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Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.

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Old 17 Dec 2012
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HELP THIS NEWB DREAM BIG. Japan---->Portugal? RTW?!?!

Thank you in advance kind person! I'm at the beginning of this process. Thank you for your time and support. I'm just beginning to think this up, and would likely start in a month or two. Here is an overview of my situation:

I'm a 29 y/o male, and have been travelling for some time. I'm no stranger to the 'road', or the travel lifestyle, but I AM VERY NEW TO BIKES!

When I first noticed how travel and bikes go hand in hand, I learned how to ride and then bought my dream motorcycle (2007 triumph Bonneville) in August of 2011. Well, now I'm hooked on travel AND bikes. Thanks guys :-).

I have ridden 5-6k kms on country roads over two summers in my home town. I never needed to fix the bike, not that I would know how. I used to change my own car oil, my tires etc. I can learn and am semi-mechanically inclined. I was able to winterize my bonnie, and she started right up after 8 months of inactivity. Not one problem yet (knock, knock, knock, and knock again... wipe that grin off your face!).

I also recently rode a 125cc moped around Bali and Lombok for 2 weeks with a backpack tied to the back. Functional and simple. The traffic did't seem all that crazy to me, even though most would consider it mad.

I'm planning, or rather, considering to plan an epic moto ODYSSEY. I'm in SE Asia for the winter/ year and when considering incorporating bikes into my travel lifestyle, I dont know where to start.

While I have the time and money and freedom to do this, GO BIG!

For no particular reason, other than being in SE Asia for the year, I thought I'd ride from Japan to Portugal, and maybe dip down into west Africa when done.

I like to travel light and cheap, as I don't have a "large" budget for this (20k over one year incl bike, gear, costs??), I covet simplicity, and I'm not fussy about comfort and or obsessive about having the "right" stuff.

My goal is not to travel or "adventure". I know how to do that. I do have a project in mind. Something akin to gathering data on just what makes people happy to be alive across cultures. So that is the primary theme: the search for happiness; a search for cross-cultural desire to know happiness and contentment at its core; to be happy. So, I'll have to make stops and conduct interviews along the way. This is all in a pre-pre-planning stage, if that.

Bike, gear, safety (and all the other stuff I dont know s**t about)

I'm a bit concerned with I look at the pictures of people doing this: similar bikes (big and expensive ones), top notch gear (also uniform and pricey), and lots of spare parts strapped to the back. However, I just finished my first moto-read about a man who went from Sydney->London on a 105cc posal bike, wearing board shorts and flip-flips, so anything is possible.

I was thinking of buying a yamaha tw-200 (or any 200-500cc dual sport) in Japan, equipping it, and heading out. I think I want a "small" bike. The moped around Bali/Lombok was fine, if uncomfortable. Like I said, I want simplicity. Though this usually mean reliability too. I don't need speed. I go pretty slow, as an inexperienced rider should.

I am 6ft and 85kg, would have 20kg of gear max, without tools and spare parts.

I'm thinking the tw-200 would be light, agile, safe, sufficient, and simple to repair. In a word: pragmatic. Is this the case?

Alternatively, I could skip Japan, buy a scooter in Malaysia (so its in my name, with a carnet), and when I go to India, buy a bike there. I'd prefer to include Japan, and have sense of continuity to the trip, but I'm not married to the idea.


It will all be for not if I dont make it back alive, and I'd prefer to do that with all skin and bones in tact.

Like I said, I'm no thrill seeker on a bike. Rather riding safely is thrilling enough. Being alive and able to contemplate endeavors such as this is thrilling enough!

I don't have leathers. Neither do 95% of riders in the WORLD. However, most westerners seem to swear by them, and I understand the arguments. I'm afraid they will be very bulky, hot, impractical (until you hit the deck... then they are quite practical indeed), and complicated.

Help me find the Middle Way here. I don't want to tempt fate and do this in board shorts and flip-flops, but I don't want to be an all "geared out" robo-tourist. How important is speed in all this. Are their alternatives (thin, waterproof, multi-functional jackets and pants?).


Should I prepare to camp? I'm also a camping newb, but travel as shown me that guest houses are everywhere, curious locals will take you in if you indulge their curiosities and buy some food, and you can sleep just about anywhere.

It might be nice to spend some time in the wilderness, but off the beaten track, thats where said curious people live: right in beautiful friggin nature with the bare essentials. I rather hang with them if possilbe?

What do I need to learn and how?:

I dont ahve a tool kit, and wouldn't know how to apply it to bike maintenance if I did. If I buy/sell a scooter in Asia, I'll probably just take it to mechanics if it has problems. But what are the basics I should know? Took kits to buy?

Anything else fellas?:
I look forward to being a part of this community. Perhaps I will do this, and perhaps I can meet some of you along the way! I fly home for the holidays, then back to Kuala Lumpur on Jan 5th. I have now officially entered the -pre-planning stage of this journey. Thanks for reading and if you have anything constructive to tell me, let me know.

