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Hi this feels like a really stupid question but it has been bothering me for a while now and I could use some advice. I ride solo most of the time. It isn't really my choice to ride solo but I don't have many friends who ride also. The ones that do, don't ride as much as me. I think I should take more rest breaks while daytripping but sometimes I skip on them because I can't find a place to stop that I really like. What I like are more quiet places, preferably where I can park the motorcycle in sight. A place with a lot of bikers intimidates sometimes... How do you guys deal with that? What are your criteria on unfamiliar roads to pick a bar, restaurant, ... Do you decide before the trip where you'll stop? I think I'm being a bit too stressed out about it but I have very little experience travelling solo (on or off bike)... And I'm just the kind of person that ponders a lot. Thanks for the suggestions! Karolien
I rarely know where I am going to stop, it usually depends on how long I have been riding and if I need petrol or the toilet. Do not be intimidated by groups of people be they bikers or anybody else, you are highly unlikely to meet anybody who means you harm and nothing bad is going to happen with an audience.
I also try and park the bike where it can be seen if I am leaving luggage or a tankbag on it but as long as you put the steering lock or alarm on it is unlikely to be taken from outside of a service station or café.
It sounds like you need to build your confidence up with other people, perhaps you could persuade a friend to go off on some day trips with you until you do.
It's a really good question you pose and also and important one.
You say 'I skip on them because I can't find a place to stop that I really like'.
I have noticed myself doing much the same a lot of the time, though when I have made more a conscious decision to stop for a break, I either stop in a small village or at an interesting but quiet location along the road. When I have thoughts that this area doesn't seem interesting, maybe I'll find something better up the road is when I tend to prolong any short rest I need, and that is when fatigue can set it. If you push yourself beyond that point, you run the very real possibility of reduced mental alertness and lack of the focus you need to ride your motorbike. This is no fun and becomes tiring in itself. By remembering this, that I do want to have good attention and focus and I do want to enjoy the ride, the fun of it, I allow myself to stop more often and maybe I will find something in a place that otherwise I may think of as uninteresting.
When you say 'A place with a lot of bikers intimidates sometimes', I'm guessing you want to know that you are safe and to have that feeling of safety. This is a hard one, as it is not something anyone can give you, we must all find it ourselves. By following your values you will give yourself the best chance to attain this, giving yourself a sense of increased confidence in these situations.
I think I can speak for many when I say, we will have all felt at some time either vulnerable, even scared in situations we have found ourselves in. Again, it takes time, try not to push too far beyond what you are comfortable with.
You ask 'What are your criteria on unfamiliar roads to pick a bar, restaurant, ... Do you decide before the trip where you'll stop?' For me, it is not something I pick or decide before a trip or a days ride. I need to allow a certain amount of willingness, to allow myself to to go places I wish. If it is that I'm nearing the end of a day's ride and I have time on my side, then I like to do a little loop around an area or a village to take in what I see, how people are, to gleen something of their potential attitude. I also look for a place to park the bike, often I find it best to park near other bikes as you tend to then blend in and not stand out as solo. But at the same time, I would shy away from large gatherings of bikes where I may be intruding. Yes, I like to have the bike in view if possible, though there are many times this is not always possible and I have worried and have always felt relieved to see that nothing has happened in my absence. I don't become complacent about it, and so will mostly try to park it in view.
Other times it may not necessarily be a bar or a restaurant that I need or want, but often the centre of an old village or a small rest area on a winding road hopefully with a wonderful view. Somewhere to stop and eat a little food and rest your mind, allowing yourself to take in the environment around you.
Reading your story, I feel I can relate to this. But maybe in another way. I ride a bike for about 2 years now and also have little (or no) friends that ride. I like riding alone, but get nervous when I stop somewhere, especially when there are bikers (or common people ) sitting outside of a pub, I just 'know' they are 'judging' me (which is all in my head off course, they are just minding their own business most of the time) and then suddenly I 'lose' my skills. Is this what you mean with 'intimidating'?
