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How to plan a motorcycle trip – effective free tools

How to plan a motorcycle trip – effective free tools

How to plan a motorcycle trip – effective free tools

Motorcycle Travel is Freedom! We did not fall into adventure motorcycle riding from one day to the next. Trip after trip we learned new tricks, because we wanted to have more fun and less worries. And believe when we say, some of the things we know now we learned the hard way! For many, riding a motorbike is linked with certain idea of freedom, adventure, discovery, etc. In order to experience that stress free, a certain hard work needs to be put in place in advance. The key to a great ride is to know how to plan a motorcycle trip beforehand and get the most out of it. 

 

Smart planning is free

Doing adventure motorcycle trips as a solo rider you learn – sometimes the hard way – how to get more out of your motorbike adventures. Being stuck for 10 days in San Pedro de Atacama waiting for a slave cylinder can be expensive and boring, although bearable. But most probably the moment you need 24h to dig your bike out of the mud in a remote track in Bolivia you finally realize that having a less hassle travel is worth some advanced planning and hard work! Here’s the good news: more fun on a ride does not cost anything, it only involves some proper preparation.

 

motorcycle trip planning

 

Do in-depth research

This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip preparation. To start off with google maps, scour the internet for articles, travel stories, blogs of hikers, cyclists, bikers, searching open street maps for clues of interesting or unusual things to see. This way, you can stumble on ghost towns, haunted cemeteries, crashed planes in the middle of the desert, fantastic abandoned places and loads of spectacular landscapes that make each trip even more memorable. If your thing is to tick off the 10 most popular touristic spots of a given area, a Lonely Planet guide will do the job. However, if you’re into more remote places, you must do a proper research.

Find out about some of those trips HERE & HERE

 

 

Some free itinerary building tools

MapsMe is a great tool to mark all the tracks, roads, locations, etc. you identify during your research. After having saved all the places you liked and would want to see, another fun bit is to try to connect these dots with what looks like the most scenic roads or tracks. For this, you can rely also on google maps, although always remember that those applications are never ideal and include bugs and mistakes. Therefore, a good solution would be to always have a backup app.

You can find the link for MapsMe here: https://maps.me

 

Basecamp is a track building program provided by Garmin. It is sometimes unfairly perceived as hard to use. Basecamp has useful video tutorials to get you started in no time. YouTube has also many videos showing real-life examples. A little patience will reward you with a very useful tool that is sure to make your motorcycle trip planning much easier. You can install Open Street Maps (see below) on it as well.

Free download is available here: https://www.garmin.com/en-US/software/basecamp/

 

For European paved route planning an easier tool would be ViaMichelin (https://www.viamichelin.com). It has a nice features, such as highlighted scenic roads and easy to find service locations. To see the highlighted road portions that indicate scenic roads, just scroll to the area of your interest.

 

There are many other routing applications available, free or payable. A simple google search will return pages of results. In this article you can find the basic and sometimes sufficient, easy-to-use and completely free solutions that work.

 

motorcycle trip to South America

 

Experiment with routing options 

Here’s a fun tip: toggle between the bicycle navigation options of MapsMe, Google Maps or Basecamp. This sometimes gives interesting routing options!

 

Planning for fuel stops & obstacles

When researching new remote tracks, it’s also a good idea to use the satellite views in google maps. This will allow you to get a feel if a certain route is going to be rideable – or if obstacles (impassable seasonal river crossing for instance) could make it too dangerous or impossible. Checking the distances between fuel stops also works great with MapsMe. This way, you’ll know if you have to carry extra fuel. Another nice feature of this application is the ability to quickly check the elevation profile of certain track sections: toggle from car mode to cyclist or pedestrian and elevation profile appears.

 

How to plan a motorcycle trip

 

Save service locations

You do not want to learn it the hard way, so please remember, when you go to a country where the distances are significant, that it pays off to thoroughly research motorbike service spots, repairs, parts, tire locations, etc. You don’t want to end up hauling spare motorcycle tires or filters for thousands of km. You should save all those locations into MapsMe and your GPS, along with the websites and contact details of those locations before the trip. Being well prepared could save you tons of cash, days of effort and frustration on the road. For example, if you know that your rear tire has a life of approximately 6,000km – plan a rough route to make your way to a location where you know there’ll be a suitable tire. Don’t waste vacation time or energy in worries. 

