With the advent of cheap air travel thanks to low-cost airlines mushrooming everywhere, travelling by road has become the road less-travelled. Factor in comfortable trains, buses and even ride-sharing technology and it's no surprise that motorbike tourists can become something of a rarity.
Unless your own country has a wide expanse of good roads and land area, motorbike travel can be quite limited and a trying experience.
It's quite natural also that modern bike tourists have to carry more documentation and extra electronics (almost no public phones exist in the developed world now!), but here are five other items a travelling biker is almost sure to have with him:
1. Emergency sanitation
Even a mild case of diarrhoea can make your entire journey an uncomfortable one, so bikers tend to keep the risk of food poisoning at minimum. However, you can only carry so much biscuits with you, so it's a good idea to stock up on stomach meds.
Australian biker couple Jo and Gareth Morgan of WorldByBike.com, who've travelled the breadth of the world on motorbike, advise to carry alcohol washes. With careful use, a pack of wet wipes can also be useful for wiping down yourself on those long rides.
2. GPS and offline maps
Everyone's got a smartphone of course and bikers are no different. But those going on tours will ensure they also have offline maps fully downloaded for all their locations as mobile connections may not be guaranteed or can be costly. OruxMaps and OsmAnd are recommended for experienced road users and tend to map the most remote areas that Google Maps miss out.
Paper maps are still a great way to communicate with locals but when you're lost in the middle of nowhere, you'll appreciate even the most rudimentary GPS maps.
3. Waterproof or zip-lock bags
Back in the “old days” you'd have to keep your precious documents and electronics in leather or plastic to protect them from rain but there's all sorts of modern lightweight and durable material that do the job even better.
If you're cheap, zip-lock bags are a great reusable alternative found in many bikers' packs.
4. Power banks
Bikers carry these modern batteries, which are great for emergency use especially if your electronics all run on USB ports. They can power LED lights at night and give you much-needed juice for emergency phone calls or frantic GPS lookups. Some double-up as digital storage if you're into photography.
5. Tyre-plug kits and inflation system
A hand-pump used to be all a biker could rely on in case of a puncture but these days, you can mend minor punctures in 15 minutes with tyre-plug kits so you can cradle your ride to the nearest repair shop. Anything else you need should be in your standard toolbox.
Anyone with the patience for months of advance preparation for visas and other paperwork can still retrace the biker tourist routes of the hippie era. The contents of their packs may have changed, but the free-spirited drive is sure to bring in the same pleasant surprises of motorbike touring.