Down here and in the rest of Latin America, Honda has put the common man on wheels. He has been given freedom of movement which he otherwise would not have and could not enjoy.
From the venerable Honda 50 that started it all, to its big sister the Honda 90 and its inbred children the 125, 150, 175, 200 and 250 Honda is King. For over 46 years Honda has not relinquished its stranglehold on the motorcycle market, to any of its competitors.
These singles are the heartbeat of the common man and woman. They provide economic, personal transportation...sometimes for entire families of 4 or 5 people. They serve as moto taxis, general delivery and Pizza delivery bikes. Add a side car for bigger payloads and supermarket grocery deliveries. Strap on a side bracket and carry your surf board. Build some saddle brackets and carry 2x50 lb propane bottles or multiple 20 liter water bottles. Make a 4-wheel semi-trailer unit by adding a trailer. Remove/modify the swing arm and end up with a trike to be used as a closed-in moto taxi. Honda builds these 3-wheelers especially for the South American market and probably for the Asian market as well. Take the front wheel off and weld the forks to a large, front end trailer and you have a vegetable wagon. These are more than conveniences. They are the life blood and work horses for an entire civilization. Honda you have done yourself proud.
In Santa Ines, Maranhäo, I stepped out of the hotel and into the street. People stopped and stared. They looked at me as if I was from outer space. I checked to see if I had forgotten to put my shorts on. Everything was in order. I guess they had never seen a white guy before. I flashed them my best smile and said "Good Afternoon". Nothing...just a blank stare...not even a smile.
I moved down the street and hailed a passing boy on a bicycle. He skidded into a 'U' Turn uncertain if he should flee or heed the call. I reached out and steadied his ride. The women on the sidewalk stopped and stared, not sure what I would do next, now that I held him captive. I asked him where the nearest Internet Cafe was. He looked at me blankly, his eye wide and wild. I repeated the question, more slowly this time. "Oh, just down here...one block. There are two."
"Which is the best?" I asked.
"They are about the same", came the reply.
I released my grip and carried on down the street. I entered the first cafe and settled in at my machine. Five minutes later the boy opened the door and surveyed the crowd. Satisfied when he found me he closed the door and returned to his bicycle, probably to report to the astounded ladies on the sidewalk.
I flagged down a trucker today. I could smell brakes burning but there was no hill. Ahead of me, in the distance I saw the semi. As I drew near the smell intensified and the smoke increased. Oblivious to it all he motored ahead. Here in Brasil they dump the diesel exhaust out the side, behind the cab. They do not use the chrome stacks so prevalent in North America. If he did check his mirror and saw smoke he probably assumed it was exhaust smoke.
I pulled beside him and caught his attention and then pointed to his wheels. He quickly interpreted the gesture and pulled over. He jumped out of the cab as I walked towards him.
"What's wrong?", he asked, as he looked at the front wheel.
I pointed to the second set of duals on the tractor. A trail of smoke rose from the hub. One of his air brakes hadn't released. He shook my hand vigorously. "Thank you" (Obrigado), he said.
"Denada", I returned.
I left him to his chore. I would be on the air waves tonight. Breaker, breaker, 1-9er. There's a bear in the air and a gringo biker on the ground. My hub's a cook'n, but the gringo was look'n and now my bacon's saved. The brakes ain't died because he spied the smoke aris'n from my side. That's a big 10-4 brother.Posted by Robert Bielesch at August 19, 2006 10:21 PM GMT
Next HU Events
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Which bike, how to prepare it, what else to take, how to pack it all in! 6 hours!
"It's another great job, informative and entertaining."
"It's really professional and full of useful information, a must for any traveler."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GEARUP' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!