How to Carry Travel Gear on a Motorbike

There’s something about a great road trip that can make us feel truly free. A motorbike road trip, however, can really take the euphoric feelings of freedom to a whole new level. Feel the rush as you explore new terrain and take to the open road on your bike. Whether you’re going away for a More »

How to Survive While Driving in Exhausting Heat

Long and hot summer days are a perfect time for adventures, and your car is definitely in want of a cool drive. You’ve bought new summer tyres, planned your itinerary in details, and packed your belonging…but you still aren’t ready enough to hit the road. Travelling by car in a trying heat requires much more More »

The Best Outdoor Adventures in California

Although states like Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Montana and Florida are hailed for their wide array of outdoor adventures, the massive state of California also has plenty to offer nature lovers.   From pristine mountain lakes and flourishing redwood forests to sunny beaches and sandy desert dunes, these are the best spots for outdoor exploration in More »

How to Carry Travel Gear on a Motorbike

There’s something about a great road trip that can make us feel truly free. A motorbike road trip, however, can really take the euphoric feelings of freedom to a whole new level. Feel the rush as you explore new terrain and take to the open road on your bike. Whether you’re going away for a night, a weekend, a week or longer, it’s essential that you safely secure your travel gear on a motorbike.

Loose items can easily fall off your bike, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. The best case scenario is that you lose or break something. However, there’s a good chance that your belongings could cause an accident, either for you or for another road user.

Items can get caught in your wheels if you’re not careful. They can hit other vehicles and obscure their view. They can knock other motorcyclists off balance or cause them to swerve and fall. Make sure you tightly secure your travel gear on your motorbike.

There are several ways to carry travel gear on a motorbike. Visit Vault Cargo for a range of tough and high-quality straps in different lengths, including 8 foot, 12 foot, and 15 foot with a ratchet.

Locked In Solid Panniers

Panniers attach to the side of a motorbike, providing much-needed luggage space. The specially designed mounting systems help to ensure that everything stays where it should. Often referred to in biking circles as hard luggage, panniers may be made from plastic, aluminum or fiberglass. Some keen bikers prefer to carry their travel gear on a motorbike safely inside a lockable piece of equipment.

A big downside of such luggage, however, is that it can be quite pricey to buy. If you don’t use it often, it might take a fairly long time to get your money’s worth from the initial purchase. Additionally, hard luggage is easier to break than other ways of carrying baggage on a motorcycle. If your bike topples over, you take a tumble or another vehicle crashes into the side of your bag, you can probably wave goodbye to your panniers. The items inside will likely be okay, though.

Packed in Soft Saddlebags

Soft luggage adds less weight to your bike than hard luggage and is also a lot less prone to being damaged. Leather saddlebags have been a favorite way to carry travel gear on a motorbike for many years. They are especially popular with people in biking clubs and who ride a classic or retro bike. If treated correctly, soft luggage can be waterproof too.

Some vehicles have mounting systems to keep bags in place on the side. If not, you’ll have to strap bags to your bike, making sure they’re tight and secure, with no hanging parts that could become stuck. Be sure to distribute weight evenly between the bags too.

In Soft Bags Attached to the Seat

If you’re not taking a passenger on your biking trip, carrying your luggage behind you can help to keep the bike stable and balanced. After all, the space is designed to carry the weight of an additional person. You really do need to ensure that any bags on the seat behind you are extremely securely attached and fastened to your vehicle.

It’s essential that you don’t rely on balance alone, though, to keep your luggage in place. Turning corners, driving at speed and strong gusts of wind can all contribute to baggage straps loosening. Make sure that your straps are strong and tough, that you pull them tight and that you make regular stops to check and re-tighten straps if necessary.

Of course, if you’re just away for a night or two, and you’re happy to travel light, you or your passenger could always strap a backpack on for the ride.

Be aware of all relevant laws, take it easy and slow down when riding your bike and carrying luggage, wear all necessary safety gear and always, always wear a helmet.

How to Survive While Driving in Exhausting Heat

Long and hot summer days are a perfect time for adventures, and your car is definitely in want of a cool drive. You’ve bought new summer tyres, planned your itinerary in details, and packed your belonging…but you still aren’t ready enough to hit the road.

Travelling by car in a trying heat requires much more precautions than a regular drive around the block and this is what you should take into account in order to prevent the heat from ruining your vacation.

Heat provokes dangerous situations on the road

The human body was ‘designed’ to operate at the temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, and it doesn’t like any changes in this status quo. The heat ruins this delicate balance, causing the human body to lose fluid which results in dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, numbness of limbs, and confusion. Your driving skills get compromised as your brain loses its ability to concentrate on the road. If you know that your travel is going to fall on the extreme heat or your route lies through a hot area, ensure you take necessary precautions.

