A Guide to Big Bike Touring in the British Isles | There is a growing number of people who spend their downtime touring on a big bike, especially in the UK, where some of the best natural beauty can be found. Such is the climate that big bike riding is usually a summer activity and April is the start of the bike riding weather, which runs through to the end of September and if you would like to spend your long weekends touring on a powerful motorcycle, this article will be of some interest to you.
Choosing a Touring Bike
Of course, you should spend some time looking at what is on offer; ranging from a small 250cc bike to the luxurious Honda Gold Wing at Wheels Motorcycles and everything in between. For serious touring, you need at least a 650cc engine, which will be able to run all day at touring speeds, while the top end is 1200cc, with all the major manufacturers having their own touring series. You can find a reputable bike dealer with an online search and when you narrow down your selection, you can book a couple of test rides.
Gear & Protective Clothing
Big bike riding demands that you invest in the right clothing and equipment; a decent quality full-face helmet, a leather bike jacket, thick trousers (preferable leather), motorcycle gloves and boots, plus you should wear a hi-vis vest, which helps other road users to see you. Here is a great blogging platform with many engaging articles on a wide range of topics.
If you are planning to ride on UK roads, you will need the appropriate driving licence for the bike you are riding. The Class A licence is required to ride a big bike and it might take you a couple of years to obtain this category, so you may have to settle with a smaller machine for a while. If you hold a full car driving licence, you can ride a 125cc bike and then take the tests and upgrade, eventually reaching the Class A. Let’s not forget insurance, which is compulsory (at least third party) and the bike needs to be road taxed and if older than 3 years, it needs a valid MOT certificate.
The Internet hosts a wealth of information and when planning a big bike journey, Google is your best friend and when you decide on an overnight stop, you can book a room at a local inn for bed and breakfast. Of course, you could always go down the camping road, which costs next to nothing and with the right bags and panniers, you can carry a tent and accessories.
Stick to Speed Limits
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can open your bike up on a country road, as the police use state of the art technology, with mini-speed cameras that could be anywhere. The speed limits are in place for everyone’s safety and riding a powerful bike demands the utmost respect for the horsepower you have at your disposal.
Here is a link to the DVLC website where you will find information on obtaining a motorcycle riding licence and with an online search, you can be viewing touring bikes. We advise you to book a basic motorcycle riding course, as this will give you the skills to control the bike on a range of surfaces and with a few years of hands-on experience, you will become an accomplished big bike rider.