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  #16  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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James / Wuming, drop me an email at farqhuarforever@yahoo.com.au and I'll try and answer your questions.

In essence, I took a laisse faire attitude towards achieving my objectives (as Nike is wont to say "just do it!").

Brice and others were of invaluable asistance in helping me purchase my bike.

As far as local officials being an obstacle, the reverse was true, although I do NOT recommend Shanghai as the best place in which to attempt to perform all the illegalities I did.

Garry from Oz.
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  #17  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Thanks again to everyone for their replies - I'm starting to think that this might actually be possible!

Brice - I've read your ride report on MyChinaMoto - amazing! What do you think the practicalities of riding in a group of 3 would be? I'm doing all of the research on behalf of a group of 3 riders. Will riding in a group of 3 be ok as far as police are concerned? And what about the prospect of buying 3 bikes, instead of 1?

I'm thinking now of maybe purchasing the bike(s) in the Macau area, and taking you up on your offer Brice with help to buy them. My two friends will be flying from Australia (I'm coming from Japan), and Macau should be very easy for them to get to and meet me at. I've also been reading Chris's tales on both his blog, and MyChinaMoto - and a loop from Macau seems like a good ride, for both scenery, and the cultural aspect.

As always - comments, advice and recommendations are most welcome!

Jimmy
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  #18  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Brice - I've read your ride report on MyChinaMoto - amazing! What do you think the practicalities of riding in a group of 3 would be? I'm doing all of the research on behalf of a group of 3 riders. Will riding in a group of 3 be ok as far as police are concerned? And what about the prospect of buying 3 bikes, instead of 1?
Riding in a small group will be easier for navigation, bike failures and not a real issue with Police. You will also save money because it is common to find cheap hotels with 2 or 3 beds per bedroom.

Buying 3 bikes in a very short time all with papers/plates will be a little bit more complicated but doable. I know 2 or 3 places where you can find some.

Your friends need to understand that you will be not legal regarding the Chinese traffic code because of the lack of Chinese driver license and that you will be on your own once on the road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesa5454 View Post
I'm thinking now of maybe purchasing the bike(s) in the Macau area, and taking you up on your offer Brice with help to buy them. My two friends will be flying from Australia (I'm coming from Japan), and Macau should be very easy for them to get to and meet me at. I've also been reading Chris's tales on both his blog, and MyChinaMoto - and a loop from Macau seems like a good ride, for both scenery, and the cultural aspect.
To be precise, I'm not in Macau but in the border town called Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland side. From Australia, it is easy to flight to Macau with low cost airlines. From Japan, you can flight to HK then take a one hour ferry to Zhuhai/Macau.

You won't be able to ride in Macau because there is a border to cross from China mainland like HK. You also need to know that many large cities have banned bikes in their inner center.

Do you intend to do a one way trip or a loop?

How long is your planned trip? Count between 200/300km per day in average unless you ride very hard and want to seriously increase the risks. No night ride.

Brice
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  #19  
Old 17 Mar 2009
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G'Day,

Let's all go to Australia and drive - ride vehicles without proper documents and driving license!!!! Think twice, would you do this in your own home country.....

Best regards, Butch

ps: foreigners have been detained for up to 10 days and deported in the past for driving without the appropriate doc's..... bloody morons!
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  #20  
Old 18 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by butchman View Post
G'Day,

Let's all go to Australia and drive - ride vehicles without proper documents and driving license!!!! Think twice, would you do this in your own home country.....

Best regards, Butch

ps: foreigners have been detained for up to 10 days and deported in the past for driving without the appropriate doc's..... bloody morons!
Butch, the difference is that in Australia 99 out of 100 local drivers have a licence and the rules are rigidly enforced. In China the percentage of licenced drivers is far less. I specifically spoke to Chinese in Australia (who had recently emigrated from China) before I elected to take the risk. Their advice was to ignore what you would do in Australia and instead to do the things the Chinese way - specifically that in China there was a far more relaxed approach to the road rules.... and given my experiences in China I can certainly attest to this fact.

Look at the number of children riding/driving, the poor and unsafe condition of most vehicles, the chaotic driving and continual ignoring of road rules.

Look at the fact that the police, far from impeding my travels, actively condoned and encouraged me whenever they could. I had one, and only one, experience on my second last day in Shanghai, where I inadvertently broke one of the traffic rules and the policeman demanded to see my licence. I showed him my international one and he said this was not valid for China, told me to get off the bike and push it instead. I did, around the corner before hopping back on again - a far cry from being detained for 10 days before deportation.

