Adventure bike riding questions answered by our team of experts
Q Me and my fiancée are in the process of planning our first trip across Europe together. This will be her first long-distance trip on a motorcycle and our first two-up tour together. Do you have any advice for touring two-up as a couple?
Having ridden from California to Tierra del Fuego two-up, ABRs Mike and Amie Tornincasa, authors of Motorcycle South America, say:
A Remember that the trip is for both of you, and therefore different than if you were going alone. Decisions have to be made mutually even if one person controls where the bike goes and how fast. Both people must equally want to do and complete the trip. If one is pushing the other, it will not play out well. Work together as a team by each having your own responsibilities. For example, I was navigator and rider of the bike; Amie was in charge of organisation and security.
Try not to have any expectations, other than the inevitable challenges you’ll face, just the excitement of not knowing what lies ahead kept us from any disappointment which could have easily been blamed on each other. We knew this trip could drive us to divorce. We both accepted that fact before we began our journey.
We don’t recommend using an intercom system. There’s plenty of time to talk about the day’s events when you’re off the bike and relaxing over a beer. With all of the ‘togetherness’ time, the quiet time on the road was welcome by both of us. Good luck, and have a fantastic trip!
Q I really enjoyed the Ukraine article in the last issue of ABR and want to ride around the Black Sea (Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey…). What’s the position in these countries regarding minimum road risk insurance?
ABR contributor James Owens says:
A The Black Sea circuit can take in seven countries and each one has its own insurance requirements. I can tell you from experience that each place may well change its policy. Crossing the Ukraine-Poland border, I didn’t have any issues proffering a V5, my third party insurance, MOT, passport and a big cheesy grin. For entry requirements I’d check with the FCO (www.fco.gov.uk) and print off details for each country. You can also pick up an International Driving Licence at an authorised Post Office – I’ve never been asked for one but it can help to make things a lot smoother.
I’ve never been asked for a Green Card, but it is recognised in the Ukraine. NB: a Green Card is not insurance; it’s just proof you already have insurance. See www.direct.gov.uk for countries which require a Green Card. The Green Card system is administered in the UK by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) (01908 830 001). Good luck, and enjoy the ride!
Q I’ve only recently passed my bike test, and this weekend I’m picking up a Kawasaki Versys. After some great help and advice from the ABR forums (thanks guys!), I’ve got my luggage on order and should be ready to hit the road soon to explore Ireland. I can’t wait to get away!
So my question is: I have sleeping gear, eating gear, clothes, a road map, a bike and not a care in the world for two weeks. Do I really need anything else?
ABR and author Sam Manicom says:
A First of all, welcome to the world of travel on two wheels! Congratulations on passing your test. The fun begins, and what better way to start it than a two-week cruise around Ireland.
When camping, you’ll enjoy the experience more if have a great tent; a two-man if you’re on your own. It’ll be your home for two weeks. Take a really good sleeping mat and a good sleeping bag as well. Don’t forget that even in the summer it can get chilly. I always like to have a silk sleeping bag liner, too. It gives you the chance to sleep cool if you get a blistering Irish break, and it’ll rinse out easily and dry quickly.
The real trick is to carry far fewer clothes than you think you’ll need. You’ll probably end up wearing the same stuff almost day after day, so make sure it’s comfortable and washes and dries easily. Think layers so you can add and subtract according to the weather. Do have some other footwear to slip out of your bike boots into at the end of the day – your feet will love you for it!
A decent cooker and pots are a must if you’re cooking for yourself, but remember you can always pick up any kit find you do need along the way.
A guidebook will pay you dividends, both in terms of things to see, and places to stay. A good one will allow you the freedom to make the ride up as you go along. Local tourist offices are also good to stop off at. If there’s a festival or a fair going on somewhere, you’ll find about it in there. Enjoy those side roads, too – lots of hidden delights to be found down them.
The only other thing you should take is your time. There are lots of things to see at 50mph, which at 70mph will be a blur. I’m talking views, potholes, and the tractor that appears around a corner. Have a great trip out there. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes on the ABR forum. Hopefully you’ll have some great pics to show us, too.
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