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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #31  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Farqhuar: just want to jump to ZMC888's defence here. He is definately not in the Butchman camp. In planning my own China trip, ZMC888 has been extremely helpful and positive. Just a case of crossed-wires in these posts; you are essentially on the same side.
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  #32  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Ok ZMC, I take it back. Good to hear you have also had good experiences riding in China.

I just want to stress again, however,

1. I made the decision to ride without plates because I genuinely believed (and still do) that I had the 31 days to ride without them. I was advised this by the HUBB member who assisted me in buying the bike (he had done the same) and the dealer who I purchased the bike from. I was still nervous about it initially though because it is an alien concept in Australia to do such a thing.
2. Daily I saw many, many new vehicles driving without plates, including (but not limited to)convoys of trucks driving from one city to the next.
3. I even saw police cars on highway patrol driving without plates.
4. I had police take photos of me with my bike and none of them ever commented on any way on the absence of plates - for the first couple of days I tried to park the bike in such a way that the lack of plates was not conspicuous but then I realised it was impossible to hide the fact because in China you need to have plates on both the front and rear of your bike.

All in all, it sounds like this is probably a bit of a grey area, although for me, my experiences corroborated the advice I had been given.

Garry from Oz.
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  #33  
Old 20 Mar 2009
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Farqhuar mate!

China is bonkers, they ignore their own laws on mass! I see it everyday. In Chinese law you cannot drink any alcohol at all and drive! I don't see many people obeying the law in my area.

They run red lights, talk on cell phones when they drive, drive down the wrong side of the road and smoke and drive, everyone does these things, but the law as it is written forbids them all.

Yeah also about the long term people here, there is a difference, we often have families here so need to stay out of trouble, also have gone to lots of hassle through bureaucratic red tape to keep legal, and probably we don't want people telling us it was a waste of time and money (so an element of sour grapes from some) but we and have seen and heard what happens when shit hits the fan.

Most Chinese people don't know the law, because they cheat on the driving theory test! They also believe because everyone else does something illegal, they can too!

Also the smaller the city and the more rural the area, the less the law is followed, and the more people are interested in foreigners and are happy to help you on your way. There are also loads of types of police, different kinds of security police, military police etc, who knows how many of them you met were actually traffic cops!

The rulebook is usually only taken out of the draw and dusted off after an accident or if some cops want to make some money from motorists.

I still can't understand why you'd come back and but not bother with rego and insurance when you can get them though.
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  #34  
Old 20 Mar 2009
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Riding without proper registration/plate/driver license is certainly illegal everywhere in the world.

After we are supposed to be some big boys (and girls) here so this is a personal decision to do it or not.

I have a legal driver license and 2 bikes in China. One bike has no registration, one is fully legal and insured.

I did my South West China trip with the legal one because it was the more appropriate for the purpose but I will have done it with the other else. I was involved in a light accident with a kid. Police came, check the papers and license. Even if I was not responsible they kept the pressure on me until I settled a deal with the family. My consulate was in the loop and they told me more or less what ZMC888 said if I hadn't been legal or ready to settle (2 weeks in jail and/or expulsion).

On the road dealing with Chinese Police is not as painful as in many western countries. They are surprised at first but often helpful. If something goes wrong like an accident or a road blocked for "security reasons", you have to make the effort to understand their logic and follow it diligently. And here it can be difficult because their logic is sometimes not so logic for western people.


Brice
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  #35  
Old 10 May 2009
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Hi all

I am new to the HUB and have found all of your posts very interesting as I am planning on riding from China (Beijing) back to the UK. There are a number of issues that are concerning me and that I hope you can lend your wisdom to:

1) I have read a lot about the benefits and risks of not getting proper registration and insurance and understand that it is up to personal preference at the end of the day. What I would ask is if you are going to do it legit then a) what paper work do you need as a foreigner buying a bike in China and b) how long does it take?

2) As I am planning on exporting a bike out of China what are the likely problems at border crossings with a) an unlicsenced and non-plated bike or alternatively licensed, fully documented one, and b) will I have problems in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan etc if the bike is registered in China and ownership docs are in Chinese?!

All advice is hugely appreciated as so far I have taken a rather ad-hock approach to organising this trip!
Cheers
Fynn
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  #36  
Old 10 May 2009
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Fynnbar, I have recently finished a website about riding in China, it's on my signature, take a look, feel free to PM or email me if you have any questions. Most of the questions you have are answered on the site. Or go to mychinamoto.com, join the forum and ask your questions there, after you have read some previous posts.

Most people who have ridden a lot in China will tell you no license and insurance is a very bad idea also It will be very difficult to impossible to get a bike out of China without plates and documents, but with them, there is no guarantee, but possible at least.

