Never leave home without these items
Whether you’re planning on nipping around the UK over a long weekend or embarking on an epic journey across the pond for the upcoming month, we’ve got some information that you’ll hopefully find useful!
Before you leave the house, remember...
1. Tyre/puncture repair kit
We never worry about it happening until it does, so be sure to pack the right kit. If you’re running tubed tyres, you’ll also need a puncture repair kit (unless it’s a two-in-one), otherwise the tyre repair kit will be enough to get you to the nearest tyre shop.
2. Basic tools
Space is at a premium but a small collection of useful tools is a must. You may feel like packing a tool for every single eventuality, just think of your mindset when you’re sat at the side of the road in the rain, if you’re the type of person that finds adjusting valve clearances fun, have at it! Regardless, here’s a list of tools which I never leave home without:
- Collection of hex keys for removing fairing
- Common sockets and spanners (8mm to 18mm)
- 27mm socket (rear wheel nut)
- Both philips and flathead screwdrivers
- Duct tape
- Tie wraps
- Torch (in case your phone battery dies!)
Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, this small collection of tools has helped me and others out of some sticky situations more times than I’d like to admit!
3. Waterproofs (and a spare pair of gloves)
“My GoreTex gear is 100% waterproof, I don’t need anything else!” - said no-one who’s ever ridden for hours through torrential rain.
Pack according to the environment! If you’re sailing off to Spain for two weeks in the height of summer, I’ll go out on a limb and say you’re probably safe, however if you’re going for a jaunt around Scotland in September, pack your waterproofs.
I find that waterproof “over-over-trousers” and over-jackets work best and have kept me bone dry through hours of rain riding. Better still are the full waterproof over-suits but I find them a pain to don at the side of the road with all of your gear already on.
If you want to get real serious, you can even fork out for waterproof over gloves and over-boots. Although your mileage may vary, I found them more of a hindrance than a help.
Top tip: Put your waterproofs on before it starts raining. By the time you feel the first drops, it’s likely already too late! If you’re riding towards a depressing looking cloud, pull-over and suit up.
4. First-aid kit
Always a good idea!
5. A way to charge your phone
Although not strictly necessary depending on where you’re travelling to and staying, it’s a great help to be able to charge your phone and other devices on the move.
Please note: depending on the outcome of Brexit, this section may change drastically! For detailed information about what’s required, refer to the government's driving abroad webpage.
- Proof of insurance
- Driving licence
- European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if applicable
- Travel insurance documents
- Booking reservations
Remember that if you’re traveling abroad, it’s always a good idea (and in some countries a requirement) to have a GB sticker visible on your vehicle (regardless of whether you’ve got one on your number plate).
Tips for group riding
Here’s a few pointers to ensure you get the most out of riding in a group and avoid common dangers associated with it.
1. Always ride to your ability
Everyone’s riding ability will vary, don’t push yourself to keep up with the quickest rider and don’t get frustrated at those that are slower than you. You’re there to enjoy yourself and so is everyone else.
2. Never overtake in groups
Although it seems like there’s plenty of room for more than one rider to sneak pass a vehicle, remember that you’re putting your life in the hands of the rider in front and the vehicle that you’re overtaking.
The rider in front may not overtake as quickly as you thought and/or the vehicle you’re overtaking may increase their speed. Additionally, an oncoming vehicle may be travelling towards you quicker than you expect.
Think and plan ahead. Always wait until the lead rider has safely passed the vehicle and that there’s plenty of room and time for you to overtake safely.
3. You’re only ever leading one person
Each member of the group only needs to look out for the rider directly behind them. Trying to mind several riders from the front takes attention away from what’s going on ahead and increases risk.
If you lose the person behind, you only need to stop and wait for them if there’s a change in direction, otherwise they should assume that you’ve gone straight ahead. If each rider practises this approach, it will reduce stress and make the whole ride more enjoyable.
Getting the bike ready
One of the most important things to do before embarking on your journey is to give your bike a thorough looking over and a bit of TLC. After all, it’s what you’ll be relying on to shift you around for hundreds, if not thousands of miles in short succession.