One of enjoyments of regular – even though its annual, its still regular – motorcycle travel is the satisfaction of noticing the things that end up being annoying and sorting them out for the next trip. But sometimes noticing these annoyances and naming them is harder than you think. Its counter-intuitive but its true. For the first few years of camping in Europe I used the ACSI guidebook and always seemed to end up in campsites surrounded (literally) by Dutch families in large white motorhomes. Where were all the interesting travellers, I found myself wondering, feeling alienated in my little tent and crouched over my tiny stove? It took that long for the penny to drop that this was a result of using that particular guidebook. Then I discovered the Cool Camping guidebooks, though Cool Camping has been taken over by a US company HipCamp who are offering ever larger discounts to tempt me back. I also realised that I could search on the net for tent-only campsites or adult-only campsites. This realisation made a huge difference and I started finding myself in beautiful sites, with friendly and sometimes interesting neighbours, feeling relaxed and open rather than odd and conspicuous.
Another annoyance that I think I may be on the way to sorting is the following scenario, repeated many times. You park up in a small town to look for somewhere to eat, or you park outside a large supermarket intending to shop for dinner. It hot, possibly very hot. You can take off a heavy motorcycle jacket and sling it over you shoulder if you wish. But then you have your helmet, with its valuable, possibly very valuable, camera stuck on the side and bluetooth speaker system. Do you leave it on the ground next to the bike? Probably not. Do you get out your heavy chain and padlock and use that? Did you even, now that you are trying to travel light, add this item to your luggage? Enter the solution that was there all along, hidden in plain sight: the OxfordLidlock costing about £15.
Its light and doesn’t require you to carry yet another key. But its tougher than it looks though. The curled up wire is designed to let you thread it through some clothing to also lock to the bike. Its a nice idea but the wire would be very easy to snip and, if you decided to use it to stash your jacket, you would need to empty the pockets of: your camera, wallet, documents, keys, sunglasses, cigarettes (if you smoke), Leatherman multi-tool…. so not much use for me.
I hope I use it for short stops. I can’t see why I woudln’t. It could be one of those small things that just makes a big difference.