 

How to plan a motorcycle trip-4

 

Open Street Maps vs. Garmin Maps

For navigation and motorcycle trip planning an Open Street Maps (OSM) is a great choice. We suggest this tool, because for us personally OSM is much richer then well known Garmin for example. However, bare in mind that the routing in cities can sometimes be wrong. In our opinion though, the extra detail in OSM outweighs potential shortcomings. Open Street Maps is also free! You can download your maps here for exemple: http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl. The option “generic routable (new style)” gives good routable results. Installing the maps in your GPS, if you use one, is very easy.

Open Street Maps is the result of a collaborative project that created a free editable map of the world. The format used by Open Street Map is compatible with GPS devices such as Garmin. As Open Street Maps incorporates the input of users, it contains a wealth of information not available on proprietary maps. The data quality varies sometimes, but we feel they provide a terrific base for motorcycle trip planning and riding: those maps can be uploaded on your GPS device and also used in routing programs such as Basecamp.
 
Garmin maps, on the other hand are proprietary maps.  Those maps are sold by Garmin, usually with a subscription that allows users to get updates. The Garmin maps are typically designed primarily for road travel.

 

plan motorcycle trip map

 

Off-road motorcycle tracks in Europe

In case your destination is Europe there’s a great tool – https://transeurotrail.org It’s a great starting point for experimenting with all these free to use tools to build your very own off-road adventure.

 

 

Smart planning can be totally free and can be a fun part of motorbike trip preparation. This will definitely help in making the most of your precious vacation time, turn each motorcycle trip into a discovery. With a little practice you will be completely fluent in using the free tools mentioned in this article. We wish you countless big and small discoveries in your next rides!

 

 

Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Debates about adventure motorcycle gear often get just as heated as arguments about which bike is the most suitable for long-distance ADV travel. What should you wear on a motorcycle trip? Full-on four-season adventure suit? Lightweight motocross gear? Street wear?

It all depends on where you’re going, and for how long. If your trip isn’t going to last longer than three weeks and you won’t be covering varying altitudes and climates zones, you’re probably good with some Kevlar jeans and a comfortable touring jacket. If, however, you’re riding somewhere a little more rugged or where you will be traveling multiple climate zones and crossing mountains – like, say, South America – you need to be better prepared. In addition to keeping you warm and dry, adventure motorcycle gear also keeps you safe. Out there in the sticks, that matters even more.

So let’s take a look at adventure motorcycle gear options out there.

 

Mid-Range Adventure Motorcycle Jackets and Pants

Some of the high-end adventure bike gear out there can feel like it costs an arm and a leg. Do you actually need to spend that much on a Klim jacket and pants? The answer depends on your riding: no, if you don’t clock more than 10,000 kilometers each year, if your adventure bike trips are less than two-week-long, and if you generally ride very conservatively and only when the weather’s good. If you mostly use your motorcycle for commuting and short weekend rides, aim for mid-range gear that won’t cost you a fortune but will provide comfort and protection.

Speaking of protection: always make sure that your motorcycle jacket has back, shoulder, and elbow armour and your motorcycle pants should have some padding at the hips and knees. Look for the CE label on all your adventure motorcycle gear, as this label means the gear meets the current motorcycle safety standards of the EU.

 

Four-Season Adventure Motorcycle Gear

However, if you ride year-round, if you love taking your bike off the beaten path, if you go on long adventure rides in places like Chile, Argentina, or Bolivia, if you spend long hours in the saddle and often ride through different altitudes, weather, and climate zones, you need some real hardware. That’s where high-end adventure motorcycle gear comes in. And yes, the cost isn’t small, but great-quality adventure suit will last you for years, protect you like an exoskeleton, keep you warm and dry even in torrential rain, and offer the best safety and comfort ratio.

 

adventure motorcycle gear

 

Our tour guides here at Motobirds prefer Klim because these adventure suits are incredibly durable, reliably waterproof, have good ventilation for those hot temperatures, and are virtually indestructible. We love Klim’s Artemis for women and Badlands for men; however, do try out other brands like Rukka, Touratech, or BMW. In addition to being functional, adventure motorcycle gear needs to fit great, too, so make sure you shop around and find what works for you.

