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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Photo by Seb and Kim Leeson, Belgium. Tire changing with an audience in Mongolia on our ex-USSR tour. Suzuki DRZ400E.

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Seb and Kim Leeson, Belgium. Tire changing with an audience in Mongolia on our ex-USSR tour. Suzuki DRZ400E.



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  #1  
Old 5 Feb 2017
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A Question of Morality - Flag Stickers

Ok, this is a little tragic to admit, but I'll put it out there, I'm man enough to stick my head out of the metaphorical trenches and take it...

I recently traded in my Tiger, the first bike I've left Europe on and was very sad to lose my lovely collection of national flag stickers on my topbox. Seriously, it actually factored into my decision to make the trade. Yes, I am tragic. Not that I, ultimately, was sad to loose the boxes themselves, bloody heavy things.

So I ask you - what is acceptable when it comes to putting national flag stickers on your bike, or any other piece of hardware?

Should you only have stickers for where that particular piece of hardware has been? Can you replace the flags for the countries you have visited with that piece of hardware only? What about countries you flew to?

What if replacing your bike means that your wife suddenly has more flags than you do? Ghastly thought, that, but it's happened. Should you tamper with her brakes to ensure a write-off? On the other hand what if you have a bike which claims to be well travelled with only 1000km on the clock? Would that make you, pardon my French, a bit of a knob?

I should add: need to thank me for raising the really important questions folks. I consider it a service to the community, I really do. Stimulating debate on the topics which really cut to the very core of the community. The core of human experience in general, if we're honest with ourselves...
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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I am not sure what the issue is. IMO the maps show where you have been.
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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To me, the stickers show where the BIKE has been. However, I admit that I mourn the fact that neither of my current bikes has earned more than a paltry few flags, while the one I recently got rid of had scores.

The problem is that if I try to see it any other way I could bankrupt myself buying flag stickers for the other several score countries where I've rented bikes, driven cars, or just wandered around on local transport. What's the point?

Once or twice I've purchased extras, which I feel free to stick on anything I please, including bicycles, cars, motorbikes and my front door. These have included, for example, "El Fin del Mundo" stickers from Ushuaia, and "Pinheads from Hell" stickers from Neptune Mountaineering (Boulder, Colorado). Those are exceptions.

My condolences to Arma. I feel your pain.

Mark
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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Stickers on bike / panniers etc show where it's been.

Badges etc on you show where you've been.

YMMV.

To the OP, if you bought a bike with loads of stickers where you haven't been, would you remove them?
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
Stickers on bike / panniers etc show where it's been.

Badges etc on you show where you've been.

YMMV.

To the OP, if you bought a bike with loads of stickers where you haven't been, would you remove them?
I definitely would remove them, it would feel dishonest to keep them on. I've not been there, I'm more important than the machine. But it still somehow feels wrong to put on places the bike has not been to.

I've considered putting the stickers on my helmet, showing where I've gone, but what happens when I get a new lid? It's interesting that we apply some kind of soul to the motorcycle, it's got its OWN set of stickers. Gear doesn't have a soul, badges are transferable.
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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Ooh, a moral philosophy conundrum. This is where we get to find out what people are really like - honest and upright salt of the earth types who'll only use stickers where they and that particular bike have been together (and when the bike goes the sticker rights vanish with it) or slightly dubious "it's all about me" egoists who'll plaster anything anywhere, particularly if there's money involved. Note my value judgements in selecting those adjectives.

As I had a catholic upbringing with strict moral rectitude at the centre of the curriculum I started my travel "career" with stickers as the glue that cemented the partnership between me and the bike. We did it together. Look at what we've achieved, where we've been. Sadly though it didn't take long for my slightly dubious real character to bubble to the surface and I was seduced by longer legs, a prettier face and an easier ride. My short and squat, slightly pudgy little Honda had to go. To remember the good times though I kept the CDs in the shape of the sticker covered top box. Should I use it with the virgin queen, the new love of my life but rather innocent of the ways of the travel world? Too damn right I should, these things are expensive!

