Wednesday, 31 October 2012 6:22 PM
Taking your bike on an overseas motorcycle holiday is a great way to experience different countries and cultures. However, just like with any other break that you take, it's important you plan a biking trip properly so you do not only have an amazing adventure, but you also stay safe.
Of course, it can be easy to get carried away dreaming about the sights you intend to see and not give proper consideration to other essential, although perhaps less glamorous, matters. Here is a rundown of some of the things you will need to take care of before you go away.
Get your bike serviced
Whether you are planning on spending a couple of months exploring the roads of Europe or are just going away for a long weekend, it's important to make sure that your bike is in good condition so it will last the journey.
This means that you ought to take your vehicle in for a thorough motorcycle service well in advance of your trip so that any problems can be spotted and rectified by an expert mechanic.
As obvious as it sounds, you certainly don't want to run into any technical difficulties while abroad if you can help it. Not only can this put a dampener on your break, but – if the problem is a particularly big one – you may also struggle to find somewhere in the destination where your bike can be fixed, particularly if you're going to be travelling in a place where English is not widely spoken.
No matter where you're going to be travelling to or your level of experience on the roads, you should always wear the right safety equipment while abroad.
However, if you're visiting a hot country it can be tempting to not wear the likes of a helmet and leather trousers in an effort to keep yourself cool, especially if you see locals riding around in shorts and without head protection. If you were to do so though, you would substantially increase the chances of suffering a serious accident, making it is a risk that is simply not worth taking.
Read up on your destination
Before you set off, you'll need to plan your route carefully – the last thing any motorcyclist will want to do is get lost in an unfamiliar country – so it's worth using a sat-nav system to establish which roads you ought to take. However, these items may not always be totally reliable, so you should also take a traditional paper map with you as a back-up.
You'll also need to familiarise yourself with the motoring laws of the country, or countries, you are going to be riding through. The speed limit is likely to be different to that of the UK and, depending on where you go, you may have to drive on the right-hand side of the road – which can affect everything from how you approach junctions to checking for blind spots.
Take out comprehensive insurance
Ensuring that sufficient motorcycle travel insurance is in place is another essential thing to take care of before sitting down on your bike and heading overseas.
In exactly the same way as when searching for cover for riding on UK roads, you need to spend time comparing policies from a range of insurance providers so that you get a comprehensive plan at a competitive price.
One of the most important things you'll protection for is medical cover – it's advisable to get this to the value of at least £2 million in case you have an accident on the road and need to be taken to hospital by air ambulance. Having a good standard of cover for travel delays and stolen baggage, meanwhile, will help to negate any financial loss that may occur should the worst happen during your trip.