Pro tip: if you’re looking for a truly four-season adventure jacket and pants, make sure the outer shell has GoreTex. If it has some other material and says “water-resistant”, you’ll get soaked. If it’s GoreTex, however, you’re covered.

 

Women’s Adventure Motorcycle Gear

For female riders, finding adventure gear that actually fits used to be a bit of a headache. Nowadays, however, brands are catching up to the fact that women love bikes just as much as men do for the exact same reasons, and more and more gear is designed with women in mind.

Here at Motobirds, our female tour guides wear Klim Artemis: it’s rugged, waterproof, durable, highly protective, and created by an actual female gear designer, so the cut and the fit are amazing. But do check out Rev’It! and Touratech, too, as these two companies have some adventure motorcycle gear aimed at women riders, and you want to find the best fit for you.

 

adventure motorcycle gear

 

Lightweight Off-Road Gear

If you’re an off-road maniac and your bike’s tires barely touch the pavement, a heavy, restrictive four-season adventure riding suit may not be for you. If you’re constantly battling steep hills, single track, and gnarly terrain, you’ll want excellent protection and complete freedom of movement, plus great ventilation. If that sounds like you, shop for lightweight off-road motorcycle gear aimed at motocross and rally racers.

 

adventure motorcycle gear

 

We love Leatt, as this company was founded by a South African neurosurgeon and rider who designs all the protective parts with scientific precision; however, there’s no shortage of other brands out there offering different options. Whatever you choose, just make sure you’ve got plenty of protection, and don’t forget to wear a neck brace.

What kind of adventure motorcycle gear do you wear and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

A two-wheeled adventure wouldn’t be complete without motorcycle camping. There’s nothing like pitching your tent, cooking yourself dinner on your camping stove, and admiring the starry skies at night, unpolluted by city lights. Motorcycle camping can make your trip more authentic, adventurous, and exciting. You may not know where you’ll lay your head next, but you know you’ve got your little mobile home with you.

However, motorcycle camping needs a little planning and preparation, just like packing for a motorbike trip or planning the journey.  Depending on where you’re headed, you may get away with a very simple set up like a basic tent, sleeping bag, and a sleeping bag. On the other hand, if you know you’ll be facing harsh temperatures, you may need some additional gear. Next comes the question of wild camping versus organized campsites, packing and carrying your gear on a motorcycle, and some do’s and don’t’s of motorcycle camping abroad.

Let’s take a closer look.

Motorcycle Camping Gear

What camping gear you choose will largely depend on where you’re going, for how long, and how often you plan to camp. If you know the climate is mostly going to be mild, you won’t be camping often, and your trip won’t take longer than two weeks, you should be more than fine with some very basic camping equipment. Mid-range tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and perhaps a small inflatable pillow plus a gas camping stove, a pot and a cup, and a few basic cooking utensils should do it. When shopping for camping equipment, however, always make sure that it packs as small as possible and weighs as little as possible. These are both important factors when packing your motorcycle.

However, if you’re planning to go somewhere where the temperatures may be quite harsh, like Iceland, you may want to invest in gear that will withstand colder weather and rain. Make sure your sleeping bag is capable of withstanding temperatures up to -5 C, get a thick inflatable sleeping pad for extra warmth, and make sure your tent is fully waterproof. Consider getting some additional thermals to keep you warm.

Finally, you may be riding somewhere where you’ll face both hot and cold temperatures and where you’ll be camping a lot. Georgia is a good example – in the mountains, the nights can get chilly, but at the sea level, it’s hot. For a varied weather and terrain trip, pick three or four-season camping gear that is versatile and reliable in any conditions.

Wild Camping vs Organized Campsites

Now that you have your camping gear ready, it’s time to think about where you’ll be camping. In most countries, wild camping is allowed with the exceptions of national parks and reserves. However, do your research and make sure you’re legally allowed to camp. When picking your wild camping spot, see that you aren’t intruding on private land.

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know // Motobirds

Organized campsites are usually the best solution if you don’t know whether wild camping is permitted in the area. Sure, you’ll be sharing the campsite with other travelers, but that can be a great way to meet people and exchange stories and route information. Another bonus is access to bathroom and kitchen facilities, which a lot of organized campsites will offer.

To help you figure out where you can camp wild and where you can find organized campsites, we highly recommend the iOverlander app. Just download the app, zoom in on the area you’ll be riding through, and get all the information you need – as an open source app, it gets updated very often, and the information remains relevant.

