It wouldn’t be a good adventure without a motorcycle. Two wheels are by far the best way to see a country and meet people, whether it be on a bicycle or motorcycle. While I’m not a dedicated rider, I’ve had my fair share of motorcycle adventures.
“jessie” on the India/Pakistan border.
My brother somewhere in Ecuador.
The most important aspect of renting a motorcycle is naming your bike. Papallona is the bike that I hold dearest in my heart, however Jessie was quite the trooper.
You can find motorcycle rentals anywhere you travel. Unless you’re in the USA or Europe you can rent a motorcycle for about the price of a Big Mac back home. Does that mean you should take your Big Mac priced bike out on unfamiliar, sketchy, dangerous roads that often lead to nowhere? Hell yea it does. Just take a few precautions along the way.
Adventure tip#1 PETROL MANAGEMENT
(because the rest of the world calls it petrol)
Some days in Nepal I couldn’t find fuel to take a motorcycle out. Get comfortable shopping on the black market and making deals for petrol, often way overpriced. For me getting and managing fuel on rides was the most challenging aspects of riding in remote regions.
–It’s pretty important to have a good idea of how much fuel you’ll need. Talk to the owner before you rent and get an idea of the range, then make sure you have enough fuel to get where you want to go. Sounds obvious but in remote areas petrol stations are few and far between. And remember there is no fuel gauge or range readout on (insert your motorcycles name here)
–It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, if you going out and back and no petrol stations in sight, have a turn around mile. If you have a 300km range, turn around at 130km. that means you get back with 40km to spare, you know, just in case you get lost….which if your not getting lost it’s not an adventure. Wouldn’t it suck to be on your way back home and see this amazing thing off in the distance, perhaps a life changing experience maybe a oasis of beautiful women (or men, goats, whatever your into)! But you can’t go check it out because you’re running on fumes.
-If you don’t see any petrol stations around, but there are people, chances are somebody has some they will sell to you. You’ll pay out the ass for it, but people will have some tucked away in their home or willing to sell some out of their tank.
–Fill up a couple of plastic water bottles and toss them in the saddle bag if your concerned on range.
-If your on a budget take as much fuel as you need on your journey, then sell what you don’t use before you return the bike. Often people will rent you with just enough petrol to get to the station, and when you return the bike half full they make a hefty profit. Siphon out the gas before you return your rental. I’ve sold it to hostel clerks, other rental shops for about 70% of the price I paid at the station. The money I got back paid for another week or two of travel. How to siphon– you can also siphon off the fuel lines and just leave a pinch in the carburetor if your a real cheapskate like me 🙂
Most of all smile, explore and get the hell away from the tourists. It’s amazing what you can discover just a few miles outside the tourist districts and hostel neighborhoods.