Do you have any weird travel rituals you repeat each time before you get on the bike?

Coming from Lithuania, strange little superstitions are in my blood. It started with the basketball wars of the 1990’s – in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the Lithuanian basketball team won the bronze; but it wasn’t about the medal, it was about the fact that for the first time, the team represented Lithuania and not the Soviet Union. Beating Moscow’s CSKA, the former team that always had Lithuanian players at its core, as Lithuania, felt like an epic victory. So much so that basketball became a second religion back home, and when the Euro Basket or the next Olympics would start, my dad would lay down some strict rules that made perfect sense to no one, but somehow worked: for example, if our team wins the first quarter, everyone needs to sit on the couch in the exact same order so as not to jinx the next quarter; if you have an empty beer glass during the last quarter and the team loses, it’s your fault; no getting up to pee during the game so as not to jinx the aforementioned couch order.

Lithuanian basketball isn’t what it used to be anymore, and most of our players have left for the NBA. But I still get goosebumps whenever I hear “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe, and the little superstitions have found a way into my motorcycling and traveling routines.

When I got my first bike back in 2013, I hadn’t the first clue about maintenance or mechanics, and I didn’t even know what the tire pressure should be. But I observed other riders would kick their tires before getting on the bikes, and I figured that this is what Real Adventure Riders do – so I would always kick the tires before getting on a bike, too. It didn’t tell me much about the tire pressure back then, but it felt like an important travel ritual. I have a few more:

  • if the bike starts without the choke on, I won’t get any flat tires
  • if I pat the bike’s tank as if it was a horse’s neck, the slipping clutch plates will last until the next town
  • it’s going to be a good day if I start exactly on the hour and 00 minutes.

Do you have any weird travel rituals? Let me know in the comments below!

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