Packing and Carrying Your Camping Gear

We already touched on the fact that the smaller and lighter your camping gear is, the better. When shopping for your camping equipment, try to be as minimalist as you can to save space in your panniers and to spare your suspension. Before you buy anything, think of the items you already own. Do you really need that camping chair, or can you sit on your pannier? Is that mallet for tent pegs really a must-have, or can you get away with securing the pegs using a piece of rock or your motorcycle boots? Are you sure the mini espresso maker is something you cannot live without, or can you simply use ground coffee and paper filters?

To avoid packing too much, just consider what is truly a necessity and what could you go without. After all, you’re into motorcycle camping because of the adventure, not the comfort.

Motorcycle Camping Do’s and Don’ts Abroad

When riding abroad, some travelers tend to forget that the rules still apply. Don’t be one of them. Respect the local laws, stick to legal roads and off-road routes, and make sure you aren’t wild-camping in a national reserve, in the indigenous lands, or on private property. Nowadays, with so much information readily available, there’s no excuse not to do your research.

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know // Motobirds

At the same time, keep in mind that the locals are usually happy to help, so if you’re not sure about camping in a certain area, just ask. You never know – you might just get yourself invited to dinner!

What are your favorite motorcycle camping tips and hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Pixabay

 

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure motorcycle tours are an amazing way to travel. As motorcyclists, we can choose routes less traveled, explore the world on our own terms, and experience the thrill of the ride. Whether it’s a short weekend trip, a round-the-world adventure, or a two-week tour somewhere you’ve never ridden before, an adventure motorcycle tour is the best form of escape.

However, as the touring market is exploding, it can be difficult to pick the tour that’s right for you. Guided or self-guided? On your own motorcycle or a rental? Which motorcycle tour company and shipping agent should you choose?

To help you plan your adventure trip, we put this helpful guide together. In this post, however, we’re going to talk about different types of adventure motorcycle tours and which one would work best for you.

Guided Adventure Motorcycle Tours

Guided bike tours are a little like a package holiday: the motorcycles, the routes, the hotels, and the off-bike activities are all pre-booked and pre-planned for you. All you need to do is fly in, get on your chosen motorcycle, and enjoy the tour.  Most motorcycle tour organizers will have several options to choose from: on-road or off-road (or perhaps a mix of the two), luxury hotels or budget inns, the size of the group, the duration of the tour, and so on. A guided motorcycle tour is ideal for riders who are busy and do not have the time to do their own research, planning, route design, and logistics. Simply pick the country you’d love to visit on a motorcycle, get in touch with a local tour company, and book your dream holiday.

One of the pitfalls of a guided adventure motorcycle tour is that you never know who is riding with you, and the groups can sometimes be quite diverse. However, the tour guides usually try to match everyone’s skill levels to make sure all participants are happy, and you never know – you might just make some lifelong friends during a two-wheeled adventure.

Adventure Motorcycle Tours

Guided Tours Recommendations:

Colombia

Argentina, Bolivia, Chile

The Himalayas

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours are perfect for people who like to ride on their own (or just with their friends or partners), who are independent, and who can spare the time and the resources to prepare a motorcycle adventure themselves. If that sounds like you, you can always start from scratch: pick a destination, do your research about the local culture, terrain, weather, traffic conditions, and road infrastructure, and start putting a route together. Next, you’ll need to book your accommodation and either ship your own motorcycle there or rent locally.

Some motorcycle tour companies offer self-guided tour packages. This means that you will be riding independently, but the company will give you a pre-planned route and book your accommodation for you. They will typically also recommend places to visit, activities to include in your trip, and some interesting local spots to explore. This is a great option if you’d like to combine the best of the two worlds – ride on your own, but have the comfort of a pre-planned route, a rental bike, and accommodation all taken care of for you.

Adventure Motorcycle Tours

If you’re thinking of doing a self-guided tour and this is your first time going on a longer trip, we highly recommend:

Georgia

Iceland

Motorcycle Shipping vs Renting

Whether you choose a guided or self-guided adventure motorcycle tour, you’ll need to figure out if you want to ride your own bike or hop on a rental. In many cases, a rental makes more sense logistically and financially: if you’re just going on a ten-day or two-week trip, there’s no point in shipping your own motorcycle, especially if the destination is remote. However, if you’re planning to ride for over two-three months, or if your chosen destination is fairly close and easy to ship to, you can take your own bike. After all, you picked your motorcycle for a reason, and it’s always better to ride something you know and are comfortable with.