So it's basically horses for courses Butch.

Garry from Oz.
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  #21  
Old 18 Mar 2009
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For most people a 150 or 125 is too small for the ego. I have been riding a 250 around asia for 8 years, its does the job, and in some conditions its perfect. When you're up to your hubs in mud or in deep sand the lighter bike is a blessing, its just not so much fun on the highway, and the aren't so many of those in most Asian countries and when there is a constant threat of pigs, dogs, cows or children running into the road its much safer to keep ones speed down to 60mph or 90kmh .

The local bike shop here gets asked about KTMs and BMWs all the time by travellers, they are completely innapropriate, there are no parts and nobody knows how to fix them.
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  #22  
Old 18 Mar 2009
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It is difficult to find used bikes above 150cc with real plate and papers in China, same for parts so better to stick with the standard.
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  #23  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by butchman View Post
G'Day,

Let's all go to Australia and drive - ride vehicles without proper documents and driving license!!!! Think twice, would you do this in your own home country.....
Butch - thanks very much for your concern. Rest assured that this is something that I'm putting a lot of thought into (and no decision has yet been made either). I'm aware of the repercussions, but am also aware (having ridden extensively in India and Vietnam), that not all countries enforce their road rules the same way Australia does, as Garry (amongst others) has attested. Of course - this still doesn't make it right!

Quote:
For most people a 150 or 125 is too small for the ego.
If we do proceed, we will certainly not consider any bike that isn't local. A non local bike will be hard to get serviced/repaired if something goes wrong, attract unnecessary attention on the road, and be too hard to obtain in the first place! For me, size is not important - it's about the journey, not how big your ride is! And just like the road rules, I know that the quality of the roads in Asia is not like back in Australia either! If 150 is ok for the locals, then it's certainly ok for me too...

Quote:
Do you intend to do a one way trip or a loop?

How long is your planned trip? Count between 200/300km per day in average unless you ride very hard and want to seriously increase the risks. No night ride.
At this stage, I'm not sure whether to do a one way trip, or a loop. Do you think it would be possible to arrange a 'buy back' deal on the bikes with the potential sellers, if we were to ride in a loop?

We certainly wouldn't be looking at riding more than 300km in an average day. We plan to enjoy ourselves, and get to know a country and it's people, rather than set any land speed records!

Thanks again for everybody's help,

Jimmy
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  #24  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Do you think it would be possible to arrange a 'buy back' deal on the bikes with the potential sellers, if we were to ride in a loop?
Do not count on it but as Garry did, you should be able to sell them wherever you will leave China with a big discount (for the buyers).
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  #25  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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If you ride in China, or in any country, without your and the vehicle´s papers not 100% OK, you run a risk of being royally screwed, in case you are involved in any serious accident.


In Asia, a foreigner is usually presumed guilty no matter what, and the more serious the consequences of an accident, the higher the probability, that you´ll find yourself neck-deep in trouble, even if you have all papers in order. Will be a lot worse, if you dont.


Of course most travellers will not have any troubles of such nature. But that does not mean the risk isnt there, and whether you are willing to take it or not, is something you should decide, before you go on a trip like that.
´Im on a holiday, so nothing can happen´ is a very common attitude, but it may not always be true.
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  #26  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Hi all,

I would never condone riding in China without documentation, and yes not having a Chinese driving license could technically get your bike impounded, give you a 200-2,000 RMB fine and see you in a detention center for up to 15 days, and possible deportation, this is the law as written.

The reality is, luckily, that this is highly unlikely and
farqhuar's experiences are by far the most likely outcome. Although I think he was a bit nuts to ride without plates and insurance.

My view, as long as you are not involved in accident and have plates and insurance chances are over one month ride in China.....

-Successful ride, no serious hassle from the police (small on the spot fine at worse) 96%
-Cops impound your ride, and possible fine 3%
-Worst case scenario (above) 1%

Those are the risks for small town/rural China, big cities have worse odds.

We are adults! Assess the risks for yourselves! If in doubt go to Taiwan province
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  #27  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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The reality is, luckily, that this is highly unlikely and farqhuar's experiences are by far the most likely outcome. Although I think he was a bit nuts to ride without plates and insurance.
Hi ZMC, I also initially shared your concerns about registration etc., however, I was assured by my Chinese host that I would have one month in which to obtain plates etc..

