Long distance touring on a motorcycle is a journey towards developing a deeper relationship with your bike, and yourself. As the wheels rotate to play a film of heart-warming vistas through your helmet’s visor, you and your bike go through countless straights of wisdom and a lot of learning curves. In addition to your riding skills and the bike, some additional apparatus will only enrich this experience and ensure that the journey continues uninterrupted. Here’s a list of Top 5 Bike Accessories which will enhance your long distance touring experience on a motorcycle.
Saddle & Tank Bags
Being on the road for days will mean that you will need to carry some amount of luggage. Unfortunately, for all its other positive aspects, a motorcycle isn’t inherently designed to be a Sherpa. Decide to become one yourself and your shoulders will crack under the weight of a backpack within a couple of hours. But there are plenty of solutions around that can fix this problem.
You may choose from saddle and tank bags or hard-top panniers which can carry the things you need when you’re away from home. For offering the ease of mounting and removal, weather-proof saddlebags are the way to go. They can carry plenty of luggage by distributing equal weight on each side, which is vital for the bike’s handling when you set out. Get the ones which are built specifically for your bike and ensure none of its flaps or the bag itself fouls with any moving components. Make sure it is well built, has some reflective tape around it and offers the provision to store bottles or cans to carry spare fuel when required.
A good tank bag can carry things you will frequently need, like your phone, camera, wallet, documents, some chocolate or anything else you may like. Tank Bags are often of the magnetic type and latch on to your motorcycle’s fuel tank. If your bike’s fuel tank has no metal, there’s always a Velcro mechanism you can opt for. Like saddle bags, portability and the ease of mounting and removal make these the ideal choice to carry your stuff on a motorcycle.
Portable Air Pump & Puncture Repair Kit
Most bikes in India have switched to tubeless tyres which are easy to fix in the event of a flat. However, unlike a car, a motorcycle has no spare tyres and unless, help is nearby, you will have to push it to the nearest tyre shop. An alternative to that is carrying your own puncture repair kit and a portable air pump which will bail you out, no matter how far away you are from civilization.
If your bike comes fitted with an electrical socket, you may invest in a walkman-sized electronic pump which fills in the air automatically. If not that, consider a hand or foot operated pump which will require some effort and fitness on your part, although it is still a lot less work than pushing a heavy bike with a flat tyre for miles.
Tools, basic spares and First-aid Kit
The tool and first-aid kit most production bikes come equipped with are basic. Invest in a good quality portable kit which has tools which are specific to the fasteners and parts fitted on your bike. Along with that, carry extra fuses, bulbs, and any cables which might need a quick replacement in the middle of nowhere.
A well-equipped first-aid kit could make all the difference, if nurse and doctors are not there around you at the time of need. If not you, it could be someone else on the road who might be in the need of medical attention. Jam the pouch with all the necessary items for an ideal first-aid kit. If you suffer from any known conditions, ensure you carry the remedy for that too.
Once the Sun goes down, the thing with any kind of artificial illumination for the road is that more is never enough. In the case of motorcycles, it is all the more true as the illumination is often inadequate and struggles to light up the road against oncoming glare. There isn’t much intensity in the throw and the spread is limited. This makes riding in the dark very difficult. Especially on roads like ours, which are filled with all kinds of surprises and hazards.
While upgrading the headlight bulb is an option, it involves the additional task of fitting a relay and running the risk of overloading the electrical system. A simple, modern solution lies in LED auxiliary headlamps which draw very little power but offer excellent luminosity. They can be fitted on the crash guard, on the bars or any such appropriate place to enhance visibility and to also make you more visible. However, ensure they are fitted correctly and are focused to light up the road rather than annoying other users.
Comfort Enhancing Accessories
Motorcycling is also an outdoor physical activity which places you within the elements. So when the Sun’s beating down on you, it’s necessary that you stay hydrated. If stopping frequently just to sip on some water annoys you, consider getting a hydration backpack. You can fill it with a hydrating fluid of your choice and keep sipping through a tube which comes through the bottom of your helmet, as and when required. If enhancing seating comfort is what you’re after, a gel pad for the saddle provides more cushioning and comfort if you have to spend long hours on the saddle.
Apart from these accessories, it goes without saying that you must ensure that your bike is in top shape before you commence the journey. Once that is checked, make sure you have all the necessary gear which will keep you safe and comfortable during the ride. To be able to make the most of your journey, before you set out, ensure your physical health and mental wellbeing is in top shape too.