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  #1  
Old 3 Days Ago
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Planning perils

Hi guys,

I’ve been reading the forums for quite some time and would like to “contribute” with my newbie questions.

My plan is to travel South America next year for approx.. 3 months. Buying a bike locally seems the best solution. This should be happening somewhere between February and June

I do not have a set-in-stone starting point, which I hope you guys could help me out with…

The options that I am considering are Costa Rica (Central America yes) -> Panama -> Colombia – all the way to Ushuaia. Sell my bike somewhere there and then fly back to Europe.

The other plan is to do a round trip from a certain country in SA, do all interesting places and then when the round-trip has finished fly home again..

At this moment, I really would like to set off in February, but perhaps some more experienced SA- travellers would say, go in June..

My questions are;

- How can I find a decent bike locally, my Spanish is for now almost nill and I am with my 2 meters, blond hair and blue eyes a super gringo..
- What would you recommend on starting point?
- Is February a good time to head to Ushuaia?
- Are 3 months enough to cross South America or should I stick with less countries?


Thank you so much for reading this and helping me out.

Cheers,

Donkey
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  #2  
Old 3 Days Ago
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The franglais-riders
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South West London
Posts: 856
Hi Donkey,

for buying a bike locally, I am currently looking into this as well. I am considering Bolivia (there is a thread here on this if you search) or Peru.

Toby can help if you buy in Peru:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...get-ride-76478

Both countries seem th easiest to buy a bike.

For your timing, as you plan to ride to Ushuaia, remember that seasons are reversed. Getting to Ushuaia in the beginning of winter will be cold and possibly snowed in. Unless you get there in february/March and if you are lucky....

We rode to Ushuaia in Xmas/new year (dec 2007) and we still had a bit of snow, and that was mid-summer! it was extremely cold.

Also, if you plan to cross the salar de Uyuni, around Feb. to April it may still be flooded, so not possible to cross on a motorbike.

You could buy your bike in Chile too and ride south before going up north.
There are threads here describing the process of buying a bike in Chile.

I would advise you to learn as much spanish as you can before leaving. Lots of free stuff online. I used lots of online material for russian for example (for my last trip - and used my little russian a lot!)
It will come handy. Don't expect everyone to speak english. They don't!

3 months is a short time to do all of south (and central) America. It can be done but you will spend you life riding....
SA is a very big place! distances are huge.

Would be a shame to rush. Maybe buy a local bike and do by sections, storing your bike in between trips? Javier in Buenos Aires can store your bike. This is what I have in mind if we buy bikes in Peru/Bolivia. So that we can come back and keep riding....

Cheers,
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Maria

www.franglais-riders.com
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  #3  
Old 3 Days Ago
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Dear Maria,

Thank you so much for your reply!

I’ve seen Toby’s post and consider this one of the best solutions..

Like you say, South America is huge.. And I do like to see more then only the roads..

I am trying to speak Spanish with my Argentinian friends here in Holland.. But that’s quite hard!

I am very much considering to go to the salar de Uyuni, would be a waste to miss that!

How did you guys find your sleeping places in 2007? Did you camp along the way or only hostels, etc?

And did you make any changes to the bike regarding the high altitudes?

Sorry for all these questions..

But thank you for your answers!
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  #4  
Old 3 Days Ago
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The franglais-riders
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South West London
Posts: 856
Hi Donkey,

we travelled around SA on 2 BMWs, with fuel injection. So we did not need to do anything related to the altitude. At altitude the bikes were slower but that was all.
Also with the cold and thin air, they would be hard to start in the morning... so we started rolling them into the sun in the morning, to heat up, while we packed.


However, with local little bikes, that's different. We just spent few months across central and North Asia on 2 very old Honda XR 125cc. They have carburettors and they did struggle a lot at altitude. We gave up in the end, as at 3600m I was barely doing 15mph! As for my husband's bike, he had by then a Chinese engine (long story) and further problems. SO, yes you may need to carry jets to adjust the fuel intake at altitude. Something to discuss with whoever sell you the bike.

We camped a little in the Andeans countries. Accommodation is very cheap so hardly worth it. not too hard to find usually.
The "footprint of SA" (guidebook) was useful in those days, but on our latest trip, widespread wifi and open source GPS was very useful for navigation and finding hotels or guesthouses.

In Argentina and Chile, campsites are very good and accommodation more expensive, so we camped a lot there.

ffor more info, see my travel blogs, links through my website: www.franglais-riders.com

Cheers,
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Maria

www.franglais-riders.com
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