Travelling abroad with your motorbike

If you’re a biker, you’ll know there’s not much else that compares to that sense of freedom and excitement which comes with setting off down the open road on your bike. Heading on an adventure abroad has the potential to take this experience to a whole new level.

However, before you power up and head for the ferry port, there’s a few things that you should consider before you go. These will help ensure that your trip’s a roaring success.

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Make sure your bike’s fit to travel

Before setting off on any significant journey, it’s always worth giving your bike a good once over. If you’re heading abroad though, it might be worth considering putting your bike in for a proper service before you depart. Not only will this flag up any issues but it will also make sure that your bike is running nice and smoothly.

Check that your MOT and tax have plenty of time left on them. You don’t want either expiring while you’re away on your travels.

Even with the best preparation in the world, your bike might still encounter problems while you’re away. It’s one thing to have a breakdown on a road in this country, but it could be even worse if you break down in a place you don’t know, especially if you don’t even speak the language. Getting breakdown cover which extends to Europe is a really good idea. If you’ve already got UK cover you can usually extend it by talking to your breakdown company.

It might be a good idea to still pack a few spares if you can carry them. Bulbs for example don’t take up much space and will come in very handy if one fails on a dark road at night.

Got your paperwork?

Obviously don’t forget your passport! It’s a good idea to keep it with you at all times while you’re away. You may need it with you if you pass over any borders and some hotels and campsites might also require it when you check in.

Keep your driving licence close to hand too. If you do get stopped by the police you may need to produce it on request.

All EU countries require you to have your original V5 registration document with you too. This provides proof that your bike is registered to you. In France for example, the police have the power to detain you if you can’t prove the bike is yours – not a great way to spend your holiday!

As well as your passport, driving licence and V5, you’ll also need to make sure that you’ve got your motorcycle insurance in good order. Don’t just assume that your insurance allows you to ride in other countries. If it doesn’t, you can usually contact your insurance provider to arrange temporary cover while you’re abroad for the duration of the trip. While talking to them, it’s a good idea to ask what you should do in case of an accident or for that matter, if your bike gets stolen.

Whenever you go abroad, it’s always a good idea to put travel insurance in place. It’s all well and good having breakdown cover to protect your bike if it gets ill, but what about you? Comprehensive travel insurance will ensure that you can access the right level of medical care wherever you are while you’re away. It could also provide protection for items should they get damaged, lost or stolen. 

Other considerations

No matter how well you know the rules of the road in the UK, you need to remember that they may well be different where you’re going. It’s worth having a look at the specific rules in whichever country it is you’re heading to. Check any requirements that might apply too such as attaching a GB sticker if you don’t have an EU marking on your number plate.

Make sure you check with your mobile phone operator that you can use your mobile abroad. Understand the charges too - you don’t want to return to an unwelcome bill.

Practise common sense when you stop at places on your bike. While your bike and possessions may be at no greater risk of being stolen while you’re away, it could be a lot more inconvenient. Don’t leave your passport, credit cards or other documentation on your bike unattended. If you need to stop somewhere with your possessions still on the bike, make sure they’re secured and that your alarm is activated. 

Finally, have fun! With the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve taken all these precautions– the open road beckons.

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