Top 10 Touring Tips
When touring with us at Steel Horse Moto, we like to speak with all of our riders up front, ensuring that we don’t force anyone into any hectic riding days or situations where they’re left feeling uncomfortable about anything. However, here are few things you should consider when touring with a group to help ensure that you have a great time each and every day of your trip.
Here are our top 10 tips to consider for your next long distance motorcycle adventure:
1. Bring the right gear
As we’ve mentioned previously in other posts, being prepared for the extremes of weather can make or break your day. Take a look at our post on preparing yourself for inclement weather, with a bunch of helpful tips on the topic. Probably the most overlooked thing we see riders forgetting to do though, is being prepared for wet weather and a change in temperature at all times. It’s always a good idea to carry your wet weather gear and something warm to put on under your jacket, close to where you can get to it quickly. It may look all blue skies when you set out in the morning, but that can change quickly! Don’t get caught out in rapidly changing weather!
2. Stay hydrated and fed
You wouldn’t ride your bike on an empty tank, so equally, make sure you keep yourself fuelled at all times as well. Staying hydrated is the single most important thing you can do. It helps keep headaches at bay and on hot days that can be super important. Heat stroke can really ruin your day and you often won’t realise you’re about to cop it until it’s too late. So drink plenty of water on every riding day, even if it’s overcast and you’re not feeling thirsty. And especially if you’ve had a one too many at the local the night before. A pint of water before bed in this case is always a good idea too. Now when it comes to eating, as tempting as it is it can be, it’s a good idea to dodge that big burger and fatty fries. Riding on a full stomach (guilty as charged) can leave you feeling tired and sluggish, so your best bet is to eat lighter and more often. Carrying a few good quality snacks with you is always the best idea.
3. Stop for a break... often
On all of our tours, we ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a break; be it for a photo opp., a coffee, a bite to eat, or simply to stretch your legs. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that you take a break every now and then so you don’t wind up feeling fatigued while you’re riding. And if you are getting drowsy and feel the need to make a stop even when the group isn’t, don’t think about it, just do it! Better late than never as they say.
4. Wear ear plugs
A lot of people don’t realise how noise can actually take a lot of the energy out of you on a long trip. Just a cheap set that quieten everything down enough to take the edge off can make a big difference. A full-face helmet is always a good idea too as they do a great job in blocking out a little sound. And as an added bonus, they will also help you stay warm in cold weather, and they're much better at keeping you dry and providing clearer vision in bad weather than an open face style of helmet.
5. Consider your wheels
The Steel Horse you ride for the duration of your tour is important. If you’re travelling large distances over multiple days, while you might like the idea of riding a more nimble sportster, perhaps something larger and more suited to touring will be better. Comfort is an important factor on long adventures and while your trip will no doubt be remarkable on any Harley, the right bike can really influence how tired (or not) you feel at the end of the day.
6. Treat yourself
Australia has some of the best produce, meat and coffee in the world. The selection of craft beer (less additives = less of a hangover!) isn’t half bad either. Do a little research ahead of time on the cities and towns you’ll be staying in overnight. Even some of the smaller towns have some amazing chefs and dining options, we really are spoiled here down under!
7. Talk to the locals
Aussies are an easy going bunch, yet also very friendly at the end of the day and usually up for a good chat, or to give out some quality local recommendations. So say ‘g’day’ to the bloke behind the counter, or the fella at the end of the bar. You may just get a good chat and a laugh or two out of it, or even some decent local advice. The kind of advice that leaves a remarkable and lasting impression on you.
8. It’s not a race
Touring is a marathon, not a sprint. So when you’re riding with a group of like-minded people, you’re going to have a better time sticking together as a pack and experiencing things together. The real magic happens when you share it with someone else.
9. Don’t compare yourself against the next person
This applies to any time you ride with other people and not exclusively to touring, but never push yourself into an uncomfortable situation for the sake of keeping up with a fellow rider. We all ride at different levels of experience and touring isn’t a competition, it’s about having an amazing time and enjoying yourself every step of the way. So stay within your comfort zone and don’t push yourself, take the time to take it all in and make sure you arrive comfortably and safely at your destination at the end of each day!
10. Last but not least
Talk to the team at Steel Horse Moto! One of the major factors in us doing what we do, is to enrich the lives and experiences of our fellow riders and help ensure they have the holiday of a lifetime. So whether you tour with us or not, if it makes your next trip to Australia a better one, we’ll be glad to assist you. So hit us up.
A final note…
Keep in mind that we wrote the above 10 tips with consideration to riding in a guided tour group. If you’re planning on doing it on your own or with a mate or two, there are a lot more things to consider that we take care of for you on our tours. Knowing your routes, servicing your bike, your bike’s roadworthiness, tyres, carrying luggage, a support vehicle, a First-Aid kit and knowledge… the list goes on. If you are going it alone on your next adventure, before you set out, we highly suggest you check out other articles floating around out there for more helpful tips and tricks on long distance riding.
Iva Madderom - Steel Horse Moto