Just recently I did an all-road training and the same insecurity came up, which isn't really helping. I am so used to riding alone, that it is more difficult for me to ride with others, I get to close or to far off and then I go to fast at a spot where I would have slowed down if I was alone.... pfff...
I know it is stupid (my behaviour, I am not referring to your question!). You must know I drove a 18m long bus for years, full of people, and they could watch me all the time, but it didn't bother me, because i didn't think they knew how to drive a bus, I guess. Or I just didn't care that much haha!
I think I am going to look for good companions to ride with every once in a while, to get used to it. And because it is fun!
And solo, I just have to get an attitude. lol
For picking restaurants, I found this easier when I was on a longer trip (in France, Italy etc). But also on daytrips it should be fun to stop at places you don't know, you might end up meeting some very nice people.
Maybe it helps to plan a stop (restaurant or nice cafe) before your trip, there is so much to find on the internet. When you know where you are going, you might have more confidence. And if you have done this a few times, you can start stopping at random places.
I reckon you are just being like any normal person. Lots of us feel a little uncomfortable outside of our familiar places and settings and motorcyclists in general almost always feel a need to be within sight of our bikes.I would imagine that before long you will work out what you really like to do during the ride, and develop that sort of " feel " you get for stopping at a good place.
I travel mostly solo, be that on long trips or just out for the day. I do not bother trying to plan ahead too much in relation of where to stop or where to eat, but normally go with what ever appeals to me at the time. If I am out and I see a nice little cafe that serves " cream teas " ( Tea, scone, double cream and jam ) and I like the look of it, that will probally be my stop.
Mixing with other bikers ?....do not worry about that. When I park my bike up, I am usually nearby and people who are into our kind of thing ....touring, overlanding etc...will always come over and have a chat, And if they are prepared to talk to a rather scary looking stranger like me, you should be fine.
You say you're a bit of an inexperienced traveller (on and off the bike) but even after several trips on my own (on and off the bike), I still have the same nervous worries before a trip or when stopping whilst travelling solo. But what I've learned, which helps me overcome these concerns, is that most people feel the same way too! And strangers that watch your approach are mostly inquisitive rather than being judgmental.
I usually have a book or map to read so I'm not totally bored when dining on my own & a map in fact, is a great conversation tool!
If you're just out for the day/weekend, google your route and plan a few stops. But during that trip look out for other "new" opportunities. That way, if you don't see anything that appeals you know you have a back-up stop to ride to.
I have found that a large group of male bikers aren't particularly approachable but a few guys on their own are usually friendly and helpful. Naturally, most other women are intrigued by another woman biker.
Try not to let your thoughts exaggerate the situation & enjoy your journey
I think I should take more rest breaks while daytripping but sometimes I skip on them because I can't find a place to stop that I really like. What I like are more quiet places, preferably where I can park the motorcycle in sight.
As you ride along .. look for the little side roads - they may be dead ends. I like to pick ones that go upwards - upwards can lead to a good view. Ok? There may be no pub, eatery etc .. but if you bring a snack and a drink then you are set.
Little towns are good. They are usually on the smaller roads.. and may not have much in the way of things to eat. Two small roads that cross one another can have a small store ...
Large places - but less people.
Stay away on weekends, public holidays and the crowds will be less, particularly during working hours and 'peak hour'. Or pick a place away from some other event elsewhere - hopefully the crowd will be there and not where you are.
Do go with your feelings - if you don't feel safe leave, you won't enjoy it if you stay.
Hi all! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. It helps a lot to know I'm not alone with these feelings. And the tips are great too. Will try them all on next trips. One by one that is or I'll get fat in no time !
I often do the same, forego breaks etc. but now I use the GPS to look for a park on the map and add it as a Via Point (so I don't lose the original destination). First choice are water feature parks such as seawalls and lakefronts, next downtown parks or squares. I also use the POI details for Libraries (for free wifi access) or restaurants such at Subway (free water and healthy food choices or a cup of soup to warm up.
I avoid the multi moto stops as I really don't know much about the finer details of the moto workings and I hate feeling like an idiot when they ask me about bleeding the ABS brakes or some such thing. I just want to ride it and NOT take it apart.
