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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 17 Jul 2016
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Coromandel, New Zealand
Posts: 56
Senior Kiwi, the Sumo and a South American itch

If you have an itch , the best advice is : Don’t scratch it.

My itch is a South American tour by motorbike.

It is not that I haven’t tried cures. I have motor bike toured my home country New Zealand, Europe,Ukraine, Turkey , Morocco and for three months in 2014 I travelled 8000 km through Central America on a Suzuki GN125. In 2015 , I rode my pushbike 2000 km through Cuba. I have also made cycle tours through New Zealand, Europe,UK, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Most of these have been solo tours - not by choice but not many people can just drop their lives and go. There are some blogs on this site and on crazyguyonabike.com

I retired nine years ago ,at 58, from the corporate world. My job gave me satisfaction, travel, security and a pension and for that I am grateful. One of the great things about retirement is you don’t have to worry about or save for it.

In between my two wheel adventures, my spouse and I have motor homed Europe for four years in the NZ winter ( May to October) and in 2016 we bought a pickup and fifth wheel in New Hampshire and travelled the Eastern Seaboard down to the Florida Keys up to New Orleans , followed the Mississippi north, looped around the Upper Peninsula states of Wisconsin and Michigan. As I write this , we are just outside Detroit and planning to visit the Henry Ford Museum. We intend to do the midwest in 2017.

But back to the itch.

I have avoided looking regularly at the HUBB site because it tends to inspire me in a direction that often takes some long explanations to my spouse. However, about a month ago I said what the hell, logged in and got inspired. I contacted Toby at around the block in Peru, we had some e mail discussions and I ended up the owner of a used 250cc Sumo Tekker. The bike had done a trip to Chile and back and didn’t even have a puncture. He has some very positive write ups on HUBB and elsewhere . After his mods the bikes seem reliable and being local and relatively unsophisticated mechanically is another positive. I don’t mind the smaller capacity after my V Strom 650. I enjoyed riding the Suzuki 125 and we tackled some challenging roads and it never missed a beat - not even a puncture in the three month/8,000 km ride. When I first got into biking after I retired I bought a 250cc Virago and toured New Zealand on it for a month. It underlined to me the capabilities of a smaller capacity bike.
I leave NZ on September 27 , pick up the bike a couple of days later and head south to Cuzco and Lake Titicaca. Then I travel North on a mixture of coastal and mountain roads. I am looking at a side trip to the Galapagos for some diving, but no firm decision yet. I would like to hit Ecuador and if time poke into Colombia . I fly back to NZ from Lima on Dec 22.

I travel light and will be staying in small hotels, hostels etc. My gear will be stowed in a rear dry bag and tank bag. I have a gps and a tracker to keep friends and family informed and in case of emergency.

I have received much information and encouragement from this site , so I will try and reciprocate with a blog of my tour.

The pics below show my bike evolution.

Sumo Tekker

V strom 650 on the Molesworth track, South Island New Zealand

Suzuki GN125 crossing the border between Guatemala and Honduras. The number on the helmet and vest are to prevent drive by shootings!

Ride safe

Attached Thumbnails
Senior Kiwi, the Sumo and an itch-cache_945088886.jpg  

Senior Kiwi, the Sumo and an itch-central-st-anton-002.jpg  

Senior Kiwi, the Sumo and an itch-sam_0493.jpg  

Last edited by phazael; 17 Jul 2016 at 23:01. Reason: need new heading
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Old 7 Oct 2016
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HUBB regular
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Coromandel, New Zealand
Posts: 56
I write this report from Abancay - a pleasant if somewhat dusty town in the centre of Peru.

To get here I have driven about 1200km on a mixture of roads - dirt, tarmac and transgender.

The bike, after a faltering start, has performed well , if somewhat wheezily, at altitude. The accommodation has been good, the weather varied and the food mostly edible.

But back to the start

I travelled by bus from Lima to Huanaco - 11 hours - no stopping and intermittent air conditioning. The bus was full and after 100km so was the toilet. The drivers drove like they had stolen the bus and gave no quarter.

Met up with Toby and Jaime of Around the Block adventures. They said the bike would be ready Saturday as they needed Friday to fit the parts I had bought.

Took off on Saturday in the company of a couple of USA riders on Honda Tornados. The combined age of the three of us was 210 years. It was like activity day on a senior’s cruise. However, 10 minutes into the ride my rear brake seized so it was peel off time and back to the workshop.

We fitted different discs and callipers to resolve the problem - eventually pillaging a new set of components from a brand new bike.

Next day I rode 330km solo to Concepion through rain, sun, wind, sleet and climbing to over 4200 metres . The road was mainly dirt through high plain with little villages cringing into the side of mountains. I dodged llamas, pigs, cows, horses , donkeys, drunk locals and gave up counting the number of dogs that wanted to use my bike to end it all. A tip here: Ginger coated dogs seem to be the worst offenders. If you see one raise your alert level to DEFCON 5.

I was little affected by the altitude as I had spent two weeks in NZ skiing before leaving for Peru. However, I took the precaution of sipping water steadily from my camelbak.

However, parking my bike at the hotel I managed to bend the stand making it useless. We fixed it the next day by welding some reinforcing iron to the straightened pedal ( Cost was $3)

The next few days saw me ride from Concepion to Ayacucho. I missed a turn and went through Pampas and picked up a dirt road which gave a wonderful, if rather long ride to Ayacucho. I can recommend the Hotel Sevillas on Jinor Libertad. Only drawback is you have to bounce up the kerb, ride through the courtyard and park in the foyer. The restaurant next door serves a good smoothie

Then it was onto Andahuaylas. The town has nothing to commend it but the hotel Mansion has good garaging and nice rooms.

From there it was a pleasant 150km ride through low cloud and a landslide to Abancay. The Hotel de Turistas has an air of decayed elegance and a little pricey at soles 100 - but there is little else in the town.

Some initial impressions:

After the brake hiccup , the bike has been good. Starts first time with no choke but you have to keep the revs up in town which puts a toll on the clutch. Fuel consumption is around 100km/gallon giving a range of 350km.

Some of the roads here are wonderful. Hairpins up to 4000m then hairpins down. But some of them especially in town leave a lot to be desired.

The so called professional drivers have been chosen for their career due to the fact they were the most hyperactive child in the school.

Tomorrow head for Ollantaytambo , then up the so called back road to Machu Picchu.

Ride safe
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