Setting out on a motorbike trip alone can be overwhelming. Where to go, what to ride, how to get there and what will it all cost!? Throw in adventure riding and doing it all alone and it’s going to involve even more tricky variables. Don’t let it turn you off though. There are a few particular things that any adventure rider should be aware of before setting off. Solo riders will be the entire crew of their expeditions and will need to pay extra special attention to these details.
Research and Plan Your Journey
The first step in any self-guided motorbike journey is to take your time planning. Luckily, motorbike riders are a talkative bunch and the web is awash with stories and forums to gather information from. Some articles have incredibly detailed route guides portraying some of the globe’s most far-flung and exotic locations. Others are not so informative. Either way, before your next solo expedition, scour the internet to see where others have been first.
The cost of adventure riding is going to be one of the biggest considerations for most. The rental or purchase fees of the bike, fuel and the potential repairs are all going to be added to a normal holiday. Keep in mind, if you’re travelling alone there’s no splitting costs of hotel rooms or sharing grocery bills.
Other details such as licensing, insurance, visas and fees at border crossing are often overlooked but need to be considered. Before you consider this stuff though you’ll first need to narrow down your options and choose where you’ll go.
Best Countries for Adventure Touring
Every region in the world offers great opportunities for adventure riding. However, it goes without saying though that some countries, for several reasons, will be a little easier than others.
Countries in south-east Asia such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand are very biker friendly nations. These tropical jungle nations are well-known in ADV riding and solo motorcycling circles. India, famous for its classic bikes, offers some stimulating riding across its glorious northern mountains.
Australia is more expensive than previous places but it’s also the world’s easiest continent to circumnavigate. The highways are fast and then there’s the beaches, forests and plenty of desert for off-road action.
Europe, with its vast natural and cultural beauty, makes it a popular place for two-wheel exploration. The US, despite being a single nation, is just as vast and socially diverse. South America and Russia are also becoming popular countries for adventure travellers.
Best Bikes for Solo Adventurers
Firstly, there is no perfect bike and it’s worth noting that a great solo adventure can be had on almost anything. Good advice though is to use a bike within your limits and experience level. The roads you plan to ride and their topography must also be taken into account. Anything less than 250cc for long-distance and mountainous adventure riding will reveal its limits pretty quickly.
Secondly, stay away from the more exotic models and stick to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. The more basic and common a bike is the easier it’ll be to get fixed while on the road. Parts will also be more prevalent and cheaper. Riders will also need to consider whether motorbike rental, purchase or shipping their own from home is best.
Using Maps for Cross Country Travel
When travelling alone it’s important to know where it is you’re going as there will be no-one to guide you. Google Maps is your best friend on a solo motorbike trip and you should definitely click here to get yourself a motorbike phone holder to help you check your GPS on the go. Don’t follow it blindly though as you’ll miss some cool things. Deviate from the planned route where possible and enjoy exploring the unknown.
Technology should not replace them but be used in conjunction with regular paper maps where possible. Most riders find them much easier to read and store. Plus you can write on them, take notes and get your bearings much easier.
In some places, you may wish to consider alternate routes and avoid highways and busy roads. It’ll probably be safer and provide a chance to slow down and better appreciate your surroundings.
Lastly, be mindful of how long each stint on the bike will take. You may need to carry extra fuel and water and you must make sure you can account for any time while off the bike.
Safety Gear for Adventure Riding
Safety gear is always necessary on a great motorcycle trip. Solo riders need to be even more serious about safety gear as help may be far away and harder to reach. First of all a good quality helmet and suitable jacket and pants are important. They should allow comfort in the environment your riding and protection for the type of roads you plan to be on.
Riding boots should be tough and provide protection to the ankle and lower shin. Gloves will have additional armour on the knuckles and backs of the hands for added protection. Extra body armour and knee/shin guards are highly recommended. Hydration packs and tinted goggles are often undervalued yet make a long motorcycle trip much easier and safer.
Precautions and First Aid When Riding Alone
When riding solo, it’s a good habit to inform your family or friends of your itinerary. While it can be a pain make a habit to contact them before and after a stint. This is particularly important if going off the beaten path. You’ll appreciate you did it if you ever need the help.
It’s a wise move to have your basic personal and medical details clearly displayed on your bike and/or bags. Depending on where you were riding it may also be a good idea to invest in an EPERB. If you’re going into remote places you’ll still be able to access professional help.
Another key piece of equipment any rider travelling alone needs is a small but well-stocked first aid kit. Also, educate yourself on how to support a broken bone or dress a wound as this could be life-saving. You can easily learn all you need to know by doing online emergency first aid training.
While it sounds boring, the easiest way to stay safe while travelling solo is to simply avoid unnecessary risks.
Tools, Spares and Know-how
Lastly, it’s important to highlight the need to carry a basic tool kit and a few commonly used spares. Of course, this also means that you will need to prepare yourself with some basic mechanical ability too.
Any lone adventure rider should have a puncture repair, spare tubes, tyre lever, spark plug, a few light bulbs and some grease. A set of tools is important but remember you also want to remain light with luggage. Inspect the bike, chain and tyres regularly.
So, now you have all the knowledge you need to set off on an action-packed global exploration. At the very least you should now have a better insight into what to expect. If ever planning a solo motorcycle adventure trip begin it with a tonne of research and preparation. After that hone your maintenance skills, learn to read a map and administer basic first aid and your set.