I try not to be dependant on the services of restaurants, pubs, etc. Instead I bring my own food and drink with me on the bike and make many short frequent stops rather than a few longer ones. There are several reasons for why I do his, and none of them have to do with finances. In general though, what I do is that I start looking for a place near my road to do a quick stop every 60 minutes - a park, a rest stop, down a side road, etc. I seldom ride more than 90 minutes before I find a place to pull over, and I hardly ever go looking for services, unless; I need fuel, I have heard of some special place, or if I really want a pub/resto for a change. If I pass some really inviting place, I will usually allow myself to stop, especially if it alligns well with my rest time.
I try not to be dependant on cafes, pubs or restaurants, for several reasons:
Eating or drinking in solitude in a public place is often a lonely experience. I'm not a loner, and therefore I prefer any solitude I have to be completely free of people near by
The company and attention of stranger can at times be nice, but can also be both dreadfull and also drag on forever
Few establishments can beat taking a breather in nature
First seeking out, and then waiting for service, eats up a lot of riding time. In turn this means that I will either cover less distance that day, or finish later. Finishing later means that I am more fatigued and that I have less time to rest properly, explore and do other things besides riding
Efforts involved in leaving the bike unattended eats up time and energy
Energy management is disrupted when services dictate when and for how long I am to stop. I like to dish out my energy in a manner that will get me where I want to go as quick and effortlessly as possible - leaving me fit to enjoy whatever the destination offers, day after day (I'm in it for the riding... mostly). To do this I need to get out of the saddle every 60-90 minutes to prevent fatigue setting in. I only stop long enough to take off the helmet, have a piss, have a swig of water, a few mouthfulls of some snack, and maybe the occasional cigarette. When I need to refuel I also make this my rest time for that hour. For lunch I allow myself 15-20 minutes, and for dinner 20-30 minutes. With this approach I can force myself to ride 15 hour/1000 km days several days in a row if I have to (but 5 hour/350 km days is sustainable indefinantly). With this approach it is the clock that dictates when I stop, not some establishment.
I agree with a lot of what Wheelie says, which is well described. The only point that doesn't apply to how I do things is point six. I don't operate like a clock and don't wish to be synchronised to one. I flow with what presents itself. I always carry food with me and like to continue being independent from having to buy ready made food. At the end of the day, just before finding camp or once I have set camp up, I like to take a walk, usually to the village to buy food for the evening meal and in the morning. In France, well, you can guess three items always on the list, vin rouge, fromage et baguette.
He's a typical stop for me on last's years trip. July 25 in south east of France in the excellent touring roads near St Sauveur Sur Tinée.
This was on the edge of a sharp drop off, I mean a long way down. That little building has an alter and religious ornaments inside. You would never know unless you made the choice then and there to stop as it was on a sharp bend going higher. I stayed there for lunch and watched many other motos just zoom by, many that I could see hesitating whether they should stop also. Stops like this allow you to take in, to make impressions that stay long after. I will probably ride past here again.
I located the actual spot on googly mapsies and found this to be nearer to the larger village of Sospel. The little building is Saint Honorat . Now after finding the exact spot I can give my photos a location, bonus. Actually, if you go to the link for Saint Honorat, and you turn the view to your right, so you look down around the corner, you will see another person on a moto with a redish helmet, it's not me, but obviously a popular riding road.
i always try to do as much iron butting as possible , just can get fed of riding and thats it, only a must stop is what i make, that means as soon as i cannot hold anymore to leak my pants and then continue
I try to always carry dried fruit and almonds or peanuts in the summer. When its colder I always care chocolate. Some good hard salami is great also.. and hard cheese like parmesan you don't need to refrigerate.
Right now I'm in central asia. I stop when I see a good Shashlik (bbq) stand where I can park the bike and sit in the shade. Sometimes its a quick stop to get an icecream to try to cool you down.
I usually avoid the crowded centers and anywhere I see graffiti on buildings.
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