Interest in motorcycles has been increasing in Turkey and abroad in recent years as people's understanding of travel changes and they realize the practicality of the vehicle, especially in cities with heavy traffic.
Even during the pandemic period, its popularity continued to increase in connection with increasing interest in nature and a desire to be freer, said Sarper Sesli, the founder of Ride the Earth motorcycle tours in Turkey.
Going for a trip on a motorcycle can be very challenging for beginners. There are some rules that you will want to follow, like getting good training, taking your motorcycle to service regularly and having protective gear.
“Even though I think that there is no season that motorcycles cannot be used, I would say the following for people who do not prefer to ride in winter: If your motorcycle has sat in a garage all winter, it would be good for you to take it to a mechanic for servicing before the season starts in order to be well prepared,” Sesli said.
"Moreover, just like we should keep our engines in good shape, the driver should do a short warm-up training for reflexes and mental rejuvenation, which is the correct procedure for a safer start to the season," he added.
“They can take this training from brands or individuals they trust and who are authorized to provide such training,” Sesli said.
For motorcyclists, Turkey is a wonderful country with abundant and unique routes.
“Apart from the traditional Aegean routes, Central Anatolia is one of my favorites. Especially the village roads connecting Kayseri, Cappadocia, Niğde and Aladağlar. I would suggest the Köroğlu mountains in Bolu province for off-road lovers. Also, for example, the Şavşat road in northeastern Artvin province is one of the best motorcycle routes in the world. You can follow an exciting route starting from northeastern Ardahan to Şavşat and Hopa. I completed this route by starting from eastern Van. There are also adventurous roads around Mount Ağrı (Ararat) for off-road lovers,” Sesli noted.
For off-road lovers, the Taurus Mountains could also be an amazing option. There is also another route that starts from southeastern Mardin and stretches to Istanbul, encompassing southeastern and central Anatolia, which would be a memorable journey in terms of history and culture, as well as natural beauty and delicious food.
There are hundreds of different types and designs of motorcycles in the market and choosing the right one could be confusing.
“The right motorcycle is one on which you feel good and safe,” Sesli said, adding that testing a motorcycle before buying one is a very smart move.
When choosing a motorcycle, you should first decide if you are planning to use it inside the city, for long-distance trips or for off-road trips. According to that you can choose the type of motorcycle and make the right decision.
“If we are talking about protective equipment there is one thing I want to say. The right equipment will enable you to be discharged from the hospital faster in a possible worst-case scenario,” Sesli noted.
Protecting yourself on the road is one of the most important aspects if you are planning a motorcycle trip.
Some of the things we need to be careful about when choosing the right safety equipment are as follows:
Your head measurement should be taken first and when you put on the helmet according to your size there should be no pressure on your head or forehead. The helmet you wear should not be so tight that it will give you a headache after a while. Also, after adjusting the chin strap, you can find the appropriate size by trying to turn your head inside the helmet. Your head should not be able to move around loosely inside. In addition, the fact that the visor can be locked will provide an advantage in crosswinds. Finally, be sure to check the helmet production dates when buying.
If you prefer textiles, it is definitely useful to choose fabrics that are resistant to heat or disintegration. You should be able to freely open and close the zippers on your coat while wearing gloves, plus your suit also needs to have good ventilation. Another important point is to use colored or reflective clothes so that you will be easily visible on the road. For waterproofing, you can choose a three-season option that is suitable for all seasons. However, you will be more comfortable if your raincoat is removable.
The coat should definitely have protection for the shoulder, elbow and back areas. If not, must be worn externally. Pants should have hip and knee protectors. Finally, be careful not to carry hard objects in your pockets during your trip.
This equipment protects the two points of the body that get injured the most often even during low-speed rides. For this reason, you can have a comfortable and safe ride if your boots protect the shinbone, fully encompass the foot and have protection for the Achilles heel.
It will be better if you have waterproof and breathable shoes, but this is not essential.
The gloves should be suitable for your hand size, your fingers should move comfortably while gripping the clutch and front brake, and there are ventilation holes that vary in summer or winter options.
“Finally, I would like to talk about the kind of protection that is not very common in Turkey, and that is neck protection. In the event of a possible accident, it prevents your neck from breaking. You can no longer race without neck protection in many well-known races in the world. I think this protection is essential,” Sesli said.
“Education is a must! But remember, bad education is bad education. Please do not learn from someone who just knows how to ride a motorcycle, but from an institution or person who has a license to train,” Sesli said.
First of all, it is important to take safe driving training after the beginner and intermediate level training to increase motorcycle control.
“Depending on the destination of the motorcycle tours I organize, I ask the participants about their level of experience. For asphalt tours, I want both training and at least 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) of experience. For off-road tours, off-road training and 2,000 kilometers off-road experience are definitely required,” Sisli said.
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