Touring on two wheels is one of life’s greatest freedoms; you take your bike, load it with some gear and head off into the distance. But some people overthink things, and end up going nowhere.
When you strip it all back, it becomes a question of a few simple factors such as bike choice and what to pack. Nathan Millward has done it all, from travelling the world on a 105cc Honda to exploring Iceland on a BMW R1200GS; he knows how to get the most of his trips, and is currently running his Garbage Runs, where he takes groups of riders – on any bike – to explore the UK. Meet one of the riders who’s done the ride from Land’s End to John o’Groats with him…
Rider: David Martin Bike: Derbi Terra 125 Adventure
Why that bike, and how was it suitable/unsuitable for the trip?
I already owned the bike, with its main purpose being for learning on and commuting to work. It managed the Land's End to John o'Groats trip without much trouble, though being a tall and relatively lightweight bike it did get blown around a little bit in the high winds/weather we had that week. The only other thing to consider around a smaller slower bike is the slower ride home at the end!
What luggage solution did you use?
Two Aldi ‘special buy’ dry bags and a home-made luggage rack.
How did you arrive at that set up?
No one really makes a luggage solution for my bike. The bike has a high-level exhaust, so strapping bags over the seat and original luggage rack/box mounting would have probably started a fire after a few miles. Any good-sized dry bags would have been fine, but Aldi just happened to have them on offer at a tenner each.
What did you take that you needed and couldn't have managed without?
Less of an 'item' and more of a bike feature; heated grips! There is nothing more miserable than having cold and wet hands. The grips kept them warm and that in turn kept the gloves dry.
What did you take that you didn't need and could have managed without?
Cooking equipment; there’s plenty of places to stop and get food in the UK, even in the less populated areas of Scotland. Only one evening did we stop any distance from somewhere suitable, but you could plan the day around eating a good hot meal at lunch and then just having cold/no-prep food in the evening.
What would you do differently next time?
To have been more confident and have more trust in my own riding abilities. Gut wrenching nerves on the first few mornings eased by the end of the week.
To read BikeSocial’s advice on how to tour on any bike, click here