Thank you in advance kind person! I'm at the beginning of this process. Thank you for your time and support. I'm just beginning to think this up, and would likely start in a month or two. Here is an overview of my situation:
I'm a 29 y/o male, and have been travelling for some time. I'm no stranger to the 'road', or the travel lifestyle, but I AM VERY NEW TO BIKES
When I first noticed how travel and bikes go hand in hand, I learned how to ride and then bought my dream motorcycle (2007 triumph Bonneville) in August of 2011. Well, now I'm hooked on travel AND bikes. Thanks guys :-).
I have ridden 5-6k kms on country roads over two summers in my home town. I never needed to fix the bike, not that I would know how. I used to change my own car oil, my tires etc. I can learn and am semi-mechanically inclined. I was able to winterize my bonnie, and she started right up after 8 months of inactivity. Not one problem yet (knock, knock, knock, and knock again... wipe that grin off your face!).
I also recently rode a 125cc moped around Bali and Lombok for 2 weeks with a backpack tied to the back. Functional and simple. The traffic did't seem all that crazy to me, even though most would consider it mad.
I'm planning, or rather, considering to plan an epic moto ODYSSEY
. I'm in SE Asia for the winter/ year and when considering incorporating bikes into my travel lifestyle, I dont know where to start.
While I have the time and money and freedom to do this, GO BIG!
For no particular reason, other than being in SE Asia for the year, I thought I'd ride from Japan to Portugal, and maybe dip down into west Africa when done.
I like to travel light and cheap, as I don't have a "large" budget for this (20k over one year incl bike, gear, costs??), I covet simplicity, and I'm not fussy about comfort and or obsessive about having the "right" stuff.
My goal is not
to travel or "adventure". I know how to do that. I do have a project in mind. Something akin to gathering data on just what makes people happy to be alive across cultures. So that is the primary theme: the search for happiness; a search for cross-cultural desire to know happiness and contentment at its core; to be
happy. So, I'll have to make stops and conduct interviews along the way. This is all in a pre-pre-planning stage, if that.
Bike, gear, safety (and all the other stuff I dont know s**t about)
I'm a bit concerned with I look at the pictures of people doing this: similar bikes (big and expensive ones), top notch gear (also uniform and pricey), and lots of spare parts strapped to the back. However, I just finished my first moto-read about a man who went from Sydney->London on a 105cc posal bike, wearing board shorts and flip-flips, so anything is possible.
I was thinking of buying a yamaha tw-200 (or any 200-500cc dual sport) in Japan, equipping it, and heading out. I think
I want a "small" bike. The moped around Bali/Lombok was fine, if uncomfortable. Like I said, I want simplicity. Though this usually mean reliability too. I don't need speed. I go pretty slow, as an inexperienced rider should.
I am 6ft and 85kg, would have 20kg of gear max, without tools and spare parts.
I'm thinking the tw-200 would be light, agile, safe, sufficient, and simple to repair. In a word: pragmatic. Is this the case?
Alternatively, I could skip Japan, buy a scooter in Malaysia (so its in my name, with a carnet), and when I go to India, buy a bike there. I'd prefer to include Japan, and have sense of continuity to the trip, but I'm not married to the idea.
It will all be for not if I dont make it back alive, and I'd prefer to do that with all skin and bones in tact.
Like I said, I'm no thrill seeker on a bike. Rather riding safely is thrilling enough. Being alive and able to contemplate endeavors such as this is thrilling enough!
I don't have leathers. Neither do 95% of riders in the WORLD. However, most westerners seem to swear by them, and I understand the arguments. I'm afraid they will be very bulky, hot, impractical (until you hit the deck... then they are quite practical indeed), and complicated.
Help me find the Middle Way here. I don't want to tempt fate and do this in board shorts and flip-flops, but I don't want to be an all "geared out" robo-tourist. How important is speed in all this. Are their alternatives (thin, waterproof, multi-functional jackets and pants?).
Should I prepare to camp? I'm also a camping newb, but travel as shown me that guest houses are everywhere, curious locals will take you in if you indulge their curiosities and buy some food, and you can sleep just about anywhere.
It might be nice to spend some time in the wilderness, but off the beaten track, thats where said curious people live: right in beautiful friggin nature with the bare essentials. I rather hang with them if possilbe?
What do I need to learn and how?:
I dont ahve a tool kit, and wouldn't know how to apply it to bike maintenance if I did. If I buy/sell a scooter in Asia, I'll probably just take it to mechanics if it has problems. But what are the basics I should know? Took kits to buy?
Anything else fellas?:
I look forward to being a part of this community. Perhaps I will do this, and perhaps I can meet some of you along the way! I fly home for the holidays, then back to Kuala Lumpur on Jan 5th. I have now officially entered the -pre-planning stage of this journey. Thanks for reading and if you have anything constructive to tell me, let me know.
Thanks you guys!