By Wamuyu Kariuki
A quick glance at the traffic update on your local platform and you can almost tell how long it will take you to get to the office or that meeting place with that friend. These estimates are way easier when riding a motorcycle than when driving. A motorcycle saves time and it’s just fun riding to anywhere. That’s why riders take the long way to their destination. A short ride, such as the above does not require too much of prepping. You only need to do the basics and daily routine of checking referred to as TCLOCS. This means you check Tyres & wheels, Controls, Lights & electrical, Oil & Fluids, Chassis and side stands every time before riding your bike.
However, if you are preparing to ride a couple hundreds of kilometers for hours long in a day, you need to be more prepared. If you are planning, weeks, months or years of riding away from home, you need even more prepping.
Here are some pointers in preparing for a long intense ride. But don’t ever pack like me 😉
- How long will you be riding? If you will be spending a night or more away, you will need to pack some light weight comfortable clothes to change into later. Riding gear is heavy and uncomfortable when off the bike. Your body will also need to relax after the tiring ride and that can only be possible in some comfortable clothes. Check the weather of the place you will be staying to pack appropriately. Flip flops, light closed walking shoes, slacks, an extra Tshirt and a warm hoodie makes a perfect outfit. If you will be doing any other activities like hiking, ensure you pack complimenting clothes to avoid carrying too much. For example, hiking suits are light and easy to pack and can be worn as day wear too.
- How many kilometers do you intend to do in a day? There are many factors to put into consideration when deciding the kilometers to travel in a day. Some days you are able to do more while other days it’s way less depending on the following:
a) Your motorcycle– bigger motorcycles have more torque and move faster while smaller ones do less.
b) Weather – wind, rain and extremely hot days will slow you down.
c) Tough terrains – it’s different speeds and time when doing off-road than when riding on road. Off-road is very taxing on your body and so you likely to get tired early and do less kilometers. Map your routes well and know your capability and ability. Plan to ride the kilometers you are comfortable doing in a day.
- Map your route and study it well. This is especially if you are doing the particularly route for the first time. Ensure you have studied your route well and have your maps ready with you for referencing if need be. Garming, Google maps and Maps.me are good for navigating. We use Google maps and Maps.me.
- Check gas stations and restaurants location on your route. You will need gas, a restaurant and a bathroom at some point in the day. Check the distances apart especially for petrol stations to avoid running dry. If there are no restaurants and petrol stations for a long stretch you may need to carry extra gas and a snack if your tank is small for the distance. The best is always to always refill before the start of the journey. We have done stretches of over 200 kms with no petrol stations but we are lucky to have about 350 kms on a full tank. Also keeping low speeds helps to save on the fuel you have. 80-90kph is good when you are not sure of getting fuel.
- Carry water and snacks with you. Ensure you have water with you at all times. You do not want to get dehydrated on the road. Having snacks with you is good and helps to avoid heavy meals in between the rides or incase there are no restaurants on your particular route. It’s easy to feel sleepy and sluggish if you eat heavy meals during a long ride.
- Ensure you have loaded your phone with calling and internet units. Besides having an emergency, you want to let your loved ones know you are safe and be able to make reference online should need be.
- Have contacts for emergencies and let your friends or family know your route. Carry a dog tag or have this information easily accessible Incase of emergency.
- Download off-line maps for ease of access and reference.
- Start early to avoid night riding.
- Factor in time for for bathroom breaks, refilling fuel, meal time, unexpected traffic and photos.
- ALWAYS do your TCLOCS and remember to oil your chain. It gets really dusty and dry on long distance rides.
- FINALLY AND THE MOST IMPORTANT– Always have a well kitted first Aid kit with you. This includes any other medication you may be on. If you have any prescription medicines, carry a prescription with you just in case you may need to purchase more medicine.
Wamuyu is our WRWR Ambassador for Kenya and she is currently travelling with her husband and their two motorcycles around the world. if you want to read more and follow the adventures of the couple, head over to: http://www.throttleadventures.com/ | https://www.wamuyu.com