If you are based in Europe, some of the closer and cheaper shipping destinations include Morocco, Georgia, and Iceland. If you’re in North America, it’s easy enough to ship your bike from coast to coast. However, if your trip is happening on another continent, consider getting a rental motorcycle. Keep in mind that inter-continental motorcycle shipping also takes much longer than sending your bike a few countries down: a trans-Atlantic crossing on a cargo ship, for example, can take up to three weeks or more.

What sort of adventure motorcycle tours: guided, self-guided, or independent – do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Doing the research, the homework, and the planning for a long-distance motorcycle trip is sometimes the bigger part of the process than the journey itself. If you are thinking of riding around your own country or continent, the task isn’t too complicated. But if you’re going around the world, or to another continent, the prep matters.

To help you out, we put together a simple template you can use when planning a motorcycle trip. The key sections include route, shipping, accommodation and fuel, and finally, safety. While there are always more things to plan and keep in mind, we hope that this template will at least give you a rough guide of where to begin.

Motorcycle Trip Routes

When it comes to planning out your route, there are several key factors you should consider. First off, what will be your on road and off-road ratio? Are you  going to stick to highways and main roads, or explore little dirt trails and back country routes? You need to figure out your expectations before putting the actual route together so that you can roughly calculate the mileage and the distances.

Speaking of which: always pay close attention to terrain. Three hundred miles might only mean five hours of riding across a flat terrain, but the same three hundred miles in the mountains can mean something entirely different.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

In general, however, we recommend to keep the daily mileage under 250. This is not only because you may have unexpected delays, varying temperatures, different weather, and different terrain, but also because you’re on a motorcycle journey – which means you’ll need time to take it all in. Don’t rush your motorcycle trip, and don’t simply collect bucket list destinations. Take your time to explore and to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Once you’ve decided how much on road and off-road riding you’ll do, as well as calculated your daily mileage, it’s time to transfer the expectations on to a map. Depending on which continent you choose to ride, we recommend to plan a route that is as varied as possible. Include mountain twisties, coastal routes, stretches of desert or plains – the more diverse the landscape, the more fun you’ll have riding. Besides, this will help you deal with weather, temperature, and altitude changes. Switch it up as much as possible to enjoy the best your chosen continent has to offer.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Your bike will also determine your route!

For paved routes, all you need is Google Maps and an app that warns you about road closures or similar unexpected obsatcles, such as Maps Me. If you’re looking for off-road trails, use Google Earth option to zoom in and see if your chosen toure is paved or not. Alternatively, you can always ask for advice on online forums, such as Horizon Unlimited.

Motorcycle Shipping

For a lot of riders who are setting on a long-distance adventure motorcycle journey for the first time, motorcycle shipping may sound intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be: there are several established shipping routes worldwide, and if you pick a reputable company to help you out, you won’t have to worry about paperwork or customs procedures.

In addition, motorcycle shipping doesn’t need to be expensive. Some of the cheapest international shipping routes are between North America, Europe, and South America, so if shipping budget is a big factor for you, pick one of these continents to explore. Keep in mind that sea freight is typically significantly cheaper than air freight, with very few exceptions. Finally, we recommend you look into return options instead of merely shipping one way, then looking for another shipping company to get your bike back home. Return shipping is much cheaper than booking two separate journeys.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Accommodation and Fuel Availability On the Road

Although going on a motorcycle trip on another continent such as South America or Asia may sound exotic, the reality is that the world ir rapidly developing. Most major cities and towns across the world will have plenty of accommodation options, and fuel availability is generally quite good even in more remote places like Patagonia or Mongolia.

However, if you’re planning to ride mostly off-road and explore some of the more remote regions of the world, it’s usually a good idea to carry your camping equipment with you and have at least a 400-kilometer fuel range. If your tank is small and you can’t find a decent aftermarket option, carry a fuel bladder or a jerry can just in case.

When it comes to accommodation, there most economical options are usually organized campsites, hostels, and AirBnBs. Depending on the comfort level you expect or require, accommodation can cost as little as $5 and as much as – well, as much as you’re willing to pay.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

If you have planned a fairly detailed route, we suggest you book at least some of your accommodation in advance. Typically, booking online is cheaper than upon arrival, and you can score some good deals this way.