The traffic rules are toughening up, this is creating a safer road environment, but the Chinese authorities also want everyone to follow the rules.
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  #37  
Old 11 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMC888 View Post
Fynnbar, I have recently finished a website about riding in China, it's on my signature, take a look, feel free to PM or email me if you have any questions.
Thanks ZM,
I will have a look through it. I the mean time is there any chance you could send me your email so that I can get back to you that way, as unfortunately I cant PM you as I don't have enough posts yet.
Cheers
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  #38  
Old 11 May 2009
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Some thing alot of people over look (me included) That they have seen on a forum or heard from other people that you have 30 days once you have bought a motorcycle/car here before you have to legally register it.

This is partially true when you study the Chinese traffic /driving laws you do have 30 days grace before you have to legally register the vehicle so long as you seek a permit for the vehicle for that 30 days from the appropriate authorities.
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  #39  
Old 11 May 2009
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fynnbar96 you can email me, the fmcc emails are up on the site, you can use those to make contact.
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  #40  
Old 24 May 2009
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Buying a Bike in China

Hey guys, I am new to this forum but I might be able to lend a word here.

I bought and drove a Chinese motorcycle through China (on a tourist visa) last fall from Aug- Oct. of 2008. I have tons of pics, info, border details and more on my website if you are interested in that.

As for buying the bike, the dealers are no good because you cannot register the bike. So, I just went to the town I wanted to start in (Shangri-la) and then I found a bike someone owned on the street. I sat down next to the bike until its owner returned and then I made an offer. That easy!

Now, once you get the bike (remember, EVERYTHING is for sale in China!), you need to get the owner to write you a letter (in Chinese) saying that you have permission to ride the bike, take it out of the area, etc. This is NOT legal, but it's better than nothing! Insist on getting a copy of his national ID card AND your passport together on the same paper. Make about 10 copies of this letter and keep them on you!

I got caught riding by the cops 6 times! Each time I showed that letter and the cops seemed to be satisfied by this. I also wrote a lot about how to fool the cops, make quasi-legal paperwork etc. on my website and in my book. (also on site)

Hope it helps.

By the way, I paid about $600 USD for a 2004 Zhongshen 150cc dirtbike with about 7,000 km on the odometer. It was good enough to take me 12,000 kms to the Tibet border, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand!





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  #41  
Old 24 May 2009
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Chris you sly fox.

$600 seems a lot for a 5 year old bike. 12 000 kms is a great trip and the bike was very reliable.
Will look at the website.
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  #42  
Old 25 May 2009
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Originally Posted by JHMM View Post
Chris you sly fox.

$600 seems a lot for a 5 year old bike. 12 000 kms is a great trip and the bike was very reliable.
Will look at the website.
From inside China, $600 seems ok considering how he bought it, he is a westerner and a 150cc dirt bike is not so common around here.

A used Chinese CG125 will be around $300/$400.
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  #43  
Old 25 May 2009
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I hate to say it, but i'm going to finally crack and say it on the forum...

...the amount of people who talk absolute shite on this forum is incredible. Its a very useful tool alot of the time, its just a shame you have to wade through all the crap and moral-men out there to advise you on your trip.

I'm with Farqhuar here. There isn't a chinese policeman outside Beijing or Shanghai who has the language skills nor the malice to bother with a friendly looking westerner on a small bike pootling about with or without plates/registration/whatever. They will be delighted to see you and probably take a few pictures on their camera phone and call their friends and generally be pleased to be of any help (but the fact is they probably can't...because even they don't know where they are).

Why do people persist here on telling people whats morally right/morally possible, we are all big boys and can make up our minds.

Farqhaur has done it, as have i around Chengdu and its complete bollocks to suggest otherwise. In china (and i'm gonna say most of the third world) there aren't any absolute rules because there isn't legally speaking a 'correct way to do it'.
So if a cop takes a disliking to you he's gonna be able to find a way to book you, so you might as well make his life easy and say '**** the lot' instead of messing around with getting plates/chinese drivers license and all the other associated beaurocratic crap...which still leaves you riding a bike illegally.

Why don't people just post their advice on here from their experiences, not their opinions and what they 'believe' and things small birds told them, and things they had dreams about.

Christ.
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  #44  
Old 26 May 2009
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Joe,

Advice I have given isn't from what some bloke told me down the pub, nor most of the long term residents who live here. It is actual experience of LIVING in China for the last freakin 7 years. Clocking up 50,000 kms on motorcycles and 20,000 kms on a bicycle!!!!!!

