HodakaMotoworld’s10 Tips for Touring
We should know by now that touring is best done on a motorcycle. When car drivers get stuck and stressed out in traffic, we can keep moving towards our destinations. Where car drivers cannot stop to enjoy the view, we can. We can even travel into places where there are no paved roads.
But touring isn’t about throwing everything into your Taichi backpack or panniers and taking off. Instead, your tour should be planned properly to ensure you have a safe andenjoyable time.
1. Planning is everything
Yes, we still cannot travel abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so this is the best time to tour around Malaysia.
Begin your planning by writing down about where you want to head to or want to do, for example, to ride around west Malaysia. From there, look in Google Maps to determine the route, fuel stops and potential stops along the way.
Also, set a realistic target, for example, to reach Penang from Kuala Lumpur within 4 hours including fuel and refreshment stops. There should be enough leeway, otherwise you will stress yourself out. Setting a 1.5-hour run time to get there may be realistic if you are riding a Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX but is dangerous, if not tiring.
Servicing motorcycle - Photo credit www.racecoursemotors.com.au
Always service your bike before a long-distance ride. Change the engine oil, sparkplugs, brake pads (if necessary). Also, do not forget tocheck the tyres besides adjusting and lubricating the chain. Make sure that the lights and electronics are working as they should.
3. Pack some extra tools
You should bring along extra tools especially if your motorcycle manufacturer supplied only the bare necessities. We have the best solution in the form of the Oxford Tool Kit Pro (picture above). Do includeone or two extra bungee cords/helmet net, a small can of chain lube, Oxford Tyre Repair Kit, first aid kit. Cable ties, additionally, are absolutely necessary – never leave home without them!
4. Carry your Belongings in Waterproof Carriers
You should ideally carry your stuff in a top case or panniers. However, you can load them into Taichi or Komine waterproof bags and pouches. This way, you do not have to worry about your belongings getting wet or shorting out.
Here is a side note: Pack your items according to order. That means pack items that you only need at your destination first, followed by those that you need along the way on top of the pile. For example, your clothes should be at the bottom, while the powerbank or travel documents should be on top. That way, you do not have to pull out all your fresh underwear to get to your hotel bookings and such.
Remember to pack as little as possible. You do not need your tuxedo.
5. Charge Up your Gadgets
Always charge up your electronic devices when you rest for the night, even if the phone or GPS or Bluetooth communicator still has 95% battery power. Nothing is more inconvenient than finding 10% battery power when you are about to start your ride. This should be observed even if you are riding in a group because who knows if you get separated and you need the devices for communications and navigation.
6. Wear Appropriate Gear
Do wear protective gear when you tour. These include jacket and pants, boots, gloves. Wear something comfortable, breathable and safe in this hot and humid climate of ours. Do not forget the Taichi or Komine rain suit.
Wearing the correct type of helmet is important, too. Generally, a racing-type helmet has a tighter fit compared to sport-touring or adventure touring helmets. Their airflow characteristics may also differ.
7. Ride at a Comfortable Pace
Ride at a comfortable pace - Photo credit Matthias Heinrich
Only now we start riding.
Take it easy, adjusting your pace to suit your riding style. On the other hand, follow the convoy’s pace if you’re riding in a group. Realistically, all of us try to make up for lost time but it should be done at a controlled pace.
8. Stop as Frequently as Needed
If you ride solo, you can choose to stop as much or long as you want to, especially if you feel drowsy in the heat and humidity. Or hungry. Or need to visit the bathroom. Just stop and rest for a while. Do not keep trying to fight through the sleepiness.
If you ride in a group, tell the marshals know you are feeling sleepy or tired. We are sure they would not mind a short breather themselves.
Hydration - Photo credit roadtracktrail.com
Dehydration is a real enemy when you ride. You tire out quickly and make mistakes when you are dehydrated so drink up everytime you stop.
While the choice of drinks is up to you, we recommend plain water and/or 100 Plus. Fruit juices help too, especially watermelon juice and coconut water. But do take them without sugar as sugar limits hydration.
Energy drinks are useful when you feel drowsy, but they should never replace water, as they are usually diuretic (makes you pee more often). The more you pee, the more dehydrated you get.
In any case, do not drink alcohol beverages and ride!
10. Stay Motivated
Staying motivated is very important yet always overlooked. No one said touring on a motorcycle is easy. You could feel tired, or must fight through a heavy rainstorm, not to mention the heat and humidity. Then you have errant drivers who think the entire North-South Highway belongs to them.
But rather than get irritated or angry, remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve when you reach your destination. It could be the beautiful beach, or the sumptuous food, or your family and friends. That way, you will have an enjoyable and memorable tour.