What to take on a long trip

Folks, I need your help.

I am planning and hoping to go on a long trip this summer, kinda 1,500+ miles each way. Besides the standard “Service your bike” or “get a Bluetooth kit” kinda suggestions, I need to think of tools or gadgets that would make the trip better/safer/more enjoyable without them being cumbersome to carry around. For instance, I thought about getting helmet brake lights (brakefreetech.com) but I found them to be too expensive.

What would you suggest for me?

Cheers.

Service, well only if you are going to be exceeding the recommended intervals. i.e. if you are going 4000 miles, and you have 4000 miles till the next service you’re fine.

Puncture repair kit is a must.
If your bike using oil then making sure you have some spare.
Chain lube.
First Aid kit (you might not be trained but someone else might be).
Head torch.
Phone charger (that you can run of the bike).

Generally you really need to carry what you need. Anything beyond that is just extra crap that you have to carry.

Gaffa tape, multi tool and wd40 :grin:

Try and think of what is likely to break if you drop the bike and that would stop you from continuing. Cable ties, spare bulbs, spare brake/clutch lever and footpeg depending on where you are going and how hard it is to source parts for your bike.

Socket or spanner for your rear and your front axle to take the wheels off.

RAC card, wallet, phone, passport.

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The responses to these type of questions tend to be
Nothing (wallet with rac card and money)
A spare bike in parts

The fundamental question to know is what kind of trip you’re doing. Are you traveling between well populated and resources cities or going wild? What you take for either differs.

Are you travelling to places where you are likely to get ripped off or don’t want people touching your bike or don’t want to be on side of the road for too long in case a helpful guy with a gun takes all hassle of the bike by taking it off you?

Are you going mountains or beach?

What is your level of confidence in doing repairs by the side of road?

Ultimately have a backup in case bike packs up/ you drop it badly and the resources to wait it out with alcohol. Then no matter what happens, you’re golden.

As for things to make it more enjoyable, consider a water back pack if you want to ride for long hours in hot climates.

Definitely battery packs for phone, if on your own you will have loads of downtime so it can get boring.

I’d suggest a good couple of base layers. They can keep you cool when hot or warm when cold. Also easy to wash and quick to dry so you’re not wasting the clothes you might be wearing when off bike.

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On Euro trips I’ve done which were around 2k miles, I had a puncture repair kit, small chain lube can, zipties, some electrical tape, this Motion Pro tool kit with a couple of bike specific sockets/extras Motion Pro Trail Tool and a hydration pack so I sip water on the move rather than having to gulp down drinks whenever you stop.
Anything else would be sourced on route.

It’s handy to have some way of keeping a phone charged while out, that could be on bike USB or a battery pack kept with you.

If doing more offroading type or remote trips I’d probably carry more items.

WD40
Multi tool
SPARE KEY (wear around your neck)
Condom

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A can of tyre foam will get you out of a bind. Although it may be too bulky and the next tyre fitter won’t thank you. Sounds daft but a map and compass are handy regardless of how you are navigating.

A good approach is to pack everything you think you need. Then take half of it out. Then take half of it out again and then you are all set.

I’d also suggest you load up the bike and go for a day ride with everything you intend to bring packed how you intend to pack it. Because it moves around and may not sit like you expected it to. Better to find that out on a trial run.

Finally if you are going with mates do a weekend with them first. If you don’t want to kill each other and / or yourselves after a weekend consider a longer trip. Being in peoples company for extended periods of time isn’t for everyone.

Oh and some latex gloves or equivalent. They take up no space and are handy if you have to do anything mechanical.

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Kick the tyres, buy a ferry ticket and go.

Also remember what I think Ted Simon said, at the end of a long day riding, when you just want to get there quickly…go slow. That’s when accidents happen.

Don’t take the kitchen sink, you can buy anything you need along the way.

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Like many have said, tool kit and puncture repair are likely to be your main stays. Do take oil, I just took a little 1 ltr top up when I went.

puncture repair I have one of these with me ALL the time.

but I also had this, and the strips seemed better and the boring tools so I just put those into the above and have a pretty banging kit now.

I have this tool kit with me at all time as well. This actually came in handy Tuesday when I’d left my lights on and needed to get the battery out at work.

As above, it depends loads on where you’re going and how you want to run it.

If it’s in civilization you don’t need a bunch of things, as local shops will sell it, like oil.

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What Tromoman said. I’d maybe take what you need to adjust your chain, or make sure you do it before you leave.

Can of tyre weld or puncture repair bits. That said - I had a puncture in Belgium and a local stuck me in his van and drove me a bike shop for a repair. Always someone around who will help (much like the UK)

Only other thing I’d do is check out locations for bike shops near your destination just in case you do need some emergency work and/or clothing.

If you are going with mates - one can take a chain, one the tyre weld. one the chain lube etc. No need for 4 sets of stuff :slight_smile:

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I’d probably take a handful of tools myself but no more than I can for example roll up in a kitchen towel and stuff under my seat - would really be limited to a puncture kit, what’s needed to lift off the tank to say “hmm that looks like a motorbike engine should”, and some cable ties

Important to consider that the mileage, while different miles, is about what I’d do in 2 months for commuting - and I’m sure is about what most London Bikers cover in 2-6 months depending on proximity to the Big Smoke. Now I don’t know about you but on my older, higher mileage bikes, I’m yet to be stranded for anything other than a puncture. This is why a wallet and RAC cover would be my absolute musts, and a small tool kit for this and that would be a nice to have

If you are to service (or have your bike serviced), don’t let this happen immediately before your trip. Even with my garage which I trust highly and do a good standard of work in the main, there have been niggles that have cropped up shortly after a service before and on one occassion quite a big problem. Would not be ideal to find anything just after you reach Calais.

I probably would be doing an oil and filter prior if it were me, even if I were not going to exceed the intervals. Just as important I think is to make sure everything is tight, having your day cut short because you realise you’ve lost a clutch lever bolt somewhere on a French motorway is far from ideal.

Even if you have goretex riding gear, I’d still be bringing a rainproof oversuit - much quicker to dry, better for the really heavy stuff

Have fun, don’t overthink it. I don’t know the status of EHIC anymore I have a feeling that stuff expired in January - could be wrong. Health Insurance for if you have a spill and carry proof with you somewhere easily found along with an ICE card - sorry to be morbid.

If you were to get stranded for any COVID related nightmare, what will you do with work? Are you able to bring a laptop with you to work just in case?

Fewer items than you’d expect for roughing it, a few smarter outfits for going out in - this is something I’ve learned

  1. Very basic tools, only a puncture repair kit an almost essential
  2. Health insurance etc
  3. High vis, breathaliser, anything else that might be a requirement for travelling on a French (or other) motorway
  4. Work arrangements just in case
  5. Smart clothes for off the bike, waterproofs for on it
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I thought this was dropped, or at least for bikers. Something to do with them being about as useful as a chocolate teapot and bikes not really having room to store them.

Could be wrong.

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sounds familiar, can’t remember though!

You’ll need your V5 and insurance certificate too. And your driving licence if you don’t normally carry it with you. Don’t speed in France or Switzerland. The French will ban you and the Swiss will bankrupt you.

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There is a good 44teeth video to show this! 4000Euro fine I think it was? I do believe you can also lose your bike if you’re going too too fast

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