Check your tyres

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Not only must your tyres be of a good quality and in decent condition in order to withstand the trying heat, but also they must be correctly inflated. Under-inflation (which actually happens oftener than you think) of at least one tyre in a set dramatically increases the odds of getting a blowout. It happens because an under-inflated tyre easily overheats due to its flabbiness and, as a result, a wider stripe of contact with the road. The dangerous situation can be easily avoided by regularly checking the pressure in all 4 tyres using a pressure gauge and keeping them inflated to the index prescribed by the car manufacturer.

Keep your engine cool

This requires not only making regular stops during the ride to let your engine cool in full, but also a proper maintenance of the cooling system (involve a proficient mechanic if you cannot do it on your own). Make sure that the engine coolant is replaced in time (usually, it must be done every 2 to 6 years) and it contains a correct ratio of water and the coolant.

Test your battery

Heat is your battery’s bitter enemy, causing its fluids to evaporate and connections to corrode. So if your battery isn’t new (3 years and older), have a mechanic test it. If you drive an electric car, know that at hot temperatures, you need to reduce the mileage per charge by at least 40%. So make sure you adjust your route to shorten distances between recharges.

Check car liquids, belts, and hoses

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The extreme heat wears out belts and hoses and consumes fluids faster. Before making a big ride in a hot weather, replace all blistering, worn, or cracked parts and ensure your car fluids (motor oil, transmission, brake, power-steering and windshield fluids) are fresh and at a proper level.

Pack the emergency kit

Except for jumper cables, non-perishable heat-proof food, flashlight, and the first-aid kit, your emergency kits must contain lots of water (at least 70 fl oz per passenger per day of travel).

The Best Outdoor Adventures in California

Although states like Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Montana and Florida are hailed for their wide array of outdoor adventures, the massive state of California also has plenty to offer nature lovers.

 

From pristine mountain lakes and flourishing redwood forests to sunny beaches and sandy desert dunes, these are the best spots for outdoor exploration in California.

Yosemite National Park

The unbelievable Yosemite National Park is easily the top spot for soaking up the outdoors. Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the eastern part of the state, this famous park has plenty of opportunities for hikers, rock climbers and even cross-country skiers.

Known around the world for its massive granite cliffs like El Capitan, the area is also home to many waterfalls, lakes and streams, glaciers, mountain peaks, meadows and sequoia groves.

Corona del Mar

A sub-section of famous beach city Newport Beach, Corona del Mar has a stunning, unique state beach. Sitting just south of the Newport Harbor jetty, the mild waves make it an ideal spot for swimming, but there are other things to do here as well.

Giant cliffs overlook the channel where the boats enter and leave the ocean, with ridges perfect for climbing. If you make it over them, you’ll find a smaller ocean cove that’s often less crowded. Corona del Mar also has fire pits for summer bonfires.

Joshua Tree National Park

Many visit California for its warm weather, and few places get hotter than Joshua Tree National Park. Much of the park is a designated wilderness area, but there are still plenty of parts travellers can explore.

With nine organized campgrounds in the park, Joshua Tree is a major hotspot for camping. Backcountry camping is also permitted within the park. As with most national parks, there are a variety of nature paths and hiking trails—some with views as far as Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea. It is also a popular spot for bouldering and rock climbing.

Lake Tahoe

One of the most beautiful places in California is Lake Tahoe. The region is filled with activities for those who enjoy either tourist traps or more natural locations. It splits the California/Nevada state line.

The southern shore of the lake is the more popular vacation spot, filled with large hotels, casinos and watersports like parasailing and jet skiing. But, in the north, you’ll find resorts popular with downhill skiers in the wintertime.

This relaxing destination offers incredible views of mountain peaks surrounding the cool alpine lake and small towns littered with summer festivals along the shoreline. Snag one of these California vacation rentals and relax by the water.

Humboldt County

A few hours north of San Francisco, Humboldt County is filled with redwood trees and foggy coastlines. With a very small population of mostly college students and hippies, this interesting area has some rather unique spots to enjoy.

Possibly the most exciting is Patrick’s Point State Park, which offers coastal views, forest hikes and overlooks on top of giant rocks. There is also a small recreation of a Sumeg village, showcasing the area’s rich Native American history. Other popular coastal hikes and opportunities for rock climbing can be found at Luffenholtz Beach. Wandering the greenery-filled hikes at Fern Canyon is also outstanding.

Travelling in Humboldt will save you money simply because nearly everything here is outdoors—and free.

La Jolla

The shores of La Jolla are a great choice for San Deigo beachgoers. Their varied settings allow for reclining on the sandy beach or sitting atop rocky cliffs overlooking the blue ocean.

Also in La Jolla, travellers can climb down to some tide pools, where they’ll spot everything from hermit crabs to sea stars. Though you have to watch out for the waves to make sure you stay standing, it’s a fun way to get up close and personal with some marine life—for free. While all of Southern California’s beaches are beautiful, this one stands out above the rest, with possibly the most stunning sunsets in the region.