Travel Safety

Now that you’re all set, there’s one more thing to consider: travel safety. During a motorcycle trip, anything can happen, so be sure to purchase good travel insurance that covers motorcycle riding or motorsports. When it comes to safety on the road, the general rule of thumb is this: avoid riding in the dark, always carry water, and listen to the advice of the locals. The more you talk and connect with people, the more likely you are to get accurate route information and avoid trouble such as closed roads, protests, or simply sketchier areas tourists aren’t recommended to visit.

Needless to say, careful motorcycle trip planning will need some research, some time, and plenty of imagination, but we hope that this short guide can be a good place to start.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

What’s the most important thing when planning a motorcycle trip for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

What do all adventure riders have in common? A dream to ride the world, of course. Whether it’s a traditional round-the-world circumnavigation or a journey completed leg by leg, riding around the world is on the bucket lists of many motorcycle travellers. However, budget is always a concern. So how much does it cost to ride the world?

If you’re dreaming to travel by motorcycle, your budget will depend on several different factors. Some riders simply take off and ride East or West until they come home from the opposite direction. But a round-the-world journey doesn’t have to be a straight circumnavigation. Very few of us can take off to roam the planet for months or even years. Most riders have jobs, families, and other commitments they can’t just leave for an indefinite period of time, and understandably so.

However, there are as many ways to ride around the world as there are people. Some riders choose to travel for a month or so, leave the motorcycle, and fly back home to see their families or go back to work. Then, after a break home, they fly back, get on the bike, and resume the trip. Another good way to see the world from the saddle of a motorcycle is go on motorcycle tours in select locations. This way, you’ll save a lot of time otherwise spent for planning and researching. Finally, you can always “fly and ride” – that is, rent a motorcycle in the locations you want to see the most, and ride the world in patches.

How much does it cost to ride the world

There is no right or wrong way to travel. So when it comes to the question of how much does it cost to ride the world, there isn’t a right answer, either. However, we put together some rough guidelines so you know what to expect.

Your Motorcycle

When it comes to long-distance travel budget, a lot will depend on the bike you choose. If you’re all about the highway speeds, comfort, and eating up the miles, you probably own a large capacity motorcycle, which will naturally require more fuel and potentially will be more expensive to maintain on the road.

Medium-range dual sport and enduro bikes seem to be among the most popular choice for long journeys, especially if you love riding off-road. These bikes are typically reliable, durable, and easy to fix yourself, bringing the fuel and service costs down.

Finally, there are people riding around the world on tiny Honda 90C’s, scooters, or small dirt bikes. If you’re all about those dirt tracks, this could be the perfect option for you. Again, a smaller bike will likely be more fuel efficient and cost less to maintain.

How much does it cost to ride the world

Fuel

Fuel costs vary greatly around the world. Gas costs less than water in Saudi Arabia, but your fuel bill will be significantly higher in countries like Norway or Switzerland. On average, however, fuel costs come out to about 60-70 eurocents per liter in continents like South America or regions like Central Asia.

The best policy to avoid paying astronomical fuel prices is to stick to the cheaper continents or countries. Avoid Western Europe and North America if you want to save on gas; go nuts in South America, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and India. It’s all about balance!

Food and Accommodation

This is another tricky one. If you plan to camp and cook your own meals, your food and accommodation costs will be significantly lower than if you need a five-star hotel and a Michelin dinner every night. Nowadays, it’s much easier to plan your accommodation budget as you can always opt for not only hotels but also AirBnBs, hostels, and organized campsites or cabins.

If you treat your motorcycle trip as a journey rather than a holiday, you can save a significant chunk of change by planning ahead, staying in cheaper countries longer than in the expensive ones, and camping once in a while.

When it comes to food, generally this isn’t a big expense, especially if you enjoy street food or cook your own dinners. Depending on your dietary requirements and your palate, you can get away with as little as $10 a day for food.

How much does it cost to ride the world

Motorcycle Shipping

Whether you’re circumnavigating the world in one go or doing it in separate legs, you will have to ship your motorcycle across an ocean at some point. Done wrong, this can be a huge expense. However, if you choose wisely and plan smartly, you can expect to pay as little as 1,150 euros to ship your bike from Europe to South America, as an example. It all comes down to research and planning.

