (DD Travel Hammock)
      • Tarp (DD XL Tarp)
      • Sleeping Bag & Liner (Highlander Pac-Tec)
      • Hiking Poles
      • Camera (Canon 5D MkII)
      • Lenses (17-40mm, 70-200mm)
      • Memory Cards & Batteries & Chargers
      • Cokin Filters & Holder
      • Micrphone
      • Remote Trigger

 

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