There are many facets of motorcycling which make it such a draw to so many people. Some like heading to the track, others like it dirty and head for the mud, some use their bike as a means of affordable and efficient transportation, and there are also those who like to explore…
These explorers can take many forms, from globe-busting adventurers, continental conquers and the humble weekend warriors. All share the same fundamental goal; seeking their destinations by means of motorcycle.
Despite your destination, or goals when travelling, there are a few fundamentals that should go with any pathfinder, all available in our Clothing and Accessories department in store…
When you’ve got stuff to carry you need somewhere to put it, it’s pretty simple logic really. Thankfully Oxford have an ideal solution with their Aqua T luggage range. Its waterproof construction and roll-top enclosure on the main compartment mean that it’s a pretty brilliant place to keep stuff that you don’t want to get soaked when it inevitably rains. The bag features a number of handy loops which make it a doddle to attach to the bike and it also has a unique underseat security strap too. Depending on the size of your adventure can dictate the size of the bag you need too; with sizes available from 20-litres, up to a whopping 70-litres for when you need to take the kitchen sink too, in between this sit 30-litre and 50-litre options.
Despite it being the height of summer and in all frankness, pretty toasty (for the moment), a good set of thermals should be in every riders’ kit bag. There’s simply nothing worse than being cold on a bike, and not regulating your temperature can actually be extremely dangerous too as you lose concentration trying to keep yourself warm – not good. A set of thermal layers should be in every rider’s luggage when touring as you never know when you’ll need them, and they take up a rather insignificant space in your luggage and can be the difference between an enjoyable ride and a cold, dangerous one. Temperatures can also drop pretty quickly when it gets dark too, so even if it’s warm while the sun’s shining, if you’re held up in traffic, or just running late to your destination for the night, a thermal can seem like a god-sent lifeline when the dark takes over.
A blown bulb won’t necessarily end your ride, but it can be a real nightmare to track down suitable replacements when on the road, especially if you’re miles away from anything in an unfamiliar location. In some countries, it’s a legal requirement to have spares too. A bulb kit is one of those things that you won’t notice in your bag, or under your seat, until you find yourself needing it…
The same can be said for a puncture repair, the last thing you need is to find yourself in the middle of nowhere, with no phone reception and air seeping out of your tyre. It’s in these instances when you’ll either start throwing carefully chosen swear words at any and all inanimate objects in the vicinity as you try to figure out just what to do, or take a quick breather before reaching for your puncture repair kit and continuing on to your destination. Even if it doesn’t completely fix the problem, it should be enough to get you home.
It goes without saying that a First Aid kit can be a real essential when out on the bike and should be one of the things that you carry when going away on the bike. It’s another of those things that you’ll hope you won’t need, but be thankful for if you ever do.
Layering up is one of the smartest and most effective ways to regulate your core temperature, it’s a well-known fact proven by experience has. A moisture-wicking base layer, will not only help keep you cool when it’s hot, but also help to keep you warm when it’s cool. It makes a huge difference to the comfort of your ride too, and has been scientifically proven by boffins who know their stuff too!
Now, if your bike has a shaft drive then this won’t apply to you. However, for those with a chain, this is an essential bit of kit. The small size of this can makes it simple to carry with you and should see you through for a decent-sized trip away. It’ll keep the O or X rings in your chain properly lubed and prolong its life considerably.
It goes without saying; if you live in the UK you’ll always run the risk of riding in the rain – even if the sun’s shining without a cloud in the sky. It’s one of the many benefits of being British. Nowadays, there are loads of fantastic options available from manufacturers that’ll keep you really well protected from the worst of the weather, but it always pays to have backup. And, if you’re riding in leathers then it goes without saying that a set of waterproofs are a necessity.
High-visibility jackets can often divide opinion; some riders won’t get on a bike without wearing one, others won’t be seen wearing one on the bike. Regardless of this thought though, in some European countries it’s a legal requirement to carry one with you and wear it in the case of a breakdown. So, no matter where you sit on the fence of high visibility clothing, it’s always good to have one sat at the bottom of your luggage just in case regardless.
A lot of helmets nowadays – especially those designed with touring in mind – feature drop-down sun visors nowadays, however, there are still those who don’t get on with them because they mist up easier, or because they wear glasses that get in the way or, some just prefer to ride with a darker or clear visor that they can swap depending on conditions. If you’re in the latter camp, then you’ll want to carry your visor in something that isn’t going to leave it riddled with scratches when you reach to get it out of your bag.
Another handy essential that will always be useful – no matter where you’re riding – is this visor cleaning kit. It consists of an anti-bacterial visor spray and a microfibre cloth, all kept nicely together in a small pouch that can quite happily live under your seat. We’ve all squinted through the graveyard of insects that has amassed on our visors before, and all know of the dreaded midge clouds of Scotland, this will help keep your visor clean and clear.
Mobile gadgets and devices have somewhat taken over our lives now, and with this revelation comes the need to be constantly charging something or the other, be it your; phone, GoPro, sat-nav, the list goes on… Thankfully there are simple solutions to keeping your mobile devices fully topped-up while on the move now. One of them is this handy USB charger, you simply plumb it into your battery and can either mount it to your handlebar, or discreetly put it under your pillion seat.
Spare gloves are always a smart idea when touring, your hands may get too hot/cold and more importantly, your other gloves might become sodden. And, we all know how unpleasant it feels plunging your hand into a soaking wet glove. The Hurricane gloves from Richa mean that you’ll always have a dry pair to go to when then weather inevitability changes.
Definitely a useful addition to a kit bag when travelling on the bike – especially if you’re camping! It cleans without water and leaves you smelling fresh, and means you won’t offend the nostrils of those around you.