So what’s the bottom line and how much does it cost to ride the world? Depending on your bike, comfort level you need, and the amount of time you have to plan and prepare, you can expect to spend anywhere between $50 and $100 a day while on the road. Riders on bikes like the Suzuki DR650 or the Kawasaki KLR 650 who camp often, don’t mind street food, and do their own motorcycle maintenance, report spending about $50-60 a day including fuel, food, accommodation, and motorcycle shipping costs. Riders on larger capacity bikes who prefer hotel stays and good dinners may spend anywhere between $70-$100 while on the road.

The choice, ultimately, is yours. Where will you be riding in 2020?

 

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

Packing for a motorcycle journey seems to be one of the hottest topics out there. How and how much you pack is entirely up to you, depending on what motorcycle you’re riding, where, and for how long. However, there are some basic guidelines that can help, especially if it’s your first long motorcycle trip.

We have already posted a a comprehensive packing list for those of you who are setting out for an epic adventure. But more often than not, it’s not what you pack – it’s how you pack.

The “what” is very individual: some people are happy with nothing but a tool roll, two T shirts, a sleeping bag, and some duct tape. Others pack everything they can stuff in their panniers, from camping chairs to hair dryers. Neither version is wrong, as we all need different things and different comforts when we’re on the road.

The “how”, on the other hand, is universal. Pack smarter, and you won’t have to pack less. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of tips and hacks that will make packing for a motorcycle journey much easier.

Size Matters

No, not the size of your stuff: the size of your panniers. Here’s a simple fact: if you get the biggest panniers and duffel bags that you can, you will fill them. Instead, opt for medium-sized luggage, and you simply won’t be able to stuff it too much. If you’re opting for soft luggage, go for 25-liter panniers and a 30-35 liter duffel bag instead of 45 liter saddle bags and a humongous duffel or top box. If it’s aluminium panniers, opt for smaller, narrower boxes. Not only you’ll pack less, but you’ll also be shaving weight off your already heavy bike.

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Motorcycle Journey

Smaller panniers, less packing!

Saving Space

Now that your luggage is ready, make sure that you save as much space as you can. This can be done in two ways: first, buy items that are smaller, and second, use compression bags and Velcro straps to minimize bulk.

Not all of your items can be shrunk, of course, but before you even draw up a packing list, see what you can buy or replace with a smaller, lighter version. For example, carry a notebook or tablet instead of a large laptop; buy camping gear that packs tiny, like the incredibly light Big Agnes tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. When it comes to your clothes, get thin merino wool layers instead of bulky jumpers; forget hoodies, think thermal base layers. Heavy, bulky denim can be replaced with lightweight, easy-to-wash walking pants; sturdy army-style boots may be great for hiking, but trust us, a pair of light tennis or running shoes will do just fine.

The second part is all about the art of minimizing bulk. Get a few compression bags to make your camping gear and clothes smaller. Using Velcro straps, squeeze bulkier bundles into more compact ones. Use packing cubes to save both space and your own sanity: if everything is neatly sorted into packing cubes, you won’t have to rummage in the bottom of your panniers for that light rain jacket you need right now.

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Motorcycle Journey

Packing cubes save space and minimize chaos. Image: Pixabay

Indoors vs Outdoors

Here’s a fun fact: not all of your stuff needs to be packed into the panniers, top box or duffel bag, or your tank bag. Some items, such as tent poles, some spare parts, and tool rolls, can happily live elsewhere on the bike. For example, you can strap the tent poles across your handlebars, pack tire tubes into a small bag on the front fender, zip tie tire irons under your luggage rack, and pack your tools away in a DIY toolbox on the crash bars or in front of the skid plate. Remember, you need to keep the weight low, so keep the heavier items lower on your bike and don’t make the rookie mistake of piling heavier stuff in and on top of your top box or duffel bag. Be creative and see what you can pack away on the bike itself, again keeping the weight low.

Multifunctional Gear

Another packing tip is to try and focus on multifunctional gear and tools. For example, pants that zip down to shorts and a rain jacket with an inner liner will save space as they double in function. Similarly, get modular multitools such as the RRR Solutions kit, see if your hydrapak or a bundle of clothes can work as a camping pillow, and minimize the bulk of your electronics by carrying SD cards instead of hard drives and one global adapter instead of several different ones for different continents or countries.

