Thought the following article which appears in the May edition of Bike Buyers Guide should be shared with a wider audience. It was written by Paul Browne, a presenter at the Enniskillen meeting.
Please do not reproduce elsewhere without Paul's permission.
Enjoy and, if you haven't already, get registered and prepare for a great weekend.
How To Have A Great Big Motorcycle Adventure.
Now that the economy has been completely ruined there has never been a
better time to leave the country. If you're one of the lucky ones with
any money left at all you could always cash in whatever chips you have
over from the good old days, get on your bike and ride off into the
In order to do this you will need to do a few things. Buy a
motorcycle. Unless of course you already have one. In that case you're
well ahead of the posse. Anything with two wheels and an engine is
acceptable. People have traversed the globe on machinery as varied as
an R1 to a HD Electra Glide and lived to tell the tale.
No matter what you end up buying or bringing there will always be
someone else who has a bigger, faster and all round better version
than yours. The owner of the afore mentioned fabulous machine will
also possess limitless time in which to pontificate as to how and why
his/her motorcycle is better than yours. It's usually around this time
that the solitude aspect of long distance motorcycling touring starts
to make a lot of sense.
Find somewhere to go. This is a highly fluid goal. While you are on
the way there you may find yourself otherwise inspired. I once knew a
man who went to Greece on his summer break from college, he forgot to
stop wandering and ended up on an island in the Gulf of Thailand two
years later. All the trouble, love and drug crazed, gun toting
lunatics that you find or find you will just add so much depth to your
Spend ages and ages looking at other peoples blogs who've already
left. Re read The Long Way Round, Jupiter's Travels and The
Investment Biker. Then send off for a Touratech manual. Start to panic
about what to do when you get a puncture in Bolivia. Go to Halfords or
similar and buy loads of shiny spanners. Go back to Halfords a day
later and buy a box to put them in. Get a massive set of panniers and
fill them full of everything you think you may need. Bow tie, cuff
links, a tux and dress shoes are a necessity as is a copy of the
Lonely Planet for every country you may visit, after all you'll need
to be ahead of the game if you get invited to dinner in the Mexican
consulate in Panama City won't you?
Once you have all this junk assembled take exactly half of it and put
it in the shed or attic. Pack the other half in the panniers. It
doesn't matter which half as its all totally useless and you can dump
the other half on the road once you've figured out what you really
Quit your job and say goodbye to your friends. Everyone will be
insanely jealous. Questions such as 'How will you get a job when you
come home?' and 'Isn't it dangerous in Belize?' are actually pathetic
cries for help. Don't give them any quarter unless you want a last
minute pillion. Parting gifts of guide books and phrase books are
only intended to sabotage your fun.
Buy a satellite phone. Only use it to call the folks back home from
the top of the Andes on the last Friday of the month, the same day
that their measly pay hits their account and their massive mortgage
leaves it. They'll be glad to hear from you and they'll be happy for
you. The fact that they keep asking if you've been robbed, run over or
bitten by a snake isn't wishful thinking, its just concern. Really.
Learn how to ride a motorcycle. Seems obvious but you'd be surprised.
You can pick up the basics in the car park of the lucky dealership
you've decided to award your business to, but it is going to go better
if you know which lever does what before you head for the Pashtun
Pass. Find out which bits are going to break and bring spare ones.
Nobody likes sleeping against the side of a Dengue Fever fumigation
shed on new years eve because BMW EWS rings fail.
Petrol versus diesel. If you're riding an Indian manufactured Royal
Enfield it may run on Diesel. Everything else runs on petrol. Read
the label on the pump. If there is no label ask. Presumption is the
mother of all cock ups. If you're doing this properly then you've
never been here before so how do you know that unleaded is labeled
black and Diesel is labeled green?
Pick some motorcycle clothing. Depending on how deep your pockets are,
the options are limitless. As with the motorcycle you choose, your
gear/equipment will never match the quality and general fabulousness
of those good time motorcyclist we all know and love. It not just
Japanese girls who are slaves to brand names! When you find yourself
20,000KM from home trying to smoke a cigar while travelling at 100KPH,
wearing motocross boots, shorts and a t-shirt you've probably achieved
something by way of balance.
Sort out your finances. You don't really need to worry about this. Max
your cards and delude yourself that everything will be ok. It will be.
You can always sell the rights to your book and TV show, its not like
any one has ever done that before.
Talk to someone who's actually done it already. If you want to do this
stuff for real you can meet motorcycle travellers in person and get
the answers you need to set you on your way. Travellers, including
continent hoppers and Round the World bikers, will talk about their
Horizons Unlimited are hosting their first Irish Motorcycle Travellers
Meeting which will take place from Friday 28th May to Sunday 30th May
in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. For more information and registration
details go to: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/meetings/Ireland2010
This is your best opportunity to find out what it takes to get out of
the rut and find out what this long distance travel stuff is really
Please don't arrive in a car.