We are at the middle of the winter here in New Zealand and many of us, apart from the occasional weekend day trips, are preparing for the spring and summer time multi day tours.
It takes time to learn from our own mistakes, or from other other people’s mistakes, and plan and prepare more or less perfectly for the “big” summer trip.
I have collected a few ideas what worked for me. I hope these can help you as well.
- Have a packing list for every trip and save it for the future. I am an extreme example, I have all my packing lists back for almost ten years. When I am going to somewhere, I pick the last list from a similar trip and going through on it critically. What did I use from the list? Pack it again. What I did not use? Leave at home this time. Was anything I missed during the trip? Do not forget this time.
By know I don’t really need to think much about packing. Most scenarios were played over a few times and packing is brought down to the essential. You can ask, why I am not sharing my list? Simply because everyone are different. What works for me, maybe doesn’t work for you. I am sure, you will figure out things quickly on your own.
- Choose the right trip for the motorcycle you have. Yes, you can ride through gavel toads on a Kawasaki ZX10R, but there is a very slim chance, that you will actually enjoy it. Experts say, choose the motorcycle for the most challenging part. If you ride 5000 km and 1000 km is off-road and single track, you are better off with a 600 or 400 cc light dual-purpose motorcycle than a Versys 1000LT. At the same time the opposite is also true. For a 7000 km road trip a 250 cc single cylinder bike is not the best choice. I hear the voices saying, “I did it.” and “Yes, you can.” and it is true, but how much will you en joy it? Do you want to remember, and recall later the struggle from one day to the other, or the joyful riding?
Many of us are having one motorcycle only and we don’t want or can’t change it frequently. I am certainly belonging to this group, and I rather plan my own trips to suit me and my ride than follow others’ path.
- Wrong riding gear. I am talking about “adventure riding” only now. Leathers are great on the track or on a sunny Sunday afternoon, but on a week long trip it is questionable. Here in New Zealand, you need to be prepared to all 3 seasons (1), in every season. Make sure your gear is layered and have sufficient protection all times.
What works for me is a textile jacket with removable lining or a thermal jacket, MX body armor, long sleeve t-shirt or turtle-neck, t-shirt and a rain jacket what I can pull over all of this. These layers can be combined and changed easily even at the middle of a trip.
- Gadget mania. Do not take too much gadgets withbetween you. Multitude of special containers and boxes, phone, tablet, laptop, compact camera, SLR camera, action camera, 8 different charger, drone, etc. Are you going to use all these enough frequently to worth carry it? I see the point in using a drone at a certain spectacular spot, but worth it carrying it for 7 days? Do you really need a laptop and tablet?
You are supposed to be busy with riding and at the end of the day enjoying the location and/or nature and not doing business, editing videos and photos. For me a smartphone is enough. Anyway, very likely on the country side you have no phone coverage and Internet connection on most places. On the other hand, if you can’t leave work behind for a few days or even for a couple of weeks, don’t go. Your mind will be constantly occupied with thoughts around your work, and can take away not just the pleasure of riding, but also present a safety concern if you are not turning 100% of your attention to the betweenbetweenriding on the road.
- Connected to point 4, too much weight. A lot of small things will come together to a humongous weight at the end. Be practical. On an adventure ride, it is really matter if you need to lift a 250 kg motorcycle, or one which weights “just” 200 kg. An overloaded motorcycle will be only “pain under your backside”. You don’t need 3 pots and 2 pans.
One deep pan with a lid and a metal mug always served me perfectly. Be critical of your gear. There are very few things what is a must to carry. The rest will be maybe missed, but you can go on without it. Since you have your packing list, you can add the dearly missed stuff to the packing list of the next trip.
- Riding too much or too little in one day. It is hard to tell how much you should ride one day. It is depending on the rider and the road/terrain you travelling through. Know your limits, have frequent breaks and you will figure out what works for you. A good idea to keep your riding plan flexible as possible. If you need to rush to catch a plane, train or ferry, your holiday will turn into a crazy cannonball run.
(1) If I want to be honest, the NZ weather is going around an early spring – summer – late autumn, early spring again cycle, at most of the North Island.