Borrego Springs

This spot may be lesser known to travellers, but Borrego Springs is home to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Located in eastern San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties, this sprawling region has over 100 miles of hiking trails in the Colorado Desert.

The park includes desert, chaparral and woodland ecosystems, which are home to colorful rock formations, desert washes, natural springs, the unique desert bighorn sheep and native desert plants and cacti. The park is set far away from any substantial cities, offering dark skies that often draw stargazers.

Big Sur

Central California has a very different coastal make-up than both Southern and Northern California. In the south, the sunny beaches are a huge part of recreation and tourism. Whereas in the north, they’re colder but still ideal for strolling on the sand and looking at the water.

In Big Sur, the Pacific Coast Highway twists and winds on massive coastal cliffs that drop off into deep turquoise waters below. On the opposite side of the highway from the colorful sea, forests of towering redwoods line the roadside. There are plenty of forest hikes in this area. Some have views of the expansive ocean, floating sea otters and coastal waterfalls.

Mammoth Lakes

Located in the Sierra Nevada range, not far from Yosemite, is Mammoth Lakes. It’s a popular area in both winter and summer.

Wintertime snow in the range offers plenty of outdoor adventures! There’s cross country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, ice climbing and snowboarding. During summer, the region is littered with lakes and waterfalls. You’re also close to the nearby June Lake Loop and the saltwater Mono Lake as well as ghost town Bodie.

Catalina Island

Although it’s not often mentioned, Catalina Island is a gem. This small island close to the Los Angeles coastline has a lot of fun to offer travellers. You can get there by boat or plane. Snorkeling and scuba diving adventures, submarine trips, parasailing, golfing and ziplining are all popular pastimes. There are also hiking trails up to the Wrigley Memorial through the island’s botanic garden.

The Beauty of Okinawa Japan

I must admit, I don’t know a lot about Japan. It’s on my bucket list to be sure, but beyond Geishas, snow monkeys, and the bright lights of Tokyo, I’m not that fully versed in the country and what else it has to offer. Blame it on action films and nature documentaries, but the Western view of Japan is a mix of women in kimonos sipping sake and downing sushi. But I’m discovering there’s much more to Japan than the typical stereotypes.

A prime example is Okinawa. Did you know that it has a tropical climate year-round? Or that it’s composed of 150 islands wedged between Taiwan and the Japanese mainland? Or that it has some of the best beaches, coral reefs, and scuba diving on the planet? Yeah, neither did I.

Explore Okinawa has released a series of videos detailing what to expect of the islands. They’ve taken a novel approach by sending tourists from around the globe to experience and putting them slightly out of their comfort zone. In the one below, you’ll get to meet Jen and Sarah who work in fashion and PR in Los Angeles. What happens when they experience a different set of beauty standards? Watch and find out as you explore Okinawa and what these islands have to offer.

 

5 Important Motorcycle Laws

If there’s a road trip in your future, why not consider leaving the car at home and riding across country on a motorbike? It’s better on gas, you’ll love the feel of the breeze against your skin, and you’ll meet plenty of like-minded souls who crave the open road as much as you do.

Although riding a motorcycle can be the ultimate testament to freedom, the fact is that you still have to obey the law. When talking about street legal bikes, every state is slightly different, but most of them follow the similar guidelines for motorcycles.

To help make sure that you are within your legal rights as a biker, we’ve compiled a list of the top five motorcycle laws that you should know.

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Wear a Helmet

Even if it’s not a law in your state, it should be common sense to wear protective motorcycle gear. Motorcycle helmets are necessary to protect your most valuable asset—your brain—in an event of a collision. Bikers are far more likely to get into an accident, so make sure that you’re well protected at all times.

Lane Splitting

Most states prohibit the practice of lane splitting, i.e. weaving between cars on a highway. In a few places, like California, lane splitting is legal, but that doesn’t mean you should do so with impunity. If your state does allow lane splitting, be sure you have high quality tires, like Dunlop tires, to keep you safe.

Sharing a Lane

If you like to travel in a group, you may be tempted to share one lane rather than go in single file. Depending on your state, this may be illegal. Even if it seems more practical, you don’t want to risk getting pulled over because you’re in the wrong lane.

Headlights

Similar to cars, your bike should have operating headlights that have a high-beam and a low-beam setting. Some states may require that you have two lights in front, but most will only require one. In almost all cases, however, high beams are required.

Passengers

Generally speaking, if you are going to take passengers, you will need to have a dedicated seat for them. That means a seat pad and footrests are required. Some states may overlook this, but the majority of them are sticklers about this rule. Don’t risk a hefty fine by taking a passenger on a one-person bike.