I was actually "agonising" about all of this about a year ago (but didn't think to pose a question about it here). I collected about half a dozen stickers during our USA trip in 2015 but, with one eye on resale value, didn't want to plaster them on the GoldWing. So what should I do with them. There's not much point in buying them if they're just going to sit in your wallet but I did have slight reservations about putting them on another bike. In the end though a couple of bottles of cut through millennia of "original guilt" (as they so often do) and they went on my 125 Suzuki. A year on nobody has asked me how I got the Suzuki to Yellowstone or what the hell is an OBX. Sometimes I wonder whether we just make rods for our own backs.
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Old 6 Feb 2017
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Divorce, my friend, divorce.
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Old 7 Feb 2017
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Country stickers relate not only to the bike and not only to the rider, but in the relationship between the two. Therefore, if you sell the bike, the stickers are lost. If you buy a bike with stickers, they should be removed. Anything else would be a little disingenuous, in my opinion.

Which isn't to say I don't mourn the loss of the "Пиво, сиськи, рок-н-ролл" sticker the Russian bikers put on my last bike before I spoke Russian.
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Old 24 Feb 2017
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Have to admit once we started to go down the flag sticker route we didn't stop there..
Restaurants, camping, hindu gods, islam, football, surfing etc and even one i found in Mali with Gadaffi and 2 AK47's.
The car has become plastered all over which we have found breaks the ice and strikes up good conversations with locals.
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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I really miss my extra large 'Le vache qui Rite' sticker.
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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My stickers go on my panniers and my panniers go on any of my bikes. They tell my story, not the bikes story. I will never sell my story


g6snl -Tim
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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Stickers and Flags... and Women???

Interesting comments.
What I find missing here is the objectification of the motorcycle itself. While most men have no trouble objectifying women at one time or another, they just get rubbed the wrong way when asked to objectify their motorcycles.

Let's face it, motorcycles have no clue where they are, how far they have traveled or give a sh.. who is looking at them. Women do! Motorcycles, are objects. Women are not. Sometimes the only way to establish a value judgement is to compare comparable magnitude. Motorcycles are not women, and stickers or flags are like notches on one's six shooter representing men killed. I am sure each of the killer's pistols are notched with each kill.

Just as I would never consider myself having been with a woman, unless I was,
I would never consider myself having been to a country - represented by stickers and flags on my motorcycle, unless I was. It is not the woman, the country or the motorcycle that my personal collection of stickers and flags represent. It is me and my relationships and my travels. And, it is my integrity, which has very little to do with which bike I was riding.

My conclusion, motorcycles are objects, women are not, and six shooters are like motorcycles... So, while I own three motorcycles, one in Argentina, one in Spain, and one here at the ranch in Arizona, I have posted all my flags representing the countries I have ridden on each of my three motorcycles. But, while I have had relationships with many women, I am only with one... and would never wear the scarf or banner of another, ever.

Let's be confused no longer.

xfiltrate. Eat, Drink and fly all your flags wherever you want, but respect your woman, she is not an object.

I really get it that many of you will have no clue of what I speak here. No worries man!
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post

I really get it that many of you will have no clue of what I speak here. No worries man!
You're certainly amongst the more cryptic contributors here Ed

Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post
. So, while I own three motorcycles, one in Argentina, one in Spain, and one here at the ranch in Arizona, I have posted all my flags representing the countries I have ridden on each of my three motorcycles.
The only downside of course is that you have to buy three stickers each time!

It's just a pity really that these things can't be re-cycled (literally). I've bought so many stickers over the years that have gone when either the bike has gone or when the panniers or whatever they've been stuck on has disintegrated with old age. Often the only bit that survives intact is the sticker. I've tried removing them with a hairdryer but it never really works. Unless you're the sort of person that keeps the same bike for ever they're only going to be a record of the last few years. I suppose if you had a series of bikes with suitable steel components you could use fridge magnets instead but (other than a fridge) its been a while since I've owned anything like that.

Other than bikers notching their guns I've wondered who else buys travel stickers. Most places that have any kind of tourist footfall sell them but where do they end up? There's someone down the road from me with a VW camper literally covered in stickers but that's the exception. The few cars I see with them wouldn't be enough to keep the sticker presses rolling. Maybe people just buy them on the spur of the moment, put them in their wallet / purse and forget about them two minutes later. It's just something to be done when you've put some effort in to get somewhere.
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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To the OP.
It's an age thing .Get to a certain age and you won't feel the need to advertise where you or your bike or your panniers have been.
Wear where you've been on the inside.
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Old 26 Feb 2017
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Hey? Nooooooo......At a certain age you need them to remember which of the 195 / 196 countries you've visited

g6snl -Tim
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