Long distance motorcycling

Purple horizon.As well as weaving your way through commuter traffic your motorcycle also offers a great chance to take trips at the drop of a hat. Whether it's exploring the far reaches of the UK or venturing further a field to Europe, your bike can come along for the ride.

But before you leave you should take some basic steps to help ensure that your trip doesn't turn into a nightmare.

The first and most obvious is getting some comprehensive breakdown cover. However well you take care of your ride, sometimes breakdowns happen, so when they do you need to make sure you're ready.

It's also vital to ensure that you have enough fuel to make it to the next petrol station. Don't get distracted by the thrill of the open road and end up getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with no petrol.

A mobile phone can get you out of a fix - but make sure it is fully charged before you leave. If you break down or have an accident you won't have to worry about walking to the nearest emergency phone or call box to summon some help. Some emergency food and water, especially in nasty conditions, is also a good idea, as you may have to wait some time for a rescue vehicle.

Your safety should be your top priority and should certainly come in above arriving at your destination half an hour earlier. With this in mind it is well worth taking regular breaks to recharge the batteries and stretch your stiff joints. Riding tired, like driving tired, is dangerous for yourself and other road users.

Finally, make sure you wear appropriate clothing. Don't let a change in climate fool you - the road is still as hard as ever and you need proper protection for you body and also for your ears. Long journeys can be punishing for the eardrums so getting a pair of earplugs could also be worthwhile.