Motorbike Touring in Great Britain

Essential Hints & Tips

These hints and tips are designed to make your touring more enjoyable by avoiding breakdowns and preventing some common reasons for relying on your breakdown assistance provider.


  1. Servicing – Don’t leave it to the last minute to get your bike serviced before leaving on your touring trip. The beginning of the season is the busiest time, so leave plenty of time for booking your service early to avoid disappointment.


  2. Spare keys/immobiliser – Always take a spare set of keys with you on your journey. Pack them in a separate location, or better still, if you have a pillion, let them have the spare keys. Same advice goes for alarm / immobiliser remotes as well, take the spare one with you and remember to take spare remote batteries.


  3. Bike security – Never keep your ignition key and your bike lock/security device key on the same key ring. If your keys are stolen then not only can they start the bike, but they can remove any security device at the same time. It may be worth investing in a heavy duty bike chain or D-lock. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, you’ll feel far more comfortable if you can secure your bike to a static strong object with a chain.


  4. Luggage – Invest in suitable luggage, even if it’s just a bike rack. Using bungee strapping for loose bags and equipment over the pillion seat is a recipe for disaster. It’s difficult to keep an eye on whilst you’re facing the opposite direction. It can easily slip sideways, meaning straps can become loose and could interfere with the rear wheel, chain mechanism or become damaged when resting on hot exhaust silencers.


  5. Packing – When packing luggage/panniers, always pack equipment/belongings that you may need on the journey on the nearside of the bike. This means you don’t have to stand and unpack whilst in the road with your back to flowing traffic. It’s a lot safer on the nearside away from the dangers of other vehicles.


  1. Parts/tools – It would be annoying to cut your touring holiday short just because you hadn’t prepared a few essential parts / tools. Take a small suitable tool kit, as well as a bulb kit, fuses, cable ties, insulation tape, jubilee clips, 1 Litre of engine oil, warning triangle and a puncture repair kit (tyre weld). This way you’re prepared for most easy-to-fix eventualities.


  2. Test emergency kits – Learn how to use your puncture repair kit before you embark on a journey. That way, if the inevitable happens, you already know the process, rather than trying to figure it out on a cold dark night in the rain in a layby.


  3. Accelerator/clutch – If your bike still has an accelerator and/or clutch cable, it may be worth investing in buying a spare. Even if you can’t replace it yourself at the roadside, at least you have one to hand to be fitted if you call on a RAC Patrol. The chances of continuing your journey because you already have these cables are greatly increased, particularly as these cables can easily break/fray at the most inconvenient time.


  4. Additional kit – There are some essentials when touring to guarantee enjoyment. Use earplugs, crucial if you are going to be on the roads for hours. Hi-Vis clothing especially as you are more likely to encounter riding in the dark or rainy low light level conditions when touring. Get a traditional motorbike travel map, these are great for planning routes and referencing if you’re lost. Smart phones/sat-navs are great to get you from A to B, but are awkward to navigate if you don’t know where you are, or want to go an alternative route, or look for nearest towns villages for fuel stations etc.


  5. Fuel – Check out locations of petrol stations for your proposed route before you start the journey. They can become few a far between if you’re travelling away from cities or in very rural areas e.g. welsh mountains, highlands or Dartmoor/Exmoor. Don’t wait until you go onto reserve before you start looking for fuel stations, always fill up when you come across a fuel station, even if the tank’s half full. Also be aware that rural stations may shut much earlier and may not even be open on Sundays or bank holidays. Rule of thumb, cover all of your essentials in one stop; take a rest, eat some food, and fill your tank.


  6. Breakdown cover – Make sure you have the correct level of RAC Breakdown Cover, so if the worst does happen, you can relax, knowing you are in the best hands and someone will be on the way to help you out. As Britain’s most experienced breakdown provider, the RAC know a thing or two about getting you back on the road. They attended 35,206 motorbike breakdowns last year and the fix rate was 75%. Plus, with an average response time of 45 minutes from the initial customer call to a patrol arriving, you’ll to be back on the seat in no time.  


RAC Shop

Visit the RAC shop for motorbike maintenance equipment, by clicking here.