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So first mini tour done.. quick trip to northern France for the weekend. Not a proper tour just a quick 350miles under the belt. As a newbie to biking this year I thought it worthwhile to share my mini experience

1) clearly packed the kitchen sink hugely unnecessary amount of bike related equipment .. the full blown motorist travel toolkit really wasnt wasnt required... Note to self pack sparingly nxt time
2) read as much as I could ahead of time P&O Ferries will they/ won't they supply ratchets .. well they do and even showed me best way to use em .. so I was a pro for the return leg
3) having deliberated for months about luggage and adopting the drybag approach with Hepco and Becker extension rack.. I can safely say my preference is simply drybag across pillion seat secured with Rok straps .. I was even more comfy with small back rest offered by bag strapped in this way, bike also felt lighter to handle compared to it secured on the H&B rack. Also drybag were from Lomo.co.uk.. all stuff bone dry despite some really crap weather on Saturday.. I got the 30l dry holdall amazing value .
4) talking of weather as we were only there for weekend ventured out in horrid conditions on Saturday just to try and keep improving skill/knowledge base .. bike was planted and comfy and gave me confidence
5)had givi lights fitted from new absolutely brill especially on night time country roads ...great illumination
6)tom tom rider 410 a godsend and sits nicely on handlebars .. very secure no vibration and a breeze to use .. linked to interphone f5mc headset and htc10 no issues.
7) french roads are grt back roads are dead quiet finished Sunday le touquet to Dunkirk to Calais all back roads brill
8) landed in Dover Sunday night as sun was setting .. careful ride up past many a lorry .. kept me focused to say the least ... But time spent there will only boost confidence.
9) final note had bought Oxford fluro vest for roadside assistance ended up wearing it as permanent fixture and I really didn't notice it on. So will adopt that additional clothing item from now on

All in all great trip next time looking forward to a longer duration and some proper miles ...
 

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Well done. Did a 527 mile round trip to the Peak District a few weeks back. Like you filled a 20litre dry bag with tools, inner tubes, pump etc etc. Had a Q4 tail bag and the dry bag strapped on top with Rok straps. I have the Givi V47 box on the back but kept it light. The tail bag and dry bag acted as a nice back rest. Like you way over the top. I am off to the Picos in May and have fitted Hepco and Becker pannier rails. Very nice. Will now be looking to make a tool tube to get the tyre levers etc bolted safe and low in the space in the rails. Will go with a soft bag pannier, probably Nelson Rigg 3050's as may well have the wife as pillion. I was very impressed. The bike never missed a beat and the miles together gave added confidence to my riding. A good tip that I read was keeping hydrated and topping up with as much water as you can drink and making regular toilet stops. I think every hour and a half is not hard to achieve and it certainly kept the pains down in knees and hips.
 
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