Planning & Prep Bike & Clothing Equiptment & Docs

Equipment List


1) Mobile phone. Store this where it cannot be easily broken should you come off the motorbike. Do not forget international double adapters so that you can recharge your cell phone along your route. Remember to activate international calls with your service provider before you leave.

2) Separate telephone number list (not in your mobile phone) with the following numbers
- Towing Association or AA
- Your dealer or mechanic
- Your medical aid
- Your bank and bank manager
- Your doctor
- The consulates/embassies along your route
- Tel numbers of contacts in remote countries
- International emergency evacuation company
- Your motorcycle insurance company
- Ambulance services
- Emergencies from a cell phone
- Emergency Police number

3) ID and / or Passport. Also a 2 or 3 photocopies stored in another bag.

4) Credit card. See your banker about using it in foreign countries

5) Local and/or international motorcycle drivers licence for both bike and cars. Make a few good colour photocopies of the original and show these to traffic officers.

6) AA or towing club, emergency services membership card. (Note: The AA membership card does not have their telephone number on it so you should write it on yourself with a permanent pen.)

7) Three light weight, easy to store tie-downs for your bike (without steel hooks or ratchets etc. Also choose differing lengths.) Should you break down and a farmer dude with a bakkie (small truck) offers you and your motorcycle a lift, you can then safely tie down your bike. They also double up in a host of other applications e.g. washing line.

8) Short tours. A can of instant tyre repair foam or slime (not for tubed tyres). Keep this in cool storage as they are inclined to explode when subjected to extreme heat!

For longer tours, a high pressure bicycle pump, tyre levers, tyre repair kit (ensure that the glue is not past its sell by date) and a spare front tube (can be used in an emergency for both front and rear wheels. Also for large side wall punctures on tubeless tyres). According to the AA in the UK the most common motorcycle breakdown is for a damaged tyre.

9) Multi vitamins can help boost your immune system which tends to flag on long and tiring tours.

10) An umbrella. If violent thunder storms are likely and distances between towns are great, an umbrella at the side of the road is a better solution than riding.

11) Your medical aid membership card

12) Emergency cash hidden somewhere on the bike e.g. behind your number plate. Avoid a single note as smaller denominations offer greater flexibility.

13) Camera batteries, film and or digital camera memory. Is a mistake to think that you will be able to find these just anywhere. Take them with you or stock up when visiting a city. Remember to keep them dry and cool.

14) Lighting a fire. Matches get wet and gas cigarette lighters are a problem if part of your journey is by air. A flint obtained from good camping stores solves both these problems

15) Also torch, extra batteries, extra torch bulbs, Cyalume Lightsticks, sunglasses, prescription glasses, sun screen, lip balm, address book, money belt, pen and paper, alarm clock, sandals, camera, film (lots), a multi-tool (e.g. Leatherman), compact binoculars, gas cigarette lighter, a candle, roll of toilet paper, waterproof and shockproof watch, aftershave cologne and water purification tablets

16) Dental floss (waxed). Beside its obvious use, this thread is very strong and thin. It can be used for sewing, cutting, sealing and tying in some amazing situations.

17) A small self defence "pepper" spray (mace) in the shape of a regular aerosol can, if you think that the area demands it. It should be able to fit into your jacket unobtrusively. You may want to remove the original paper label and substitute one from another can e.g. chain cleaner, insect repellent etc if your trip takes you across bordors. Note that experienced international travellers all agree - aggressive self defence is a last resort. Courteous, unthreatening behaviour combined with a smile is almost always a winner. Be streetwise and take maximum common sense precautions. This is critical for incident free touring.

18) You need something that can serve as a picnic blanket. A space blanket (looks like aluminium foil) serves this need very well. They come in a thin single layer style for First Aid boxes and a heavy duty version that has a groundsheet-type backing. While still light-weight and taking little space it can also double as a bike cover at night or in wet weather. Both types can be bought at your local hiking store. Caution. They should only be lain on in a shady area and not in the direct sun.

19) Documents

Ensure that nothing official expires during your tour i.e. your driving license, bike license discs, dated number plates, memberships, visas, passports etc

Remember all your drivers licences (car and bike), passport and necessary visas. Take you ID book as well but keep it in a separate place to your passport. This is useful to have should you have to go to the South African consulate in the event of your passport going missing.

20) Currency

Credit cards and travellers cheques. Remember to keep a copy of the cheque numbers separate from the cheques themselves. You will need these numbers if the cheques are stolen.

21) Foreign Phrase Books

Many long distance travellers report the importance of a working knowledge of one of the more local languages. French for North Africa. Portuguese for Angola and Mozambique. Spanish and Portuguese for South America. French or German for Europe, Arabic for North Africa and the Middle East etc etc. A suitable phase book that facilitates essential basic communication not only gets results but fosters a more sympathetic attitude to your needs from the local population.


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