8 Tips to Go from Beginner to RTW ADV Rider

Written by Matthew Shields and Lucie Vivian. Posted in Tech-n-Tips

Social media makes it easy to see how folks from various walks of life are riding around the world. Still, many riders think they must be seasoned motorcyclists and travelers before embarking on such adventures. Well, we’re living proof that’s not the case.

Just a few months after getting my motorcycle license, and after just a few hundred miles on our BMW R1200GSA, we set off on a journey that took us through 41,700 km and 30 countries over nine months to the other side of the world.

We hope to inspire as many others as possible and truly believe that long-distance motorcycle travel is for everyone. Here are some of our top tips for getting started.

8Tips beginner 2 rtw riders 1Matt and Lucie set off on a journey through 41,700 km and 30 countries over nine months to the other side of the world.

1. No More Excuses

 This bit is easier said than done, but we met many on our journey that were envious of our trip—with dozens of excuses for not doing it. Start by getting rid of those excuses.

No money? Adventure bike travel is probably cheaper than you imagine and can be done on a very small budget. Think wild camping, basic food, free activities, hand-washing clothes, and no drinking (okay, maybe a little).

No experience? Start slow on easy roads, take your time, and learn as you go. You can build the experience as you ride—like we did.

What about my job? Either quit or ask for extended unpaid leave, which you might be surprised to hear that many employers are willing to offer. Again, it’s easier said than done and depends on many factors. However, explore your options before deciding it’s impossible.

What about the kids? Pawn them off to the grandparents! Joking aside, this one isn’t easy and could put things off for a few more years.

It all comes down to the key question, “How bad do you want this?” No more excuses!

2.Get Inspired

 Watch videos, read articles, attend events, join Facebook groups, message others, and start a travel page. Get connected and get inspired! Absorb all things adventure motorcycle travel until it almost becomes second nature—by the time watching Itchy Boots cross another desert starts to get old, you’ll finally realize that anyone can do it!

3.Do Your Research

 Figure out what gear you need, what bike will be suitable, how to pack, what spares and tools you should carry, and what to do in certain situations. There’s an abundance of information online to help figure out everything you need to know ahead of time. Remember, we also started this adventure with zero knowledge. But our first step was endless research online.

8Tips beginner 2 rtw riders researchFigure out what gear you need, what bike will be suitable, how to pack, what spares and tools you should carry, and what to do in certain situations.

4.Take the First Step

 Take the first step, whether that’s buying a motorcycle, telling your friends, handing in your notice, or simply opening a map. Then keep taking small steps until the day when you’re sitting on your bike, in your gear, surrounded by your luggage, and starting off on the first kilometer of many.

5.Get Prepared

 Start building inventory—buy or borrow all the gear you need. But remember, not everything needs to be new. Buy secondhand if it’s good quality because there is nothing worse than having everything falling apart while traveling—although, trust me, it’s difficult to avoid, so go for higher quality wherever possible.

If you plan to wild camp, think about everything you might need for a comfortable night’s sleep in whatever temperature and conditions you might face and how to store and prepare food. Also, consider emergency situations and what equipment you might need to take care of yourself and be able to contact someone for help.

8Tips beginner 2 rtw riders boxWondering if we bought everything we might need to ride halfway around the world.

6.Don’t Over-Plan

 Have an idea of your general route and the timing, then take each day as it comes. Adapt as you ride. Be open to making new plans and accepting new experiences. Allow your route to be carved out behind you rather than drawn out in front.

7.Build Confidence

Adventure motorcycling can be as challenging or as easy as you make it, but either way trust me when I say you can do it!

Build your confidence each day and witness yourself becoming naturally more adventurous with your routes and riding. If you wish, push yourself, or enjoy cruising on open roads with the wind in your hair.

8.Find Your Own Pace

 Most importantly, find your own pace, whether that means riding several hundred kilometers per day and crossing continents in a matter of weeks or stopping for a night in every other town. Travel at a speed that works for you, and be open to adjusting that pace as you go.

8Tips beginner 2 rtw riders campingTravel at a speed that works for you, and be open to adjusting that pace as you go.

If you are lucky, there may come a time when everything aligns, and you find yourself in a position where a long-distance motorcycle adventure is possible—if that time ever comes, be sure to seize it with both hands.

However, such an opportunity may not naturally fall into the hands of everyone. So, we encourage anyone who dreams of riding their motorcycle around the world, whether a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, to do the little things to make it a reality. Those little steps are necessary before you take the bigger step of leaving home!

Matt and Lucie PortraitsMatt Shields and Lucie Vivian are a British couple with a thirst for adventure travel. While they enjoy sipping cocktails on the terrace of a sunset villa in the Maldives, they get much more from straying off the beaten track and trying to avoid the tourists. You can follow their adventures on YouTube and Instagram @we.are.adventure.riders

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