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Old 23 Jun 2007
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Kms per day on the West coast of America Latina

Hey everyone

I'm new to motorcycle touring and I am wondering what sort of progress I can make in a day or week of riding up the West coast of South America.

If I am cycling hard for 8 hours a day, what sort of progress should I be able to make up the west coast of SA? I'm thinking of a ride from Chile, up to Colombia, via Peru, maybe Bolivia? How many 8+ hour days would it take to get 'between' each, as such?

Also, what are the weather conditions like in october/november along the West coast of South America
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Old 23 Jun 2007
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Why on earth would you want to ride hard for eight hours a day ???
To answer your question, we would need to know if your bike will break down, you run out of fuel or get a puncture. You see although we could give you a ball park figure average.. it is completely meaningless as you would be a sample of one and unrepresentative. Why not take it as it comes, allow for sightseeing and enjoy the ride..

If this sounds like I am getting at you, ignore it.. I found your question to be very...... thought provking
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Old 28 Jun 2007
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Well I am quite unfamiliar with the logistics of bike touring in South America, so I am trying to get more of a handle on things.

I suppose I am focused more on the transportation aspect of using a motorcycle than the touring aspect, at least for the next trip I do. Unfortunately I have much more funding than time for this trip, so I was thinking more of alternating between a few days of hard riding and then a few days of hanging around, based out of one location. In this way I was going to leapfrog from location to location and I suppose I was wondering how big I should plan to make my leaps, if I ride pretty hard during them.

I certainly don't think that this method is the best way to tour on a bike but I am really constricted for this trip.

Hopefully I'll at least be able to ride through areas and identify them as places of interest to come back to another time.

As for fixing some of the other variables? Well, I'm looking at buying a 2nd hand bike between $2500 and $3500 USD, I don't know the availablity of petrol along the west coast of South America and bike break-down is something which would obviously alter my plans and have to be fixed. So I suppose you ought to presume that I have a reasonably robust bike, sufficient petrol stops if properly planned and no break-down for the daily figure and I would work out a quite rough plan to give me enough leeway to deal with those sorts of problems.

Also, perhaps if you have experience going from Santiago to Lima or Lima to Bogota, as geneic spans, I suppose that would help. (I'm not expecting to cover those legs in a few days of riding but I'm just indicating what areas I will be travelling through)

Even if it is only someone's own assessment, than at least it is something I can begin to pin down the possiblities of this trip with.

Anywhoo, anyone with some experience of traveling the west coast of South America is welcome to share their experiences, problems and hints for the area.

-Mr Tree
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Old 28 Jun 2007
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I rode the Bogota-Lima leg you are looking at in October-November last year. I think 500 km/day is very realistic. You may well be able to do more, but I wouldn't count on it. I prefered to stay in the mountains, where it rains more and the going is slower, so I probably covered less on my riding days. I rode a KLR 650, which has a 6 gallon fuel tank, and never turned my petcock to reserve the whole trip.
Andy Tiegs
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Old 28 Jun 2007
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Along the coast of Chile and Peru where the PanAmerican Hwy is good, you could possibly average 500 km per day.

When you hit Ecuador, you probably are talking about following the PanAmerican Hwy up into the Andes to Quito, on to Colombia. You might be lucky to cover 350km in a day then - its the towns, the curves, the uphills, the altitude (loss of power), and poorer road surface.

If you try to follow the coast through Ecuador, it will be similar in average speed, and a couple extra days rather than PanAm to Quito.

As to cutting up through Bolivia and the interior of Peru, 50kph is about all I can average on the good roads - much slower on the bad roads. And that's not counting the time spent on stops - doing 350km a day is tough.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
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Old 28 Jun 2007
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Thanks for the reply, oddly I did not like the tone of my own reply, and apologised when I wrote it. It is an odd situation.
These days I ride when I feel like it, and rest up when I dont. Might be as good a strategy as any other. Certainly do not ride when you are tired or just dont want to, and when you find something nice, enjopy it. You have to live life for the moment, because once the moment is lost there is no way to re-create it.
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Old 29 Jun 2007
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I personally find 500km very tough in Ecuador or Peru.

I did an 800 km day which started in Cali Colombia ended in Ibarra Ecuador and that took from 6.30 - 7.30 (with a 2 hour border crossing). That was riding hard, all day, not stopping for lunch. Obviously that takes it out of you.

Altitude, harsh sunlight, heavy traffic, the Peruvian towns which are worse than the others all create points of slowing/stopping and that`s before you`ve taken a photo.

You can do 500kms a day but that is straight riding, maybe one or two photo stops (not enough), short lunch, getting in at dusk, tired.
You can do 600km in Colombia. Ride on the weekend if you can hold off the hangover as there is less heavy traffic, sometimes even banned.

Tomorrow I make for Cuzco with a 7am start, I`ll try to work out the kms and let you know how I get on. But I get distracted, today I spent an hour on a detour because it looked interesting, ended up riding the train tracks back which was fun until I had to hoist the bike over the rails at 4600metres!

At the end of the day you won`t know until you get here. So just buy a ticket and see where you end up!
The Road To Rio - Locokiwi
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Old 6 Jul 2007
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In Chile, you can cruise up the pan americana. I myself was in the same boat a while ago. I wanted to get out of Chile and into peru ASAP. The costs of chile were killing me, and so I left santiago with the intention of being in peru in 3 days. Well, its possible. Believe me, I am not one to rush the good riding days.... at all. But the panamericana can get pretty dull in northern chile, and so trying to get 700 k's in is not unrealistic. My days in Chile were hitting the road about 9 or 10, having a lunch break and a few photo shoots, and I easily made 700 k days. Maybe im just a little overzealous, or a little young and eager (23), but in Chile, if you want to get far in one day, its not a problem. Once you get into peru and N, itll slow, and rightfully so, cause theres probably more to see. But coming from someone who has seen chile from arica to punta arenas, spend as little time as possible between santiago and arica. lots of cooler things to do. BOLIVIA!!!!!!! But there your lucky to get 200 ks a day if you arent on the pavement. so probably not your cup of tea. ok, im rambling now. enjoy the ride, if you are looking to buy a bike in Chile and head north PM me, cause i have a lot of info you are going to want to know. like the fact that you cant go into peru with a chilean bike as a foriegner. cheers, ride safe
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Old 6 Jul 2007
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I didnt go on the west coast but i can share my experience in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile.

In those countries, on asphalt, you can calculate a confortable 90 km/h average since there is very little traffic, unlike the east coast of China for example where you cant expect more than 50 km/h.

If you choose the harder but more interesting ripio tracks, dont count more than 30 km/h if you want to enjoy it (stop for pictures, talk with people...).

What i usually did was a mix of both, starting in the morning with ripio and relaxing after the thrill on alphalt. Being the lazy kind, morning usually meant 1 pm and 5 hours ride would bounce me up to 300 km.

South America is imho the best choice for motorcycling...flexible laws, amazing sceneries and very budget friendly. I forgot to mention people, except for my first experience in B.As, I met mostly very welcoming, sincerely caring and warm people (even cops and border officers).

PS : on the road I met a belgian guy CYCLING (without motor) his way thru the Andes. He was doing 200 km/day, starting at dusk and finishing at dawn, so it really depends on how tight your schedule can be too...

Last edited by Vorteks; 7 Jul 2007 at 02:53. Reason: typos
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