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Revving up for a Long-Distance Motorcycle Trip Abroad Part 2

Part 2 

SPOT TRACKER – or similar device. Imagine your phone does not have a signal and your bike broke down in the middle of nowhere, or even worse … yes, it happens …  you need the good old “panic” button of your spot tracker. The spot tracker is good for your family and friends to follow your adventure – the subscription comes with an online detailed map – a link your people can use, or if you are like RTW Doug and like to ride “The Road of Bones” in Siberia, at least we get a message from his spot tracker from the “I am OK button”  

SIM—Most people cannot live without their phones nowadays, so an “international” SIM card or one with roaming is always good to have. AT&T and Verizon have solutions that are not cheap but easy to use. There are many other options, like ESIM, which is good if you visit many countries. You can buy the local prepay SIM card or get a Star Link subscription—not cheap, but it works everywhere.      

VEHICLE LIABILITY INSURANCE VALID FOR THE COUNTRIES YOU ARE PLANNING TO VISIT – Every country requires this insurance, just like our country. Again, check what the requirements are and where you can buy it. Usually, the borders are a good place to buy it, but in the EU and the Schengen countries, there are no borders, and they all require the so-called Green Card. Keep in mind that purchasing border insurance, a green card, or a local third-party liability insurance can take time and may not be possible to happen online. 

FULL COVERAGE INSURANCE—It is up to you, but it can help with a lot of headaches, especially if your vehicle is expensive. I avoid riding flashy, expensive bikes that attract attention, but in case of an accident, I would not have a problem just walking away from it. 

INTERNATIONAL DRIVING LICENSE – not every country requires one, but they are cheap – you can get it at AAA for $20. To me, it is not even worth researching and worrying about whether you need it or not; just get it. And here is a little tip from a personal experience – some countries still have crooked police, and the usual treat is that they will keep the driving license that they already requested from you if you don’t give a “gift” … well folks, just let them have it, as a good old souvenir from an American friend, do not give “gifts” 

MAPS—Nowadays, using our phones to navigate is common, and MapsMe is a great app that does not use data. GPS is another system that works great, but nothing beats the good old paper map and traveling with your finger over it again and again before the trip. A good idea also is to use it during the trip to mark the roads you’ve ridden already. What a great memory piece for your adventure wall.

DIGITAL AND PAPER COPIES OF ALL OF YOUR DOCUMENTS – Shit happens; we lose stuff one way or another, and it is always great to have a backup plan. 

TRAUMA PACK—We have some of the best trauma packs for bikers at the Road Guardians store. It’s better to have it and not need it than not have it and need it. 

PERSONAL MEDICATION – Many places may not have your subscription medications  

IMPORTANT ELECTRONICS – phone, GPS, SPOT tracker, Laptop, Camera 

RIDING GEAR – A helmet is a must. I would not even research if the law requires it. I believe in full riding gear – good tall riding boots (I wear Forma Adventure – waterproof and saved my leg at a crash in Mongolia), Riding jacked (proper for the season), and pants with protectors, gloves, neck warmer. 

CLOTHING—I would not pack much here: one sweatshirt, three T-shirts, three pairs of socks, three undies, walking sandals (I use Keen), and fast-drying convertible pants (unzip the bottom part and turn to shorts). Remember that everywhere you go, there are markets full of cheap clothing, and it is fun to buy from the locals and bring your “memories” home. Pack SPACE!

TOOLS: Of course, you can’t predict and bring all the tools and spare parts you may need on your trip, but it would not hurt to have the basics for your bike that may help you get to a workshop. A set of the most common wrenches for your bike (metric, imperial, standard, Whitworth…), Philips and regular screwdrivers, spark plug wrench, tire levers, and oil wrench. Some wires, electric tape, bolts, nuts, washers, zip ties (big and small, you will be surprised how much you could temporarily fix with those), a tire repair kit (depending on your tires – tubeless or with tubes), portable air pump (there are so many small powerful pumps that would run from a small battery or your motorcycle battery), a pair of vise grips (unlimited usage, even if you brake a clutch or brake lever, you can use those to limp to a shop), Clutch and brake cables (they are small and usually snap by surprise), chain link (if your bike has a chain). At the end of the day, you will always miss something but do not forget that this is an adventure and sometimes broken down on the side of the road, you meet the nicest people that help you, and often you become friends for life.  So just relax, take it one mile and one day at a time, and enjoy every minute of your trip. 🙂 

Written by: Polly Marinova

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