If you’re a keen motorcyclist, you don’t have to limit yourself to exploring the United Kingdom’s mainland. There are a number of ferry services you can travel on, meaning that all of Ireland and Europe can also be at your fingertips. But how do you go about getting on board the ferry?

The prices for tickets are not that expensive, and there are different fees for the bikes and their riders. Once you arrive, you’ll be shown where to go by the crew. There are often parking bays especially for bikes, all with points to anchor your vehicle. Cargo straps are provided by most ferry companies to secure your bike, so there’s no need to carry your own along with you. Theirs are heavy duty, and will withstand most rough seas. Once you’ve positioned your bike between the anchors, put it in gear and leave it on its sidestand. Although you should take anything you need for the crossing, any excess luggage will be safe with your bike, so don’t feel the need to take all of your possessions with you. A member of the crew will be there to strap in your bike to the anchor. The strap will usually run over the saddle, so to prevent any damage, put your gloves under the strap to protect the seat.

One tip is to take a sheet or cloth to cover certain parts of your bike. It’s inevitable that those handling it might not take as much care of it as you, so watch them as they attach the ropes. You know your bike better than they do and will be able to advise where it’s best to position the ropes so they don’t damage or scratch the paintwork. Their job is to get vehicles on and off the ferry as speedily as possible, so help them to help you. Once it’s secure, the bike won’t move, unless it’s an extremely rough sea.

The most common way to smash up or dent your bike is actually getting on and off the ship. The decks are obviously very slippery with water from the sea, as well as a glaze of petrol. Don’t be rushed along by the crew.

Once the crossing is over, you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday in style. You can also rest assured that motorcyclists travelling by ferry are doing their bit for the environment rather than travelling by plane. Travelling by sea is often a much more comfortable journey too. These days, ferries are like floating hotels, offering plenty to see and do during the crossing. Even if it’s a short journey, there are usually restaurants, amusement arcades, and a number of activities to keep you busy. Longer journeys have more to offer, including cabins and catering, as well as on-board entertainment, such as theatre, film, and sporting events.

And you’re not just limited to a Dover to Calais crossing. Nowadays, you can travel by ferry to various destinations in France, Holland, Denmark, and even Spain. Go for a relaxing motorcycling holiday and take a leisurely drive back through Europe.