Quote:
I'm with Farqhuar here. There isn't a chinese policeman outside Beijing or Shanghai who has the language skills nor the malice to bother with a friendly looking westerner on a small bike pootling about with or without plates/registration/whatever. They will be delighted to see you and probably take a few pictures on their camera phone and call their friends and generally be pleased to be of any help (but the fact is they probably can't...because even they don't know where they are).
That's really odd, because I was stopped two weeks ago (the 4th time I've been stopped), and luckily I had all my docs, so I was let go by the cops. No malice, but a desire to stop any vehicle that moved, they were hoping with some kind of illegality, so they could make a quick dollar, also they saw I was a foreigner and I don't live anywhere near SH or BJ. It used to be that being a foreigner alone used to be enough to avoid hassles (and that is still the case in small rural towns and other rural areas). Guess what? The rest of the country is changing and becoming more like BJ and SH, so as time passes, your opinion is becoming more incorrect.

I know this wasn't what you discovered in your experience of Chengdu, but if we give advice out on China, you have to consider what will happen to someone that goes to Shanghai and starts riding around on an unregistered, uninsured 125cc bike, possible deportation, imprisonment, fine etc. China is huge, provinces are all different and have different administrations. So go off and write your 'riding in Chengdu' guide, as you might be right, but you can't say the same for anywhere else.

I know its frustrating to not be allowed to own your own bike in your own name, the size engine you want, it isn't fair, but that's the way the law is in China, it doesn't mean you have the right to go and break laws you don't like or to go and tell others that your idea is correct.

An example of an accident involving a fully legal foreign rider with all documentation including registration, insurance and Chinese Driving License:

Location and Date: Sichuan, Spring 2008.

While crossing a village, a little girl runs in front of my bike, too late to avoid her and I hit her in the back with the front fender. I shout in my helmet, stop quickly then rush to check her. She is conscious and can move but she is a little knocked. She has a mark on the front of her head so I start to worry about something more serious. The road nearly empty one minute earlier is now crowded. Lot of people around are talking and looking, some are shouting. I ask to call a taxi to bring her to hospital, nobody is moving. I ask to call the family, the Grandmother arrives. The Grandmother goes back to her house to grab some money, then after more discussion she takes the girl to hospital with some relatives. I want to go with her but the villagers stop me and tell me that I have to wait for the Police.

A local policeman arrives within ten minutes, but he is not in charge on this kind of accident. I have to wait for the Traffic Police who will come from a larger town. I take photos from every angle to memorize the scene. The crowd is quiet, mostly curious about the accident and me. One or two people were hostile at the very beginning but it was more due to the language barrier than anything else. One hour later, when the Traffic Police arrive, this is the big game. They block the road and start their job. They assure me that I have nothing to worry about. Their investigation will be made according the rules... It will take me few days to understand what they mean. They find a translator to ease the communication, an English teacher from a local high school. The bike is put back where I hit the little girl.
I contact the Embassy. Some Embassy official calls me back few minutes later to have a quick report of the situation and give me some advice. He will follow this case for the next few days until its resolution. I try to get some news about the little girl but nobody knows how she is. I ask to go to the hospital to see her. After 5 hours, things are moving. Road is unblocked. The bike is parked at the local Police station then they bring me to a hotel for the night. As requested they will accompany me to the hospital next day. Next day at the hospital, I'm glad to see the little girl here with her Grandmother. The doctor tells me that she has nothing broken but because of the trauma on the head they need to keep her in observation few days.

To make it straight, somebody must pay for this accident and its consequences and even if I don't think that I am responsible, this will be me. The bike is insured, I'm a foreigner so considered wealthy. The girl's family is poor and the hospital is expensive. I will spend 3 more days in this village not by necessity but because the Police can choose the way they will write their accident report and my will keep the bike until I settle a deal with the family.
I'm leaving this village to Chengdu. I have some mixed feelings about these last days. I'm glad to know that the little girl is fine, but I hated the way they played by their f***ing rules. I paid 6000 Yuan (US$870) which is a big amount for China in the countryside. Insurance should reimburse half of it. Frankly, I don't care about the money. It is the way it is done that bothers me.


Read original under 'Ride reports' A few weeks on SE CHina on mychinamoto.com


Few weeks in South West China - MyChinaMoto

If this was an accident involving a foreigner with fully legal documentation, please imagine the consequences without documentation, before giving out your nonsensical advice.

Christ.

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Last edited by ZMC888; 30 May 2009 at 01:42. Reason: More info.......
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  #45  
Old 26 May 2009
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Where to buy a bike in china

Okay, so ... back to the topic ...

I will be in Hong Kong on October 2009, will only have one week to spend on biking. I know that 1 week is not much time - but it's all I have.
Buy and resell vs rental?
How easy would it be to buy a bike in a day - is there a specific area that is best?
With rental often they don't want you to travel far (even out of town)
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