Be Well,


Thanks you guys!
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Old 17 Dec 2012
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I assume you are Malaysian. I recommend you to visit Hadi's site, a really good guy we made friendship with in Turkey. He was riding a Modenas 125cc scooter from KL to London. I'm sure you'll find lots of info and inspiration from his site: Iamalaysian | Great dreamers cannot be tamed

Happy travels,

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Old 17 Dec 2012
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Do it, you won't regret it!

Regarding riding gear, leathers etc., check out this thread:
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Old 17 Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
I assume you are Malaysian. I recommend you to visit Hadi's site, a really good guy we made friendship with in Turkey. He was riding a Modenas 125cc scooter from KL to London. I'm sure you'll find lots of info and inspiration from his site: Iamalaysian | Great dreamers cannot be tamed

Happy travels,

Not Malaysian, but I'm in KL. I just heard it was easy for a foreigner to get the proper paperwork done here. Thanks for the link man. Great find; great help
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Old 17 Dec 2012
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My general advice

Remember, there's no such thing as a perfect bike, they'll all do pretty much what you ask of it, some are just better suited than others at certain tasks. I've seen mopeds in the sahara, harleys in the jungle and sports bikes in the ice. Ride what you have or what your love. Or try a few bikes and see what you like. As a general rule, the smaller the better and most often the cheapest, in virtually every respect. Nobody ever wishes their bike was heavier. Consider what you want to do with it and the impact a big value bike will have on your Carnet.

Keep gear to a minimum but buy the best gear you can afford and have a good look around army surplus stores, Don't try to account for every eventuality, keep tools to a minimum and only carry the tools you know how to use. Familiarize yourself with the bike as much as possible beforehand: what are its common failings and address them before departure. Learn how to service your bike and carry out basic maintenance. Defo learn how how to repair a puncture and change a tyre - it's really easy. Keep spares to a minimum, they should be about safely getting you to the next town for repairs or whatever. Try to remember that when things go tits up, it's when the adventure begins. You'll usually find someone to help you.

It's not a question of if you end up on the deck, it's when, especially if you do any off road riding, which you will if you're wild camping. They might be proper crashes or just dropping the bike - it happens, don't worry, just remember the first thing to do is take a picture. Textiles are pretty good and can be good value - again check army surplus for gear. Definitely wild camp, it's not only cheap but it's a great way to see the world, it's often the only option. Remain cautious and vigilant but drop any paranoia as soon as you can, you'll enjoy it much sooner and much more. I try to wild camp at least a couple of turns off the main road away from townships. Use couch surfer, hostels, the Hubb communities and ADV tent space to hook up with other like-minded people.

A bike cover is an effective deterrent against opportunistic thieves. You'll be surprised how useful a multi-tool, gaffer tape and cable ties can be at fixing most things. A small, personal, first aid kit with plenty of ibuprofen is wise. If you're travelling solo, have people that worry about you or you're going into the wild consider the Spot satellite tracker. Always have adequate travel insurance but make sure your provider covers motorcycles, many have restrictions. The world s a great place filled with great people.

Bon Voyage
www.AdventureVagabond.com Mongolia & Siberia 2012: Adventure Moto Madness
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Old 18 Dec 2012
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Have met 2 japanese guys here in İstanbul who made Japan-Germany-İstanbul(Transasia) on bikes 2 years ago and Yuki made it again by bicycle last year..
Sure they will be happy to give current information..A big hello from me please..
When they were here,sure got their permissions to contact them for information for the following travellers..We all share spirit of adventure..

I think they also have blogs in Japanese.
Kazunori Fujimoto <k.fujimoto0724@gmail.com>;

2-Yuki Ariyoshi (a little English)
Yuki Ariyoshi <st.pierre.lapin.jp@gmail.com>;

Best Wishes
mehmet zeki avar

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Old 20 Dec 2012
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Thanks for the info Stephen!

I look into the textiles and camping gear. Is it alright to buy this stuff while in SE Asia or is the quality of the camping gear/ textiles gonna be shite?

I think I'm gonna go with the smallest bike than can reliably get the job done. The trip is basically a go at this point, assuming I can get all the stuff I need.

Buying/ selling a scooter within SE Asia, and buying another proper bike in India is becoming a very attractive option, esp if I cant find a decent bike in Malaysia/ singapore.
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Old 21 Dec 2012
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just my 0.02, but I'd buy riding gear from home. SE Asia is cheap for many things, but good quality gear is often imported there, so may not be cheap at all. Finding big sizes can also be tough. And once I arrive, I like to concentrate on the trip, not where I can find suitable gear. That can be sorted, before I leave.
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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I just did it the other way. From Italy to Japan. Just read my blog on reverse and you should be fine. Absolute fantastic trip. I advise you not to miss Mongolia and Uzbekistan.
From Italy helping children around the world on Motorcycles
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Old 24 Dec 2012
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I just did it the other way. From Italy to Japan. Just read my blog on reverse and you should be fine. Absolute fantastic trip. I advise you not to miss Mongolia and Uzbekistan.
From Italy helping children around the world on Motorcycles
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