Triumph Tiger rider Rhys Lawrey became the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in 2014, so he knows a bit about preparing for every eventuality.
“Don’t forget that weather can go from hot to cold in the space of a few hours depending on location, altitude and time of year. That’s why it’s important to pack for all climates,” he says.
We’ve all got a big trip in us, but how we pack and prepare could be the difference between a never-to-be-repeated adventure or a thrill-packed annual escape. Check out Rhys’ quick, simple and effective tips on how to get ready to get away.
1: Care for your core
Neck warmers or buffs are dead cheap and brilliantly effective in keeping you warm… as long as you use them properly.
If you’re riding into a cold wind, make sure you have the buff outside your outer layer of jacket. If you don’t, all that cold air is just heading straight into your jacket making your core even colder. Once your core gets cold, your hands and feet will follow.
When you put on your outer layer, make sure zips, vents and straps are done up if it’s cold. Do the opposite if it’s warm.
2: Hand in glove
Always take two pairs of gloves. One for summer and the other for winter, whatever time of year you’re riding because conditions can change by the hour.
Winter gloves need to be waterproof and windproof. Summer ones must be breathable.
Always keep the ones you’re not using in your tank bag so you can easily switch.
3: Sock sense
I always take three pairs of socks so I have an everyday pair, a waterproof pair and some really nice thick Triumph ones.
That way I need only one pair of breathable riding boots, which do the job in both the heat with thin socks and in the cold and wet with waterproof socks.
The choice of boots is always down to personal preference though. Some people prefer heavier winter Gore-tex waterproof boots.
4: Travelling light
Try not to take cotton. Stick to merino wool – it’s easier to clean, dry and doesn’t smell, even after a few days. With merino you can wash it, wrap it in a towel, tighten it and it’s dry in no time.
5: Layer the onion
I always think of my body like an onion with different layers, starting with a merino base layer and then building out from there.
After the inner core, I have a mid-weight merino long-sleeve top, followed by a fleece and then my riding jacket.
The same goes for below the waist. Use merino underwear, leggings and top off with the waterproof element if you need it.
6: Pannier planning
Get a waterproof carry case that fits snugly into your pannier so you can pull the whole thing out with its contents in one go, and then lock the empty pannier.
If you throw all your gear in your pannier you’ll end up fishing around for the bits and pieces you need each time you stop for the night.
7: Shoe business
Make sure you pack a pair of shoes that are breathable, warm, comfortable and not too bulky for when you’re not on the bike. You’ll be surprised how many people forget and end up having to live in flip-flops.
8: Safeguard the extremities
Use the same logic with your feet and hands as for your core.
Always think about how wind and water behave when you’re riding.
If it’s raining, don’t tuck your waterproof trousers into your boots or your feet will get soaked and cold and that’s no fun. If it’s pouring with rain and your jacket is tucked into your gloves, your hands will get wet, but if it’s windy and your gloves are outside your sleeves the wind flows over the top.
It’s simple science and something riders often don’t consider.
9: Use your head
We lose a lot of heat through our heads so keep a thin beanie in your tank bag and whip it on the second you take your helmet off.
10: Caffeine kick
The worst thing is the cold. I always carry sachets of coffee wherever I go, sometimes with a flask, so I can quickly warm my core up. There’s also the handy caffeine kick for when you’ve reached your planned stop, realise it’s not quite what you expected and decide to venture slightly further on for a good, warm night’s sleep.
11: Get a whiteboard
Not strictly layering but this will be the most crucial thing you buy in terms of mapping your route, organising your visas and permits, and ensuring you create a check and tick list of the right gear to take.
Use it to easily change your plans to keep things flexible and to make sure you pack the right stuff. Need some inspiration? Check out the new Triumph clothing and accessories brochure