Top 10 Adventure Motorcycling Don't's

Adventurer Lois Pryce details the ten things that you should NOT do when travelling on a motorbike

01. Think you need to buy a big fancy bike and tons of kit

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need the latest ‘adventure bike’ to have an adventure and you certainly don’t need loads of shiny new gear. People have ridden around the world on Harleys, C90s, Vespas, R1s, old Brit bikes and just about everything else in between. The bike and kit in your garage will probably do the job just fine and with a couple of rucksacks slung over your saddle, you’re ready for action!

02. Over-prepare

Preparing for your big trip is fun, but some people get so caught up in the preparation that they never leave! You can’t predict what’s going to happen every day on the road so don’t even try to prepare for every possible eventuality. Take basic cautionary measures such as arranging travel insurance that covers motorcycling, packing a first-aid kit and getting your bike in tip-top shape but the rest…well, that is in the hands of Allah…

03. Treat it like a military op

You’re meant to be on holiday! Motorcycle travel in remote lands can be tough and gruelling at times so there’s no need to make it harder than necessary. Many seasoned riders I know like to carry one luxury item in their panniers, ranging from a china mug for their morning cuppa, a pepper grinder for the campfire cookout, lacy undies (a lady rider) and a teddy bear (a strapping bloke who shall remain nameless). What will yours be?

04. Make an itinerary

Woe betide the adventure motorcyclist who attempts to stick to an itinerary. That way madness lies! If you are the kind of person who likes to know where they’re going to sleep each night then this kind of thing probably isn’t for you. It’s very rare that you will find yourself genuinely out in the cold with nowhere to sleep, and if you have a tent strapped to your bike then you will always have somewhere to stay.

05. Be paranoid

It’s a perfectly normal human response to finding ourselves in an alien land to feel wary of the strangers around us. However, on the whole you’ll find the locals you meet are more curious than sinister and will be keener on talking to you about David Beckham than pilfering your belongings. For what it’s worth my only experiences of theft have taken place in London. Riding the length of Africa, I had nothing stolen.

06. Take a GPS

Maps rule! Unless you’re blazing trails across the world’s deserts you don’t need a GPS to get around. As well as being unnecessary, it’s one more piece of kit to worry about and using a GPS to navigate cuts down your interaction with your fellow human beings – some of the most memorable encounters on the road are a result of asking a stranger for directions. And...  for the cost of a GPS, you could have another month on the road. Convinced yet?

07.Look too flash

It’s an uncomfortable truth but no matter how skint you are at home, once you enter the Third World, you’re rich. It’s hard to blend in when you’re the only white person on a motorbike in an African village but it really helps if you’re not in all the latest fancy gear straddling a 12 grand bike. A bit of scruffiness goes a long way in building bridges and also, in not getting ripped off.

08. Fret about money

You’ll probably be on a budget but worrying about every penny is a sure way to spoil your fun. Life on the road is comparatively cheap but sometimes you may have to shell out for an unexpected cost – getting a part shipped from home or an emergency stay in a hotel. Remember, you’re on the trip of a lifetime and the memories will far outlive the debt, so go on, go mad and max out that credit card!

09. Listen to the naysayers

Sadly, when you start announcing the plans for your grand adventure you’ll be forced to listen to the well-meaning but fear-laden witterings of people who watch too much TV and read the Daily Mail. These people must be avoided at all costs! If you want less sensationalist advice seek out your fellow adventure riders who are on the whole a jolly bunch and always happy to help.

10. Worry about all of the above

If departure day rolls around and you still haven’t learnt how to ask for directions in Swahili, change a tyre or ride through a swamp, never mind! Just get going and you’ll have an amazing time. The truth of the matter is there’s only one way to prepare for a motorcycle adventure… and that’s to have a motorcycle adventure!

Read Lois Pryce's Top 10 Adventure Motorcycling Do's