For GIVI EXPLORER we have done some research and collected (in 3 articles) the not-so-obvious tips, based on good sense and the fact that not all motor-tourists cross entire continents or have decades of experience behind them.
A HARD SADDLE IS BETTER
A seat must be able to provide the rider with a certain level of comfort for long periods and many kilometres. For many users the best solution is ‘hard’ and only slightly contoured. Not hard as a rock, but having a structure that doesn’t ‘sink’ too much either. The benefits? Well, to start with, it allows the rider to maintain a correct posture, and gives freedom of movement for the body that a preformed seat doesn’t provide.
TAKE A BREAK …..
Stretch your legs every so often. This way it’ll be easier to drive for longer periods before you get tired. If possible, take your break when the views are worthy. Rewarding yourself with a break in a stunning location should be a rule.
ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO EAT AND DRINK ON YOU
Make the most of your stops at the petrol stations to grab a drink and snack. At some point during the day, they’ll be greatly appreciated. If you’re wanting to stop for dinner in a local restaurant, remember that opening hours vary. In France, you eat at 20:00, in Italy at 21:00, in Spain – not before 22:00…..
In general, not that by the exhaust. The noise we’re talking about is that of the wind.
Many factors influence it: that howling wind that passes through your helmet (rarely does it help to reduce the noise), the position of your head, the arrangement of your bags, etc.
This being said, it’s almost impossible to reduce the decibels. The thing that hurts the ears the most are acute noises. The longer we ride under these conditions, the greater the stress accumulates on your ears by the end of the day.
How can you fix this problem?
By picking up some run of the mill yellow ear plugs in a pharmacy or motor shop.
These are particularly useful as they’re able to filter the worst sounds without eliminating the noise of the engine, the sirens and other important noises on the road.
THE BEST ROADS
When you want to get as many kilometres under your belt in as short a time as possible, it’s best to avoid smaller roads. In these situations the motorway represents the best choice. If, on the other hand, you are wanting to take in the view at a more leisurely speed, then it’s best to take alternative routes. Do it however, in a ‘scientific’ way. For example, Michelin has ad hoc maps of France that are called “Bison Futé”, in Germany “Ferien Strassen” and “Romantische Strasse”. Try to read up on them beforehand as it’s not easy crossing lesser known territory without the right tools.
Many of you plan your trips in detail before leaving. If you belong to the ranks of this methodical group, don’t forget to have a plan B. Maybe the road is super boring, the weather is awful, the traffic is backed up or there are road works everywhere… Having an alternative plan ready means you’re able to solve the problem without too much stress.
PREFER PAPER MAPS?
If you’re lovers of paper maps, go for very detailed ones. In specialised shops it’s easy to compare even on identical scales (more details, easier to read, petrol stations and uneven roads marked, etc.
If you’re travelling with a passenger, also make them the navigator. You concentrate on the road and riding.
If you’re solo bikers the solution is ‘a transparent plastic sleeve on top of the tank bag’ is the best option … even when it rains.
When your trip includes mountain passes, remember to check that they are indeed open before leaving (especially if you leave outside of the summer season) to avoid ending up with long detours.
HOW MANY KILOMETRES A DAY?
All things considered it’s not so easy to predict. It depends on the distances and how much time you have for the whole tour. On average you could set yourself around 400km/day (giving yourself a bit of leeway for some longer pit-stops and visits), up to 800km when a stretch of the road isn’t particularly interesting, making up time to use later on more scenic routes. It’s also important to take into consideration where you clock up the miles and at what speed. Riding for 400km on smaller roads, perhaps unpaved, is much different from longer trips on a comfortable motorway.
HABITS AND RULES OF THE ROAD
Rules change. And so do speed limits and correct road behaviour. In Italy, we often ride ‘creatively’. Remember that certain bending of rules is not tolerated in other countries, and getting your license confiscated might be just around the corner. Get informed before leaving by looking up “Automobile Association” sites.
THE QUALITY OF THE ROAD
Also the road conditions can be variable. In certain countries the roads can be damaged by the winter frost, and in others they can be slippery in the summer time. Be careful in the tunnels as well. Not all of them are illuminated, and entering without lifting your visor or without taking off your sunglasses could be dangerous. The eye can have trouble adjusting quickly to changes in luminosity.
One of the advantages offered by the motorway, in comparison to other roads, is that there is often the possibility to fill up easily along the way, even after sunset, and on Sundays. However, it’s best to avoid letting the tank run low.
MOTORBIKE AND FERRY
Many people say they prefer a side-stand to a centre-stand. On condition you secure the motorbike with straps in the cargo hold. Never forget that movement on a boat can be from side to side, but also forward to back: so remember to leave your bike in gear and to fasten the front brake with a strap.
Another thing: if the motorbikes are lined up side by side, be careful of those next to yours and if necessary help the owner secure their motorbike correctly. Remember to take everything you need with you: usually the cargo hold of the ferry is closed until arrival.