I set off with trepidation and I even suggested to my host that I find a set of old plates from somewhere so as not to draaw attention to myself (in Australia any vehicle without plates is a magnet for the local constabulary) but he said no, I would be in real trouble if found to have false plates rather than none. to be fair to him, he had gone through exactly the same exercise a month or two earlier so he did know what he was talking about.

To my surprise, once on the road I saw MANY vehicles without plates, even including police cars. It was on my 3rd day of riding when I had the bike checked out by police (who were only interested in who I was and where I came from, and ensuring that I obtained a positive impression of Chinese government officials) that they stated to me that it was not a problem and was quite normal for a new vehicle.

Prior to this I had been shying away from interacting with the police but afterwards I went out of my way at least 6 times a day to find them and ask for their assistance in directing me to my preferred location. They always went out of their way to help and get me on my way again

So yeah, I was a little nuts, but it was a calculated risk and turned out to be the correct one.

Would I do it again? You just try and stop me!

Garry from Oz.
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  #28  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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I'm not talking about concerns, I'm talking about actual Chinese traffic law as it is written, making people believe that they can ride for one month on the highway, that's wrong, and you were misled. Maybe you have a month to get plates from the PSB traffic division, but that is probably as long as the bike is at the dealership or outside your apartment block, not on the street! The law clearly states that no motorized vehicle may use a road or even car park or town square without plates or temporary plates, and the punishment is the vehicle being impounded and 200-2000 RMB fine twice over with no insurance too, suspension of license and detainment for up to 15 days as well with fake plates.

I've been here 7 years I know the reality is different from the law 99.9% of the time. The problem is that things here can be enforced on a purge basis, or you go to the wrong place or have an accident things change very quickly........

The best thing really is to at least have plates and insurance, as they can be pretty cheap in many provinces, only 300 RMB.

I'm pretty keen on helping people ride in China even if they have no Chinese license, but encouraging people to ride without plates and insurance, which are things they can obtain is a bit silly. Just because you get way with it a few times doesn't mean you can get away with in indefinitely. Come to ride in China but at least try to stay under the radar!
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  #29  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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So Butch, it seems as if you've found a soul brother in ZMC in order to discredit my journey.

Well guys, if you've got that big a chip on your shoulders, then there is nothing I can do about it.

I tell my tale as I experienced it, there is nothing embellished and I gave the local police and government officials ample opportunity to stop me. In plain English, they weren't interested.

Let's give it a rest. I did what I did, I don't resile from it, and given half a chance I'd do it again tomorrow.

Garry from Oz.
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  #30  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Farqhuar! I'm not trying to discredit you! I've also read Butch's posts, and I disagree with him, he's much too extreme in his views in my opinion.

Quote:
I tell my tale as I experienced it, there is nothing embellished and I gave the local police and government officials ample opportunity to stop me. In plain English, they weren't interested.
I believe your story, I said before that it is highly probable.

Quote:
Well guys, if you've got that big a chip on your shoulders
I have no chip on my shoulders, I'm just trying to give people good advice.

I have ridden in China well over 6 and a half years only with my home license, but with rego and insurance, only recently I got my Chinese license, so I'm hardly Mr Whiter than white. But I know friends even in my city (3rd biggest in the province), who have had a bike impounded. Shanghaifingers at MyChinaMoto got 15 days in a detention center for riding without a license in Shanghai, and Brice would have been in deep(er) shit if what had happened to him had happened without all the legal paperwork. Everything is fine 99.9% of the time until the event of an accident, then they dig around to try to find something wrong, or you get stopped by the wrong cop. I'm just saying that people should be as legal as possible.

There's people out there that tell others NO! "Don't ride here, it's illegal without a Chinese license", and then leave you the links to buy their DVD or read their blog, and in my opinion want to keep riding in China to themselves, which is selfish and use the law to back up their argument.

All I'm saying is take a look at the actual laws:

Beijing Traffic Management Bureau
Chinese Driving Test Theoretical

I'm GLAD you rode around with no problems. But I am saying to others get yourself protected as much as you can. If you come back spend an extra $85AUD to get yourself rego, 99% of the time it won't matter, but just for that 1% chance it's a good investment. I'm happy to help you get rego too, come see me, if you come back for a ride here.
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