If you pack smarter, you can actually take more items with you without overpacking and over-loading your motorcycle. Smaller panniers, smaller camping gear and clothing items, compression bags and packing cubes, as well as using multifunctional gear are all great ways to avoid overpacking for a motorcycle journey. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

What could be better than spending your Christmas dreaming of new adventure motorcycling routes?

It’s winter holidays, and with the New Year coming up, this is the ideal time to start plotting your next motorcycle escape. Whether you’re thinking of going on a motorcycle tour or designing your own route, we’re here to help. They say that the journey matters more than the destination, and we couldn’t agree more – but you still need a rough route to get going, right?

Here are our hottest adventure motorcycling routes in 2020.

The Silk Road

When it comes to the best adventure motorcycling routes, Central Asia has always had a certain draw for adventure riders. Home to the legendary Silk Road, an ancient merchant route connecting Europe and Asia, and boasting spectacular scenery as well as some of the best off-road riding on the planet, Central Asia remains one of our favorite destinations for motorcycling. But which countries should you pick?

The Pamir Mountain Region

Kazakhstan, the gateway into Central Asia, is usually just a transit country for most riders as it’s flat, hot, and not overly exciting. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, on the other hand, are worth exploring as both of these countries encompass the awe-inspiring Pamir Mountains, a range higher and, according to some, more majestic than the Andes. Stunning mountain scenery, unique local culture, unlimited off-road riding, and the feeling of traveling through a wild, ancient land are all excellent reasons to pick Central Asia for your next two-wheeled adventure.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020 The landscape of Tajikistan.

Keep in mind that the riding season in Central Asia is short, so plan accordingly. The best time of the year to ride Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is mid-July through to the beginning of September. Fuel availability might be sparse in some regions, especially if you’re planning to ride off-road, so be sure to get a larger tank or carry fuel with you so you have at least a 350-400 kilometer range.

The Lagunas Route

South America is a continent of wonders when it comes to motorcycling. However, if you’re looking for something truly unique, aim for the Lagunas Route in southern Bolivia. The route itself is short, but the riding is just out of this world. Situated at high altitude – around 5,000 meters above the sea level – the Lagunas Route takes you across the wild, sparsely inhabited high desert of the Bolivian Andes. The notorious Salvador Dali desert, the moonlike landscape of the salt flats, the bright green, red and white lakes inhabited by pink flamingos, and the tiny indigenous villages along the way make you feel like you have been just transported to another planet.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

We recommend starting your ride in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and ending in Uyini, Bolivia, where you’ll have the chance to explore the Salar de Uyuni, world’s largest salt flat visible from space. From there, you may travel towards La Paz and ride the infamous Death Road, or turn westward and enter Peru at Lake Titicaca.

The best time of the year to ride the Lagunas Route is April through to November. December to March is rainy season in Bolivia, and the Salar de Uyuni is often under water during this time.

Although the Lagunas Route is remote and may appear unpopulated, there are small villages on the way where you can find lodging, food, and fuel. A 250-kilometer range is more than enough, as there is fuel in the larger villages along the way.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

The Khardung-La Pass, Indian Himalayas

Motorcycle touring in the Himalayas is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas reveal jaw-dropping vistas around every corner. Traveling the Manali-Leh route in Ladakh, Northern India, you will experience some of the best riding in the country both on and off the road.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Sheer drops and looming snow-capped peaks, hidden valleys and gorges, mysterious Buddhist temples perched atop clifftops, and meandering mountain roads will leave you breathless both figuratively and literally, as the altitude here is over 3,500 meters above sea level. At Khardung-La, the highest motorable mountain pass in the world, altitude reaches over 5,300 meters.

The entire Ladakh region is dry all year round, but during the winter months, some of the mountain passes will be covered in snow. The best time to ride the Indian Himalayas is from June through to September. There will be plenty of food, accommodation, and fuel options on the way.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

These three adventure motorcycling routes made the top of our list because while they are relatively easy to access, they are, at the same time, remote and extraordinary. When designing motorcycle tours and scouting new routes, we always keep in mind that the people who ride with us want to experience real, raw adventure. Central Asia, Bolivia, and the Himalayas are the three places in the world where that is still possible in the truest sense of the word.

Where will you be riding in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Motobirds, Pixabay