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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 Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

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


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #31  
Old 13 Jun 2014
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Choose well

I don't generally ride with groups (too many wheelies, close calls, and general poor rider experiences). When I do ride with a friend or two it's all about the fun of the ride. It is good to ride with more experienced people if you are somewhat new to this but always be sure to pull your own weight. As an example, I pack enough tools for a major rebuild and my pal Dave only carries the wretched kit that came with his bike (it looks like a child's toy tool kit). He compensates by always bringing along some odd, but very good food and in this way we have both contributed equally (canned borscht notwithstanding). You also need a partner in crime who is cheerful (or at least not petulant and whiny) and takes the adventure (rain, mud, suicidal wildlife, drunks, no food, bad food,canned borscht, etc) as a part of the experience, not the awful thing that they'll never do again. A similar attitude is a plus. Start with short trips and move up if it works well. I once did a trip with a guy I have known and liked for 20 years. On a road trip he required nice hotels, nice restaurants, and complained bitterly about every bump in the road (I like tents, cheap motels, plain food,etc.). The only reason I'm not posting this from the Auburn maximum security prison (for homicide, dismembering and cannibalism) is that we both realized what a disaster we had created and went our own ways to meet up again later. We are still good friends, but not long distance riding partners. Choose the person/people well and the ride will take care of itself.
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  #32  
Old 13 Jun 2014
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In two weeks I'm leaving on a 3000 km bike trip with my son riding pillion. He is 13. I've always ridden long trips alone, and the most company is a weekend camping trips of 3 bikes. This is about mates and not so much about riding. Boys time. Then there is a week away with a girlfriend pillion. A woman pillion to me is just not enjoyable. You are restricted as to the technical dirt you can do, its more tiring on dirt, the bike is crowded 2 up with double the luggage, and if the day is too long, road rough, too hot or too cold, or it rains, you hear about it. This is also not really about adventure or riding.

It is different with a young boy. Although the roads you will ride are also restricted. They are appreciative, more willing to rough it and don't expect much, and the thrill of an adventure with dad overrides a lot. It creates memories for them and maybe one day a desire and confidence to go on their own adventure and strike out as their own man. It also gives them much to brag about when they get back to school and tell their friends who went on family trips in a cage lol. A boy will go along with what you say. No time wasted on blah blah. A father son trip is not a democracy or a Brussels type decision by endless committee and compromise, which only ends up doing what Washington says, who do what the bankers or Jerusalem say lol.

The more bikes, or even pillions, the more stops, the more blah blah about any changes to plan, blah about where to stay, where to eat, what time to leave in the morning, when to stop etc. You also meet less people since you are already a group. It defeats the whole concept of adventure biking which is freedom and adventure. It may add safety, but that also reduces the unknowns of adventure.

I figure leave group riding to the Harley HOG, MC, and sunday breakfast fun crowd. Or those too timid to ride alone. I find it boring and about the social, not about the thrill of adventure. For me, this is not what biking is about. Im an old school individualistic biker. I get on my bike and go, and no apologies to anyone.
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  #33  
Old 28 Jun 2014
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In my part of the world we have a lot of Harleys. They are generally quite good bikes (simple to maintain and fix, infinitely rebuildable/repairable, solidly made, etc) and I've had a few. Many of the riders, however, seem to view their bike as a fashion accessory to a synthetic lifestyle. Rides with these guys are 2 hrs of getting everyone assembled/ pre-ride blather and then riding 12 miles to a bar (another 1-2 hrs of sitting about, 14 miles more (another bar). Finally, after all the strain and hardship (those 12 oz. curls are tiring) it's off to dinner then home. There are an awful lot of 8 year old Harleys with 3500 on the odometer. You do sometimes run into a set of serious riders and, generally they are older, experienced and never seem to go on and on about Japanese bikes being junk, etc. Most of my riding is done with my wife and we enjoy it, until the pavement ends and my wife becomes stiff and uncomfortable (My interior monologue at these times runs as follows: "For the love of god, I'm not going to fall off on the first bump! I'm not Ewan McGregor!). So, dirt isn't much of an option two-up, and I ride slowly an super carefully for her benefit (unlike when I am solo). The older I get the less likely I am to do a group ride unless they are very serious riders. A few weeks ago I might've wanted a pal along as I went into the rough on my woods beater DR350. Sliding out of a turn (I thought it was a left, then straight and it turned out to be an s instead, surprise!) I slid sideways into a pine that someone had thoughtfully sawed the branches off (leaving blunt 4 foot sections sticking out) and tore off my taillight and took one in the left kidney. When I woke up, only greyed out, I think, my first thought was "Where'd the bike go?" followed closely by a loud string of curses as I felt my left kidney occupying roughly the same place as my mangled spine. At 49 I am no wheres near as resilient as 20.The bike was okay and started up (hopping on the kicker was a joy...) and so I went home. The place I was in sees no one all week (just weekends, so it would've been good to bring a friend). Bloody urine for a couple of weeks and the spine still feels "interesting" but it's better to crash on your own than get run into by someone who doesn't ride well (as if I am the model of skill). You're doing your son a great favor by letting him see that the fun of a thing can be had through discomfort and that the experience of doing the difficult is always worthy. Cheers: (Harley ride prep)
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  #34  
Old 14 Aug 2014
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IMHO, the first question you should ask yourself is what you do expect from the travel you are sketching up. What are you looking for?

Taking pictures, "have been there", a couple of selfies with your bike and mates, is silver. Putting yourself in strong emotional situations, meeting unexpectadly new (and precious) people / culture is gold. Overcoming your own (travelling?) fears is priceless.

Travelling alone is my best bet.
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  #35  
Old 14 Aug 2014
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Travelling alone is better as some companions can be pain in the bottom. You may meet people somewhere on your way and end up travelling together, only to find that they are selfish and don't contribute anything.....although some are fantastic and a joy to ride & camp with and would enrich your adventure. So travel alone as you will definitely meet someone on the road.
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  #36  
Old 18 Sep 2014
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Hermit

In my mind solo is the only answer. Start when you want, take the road you want, eat where you want to eat, go as far as you want, stop when you want, stay where you want to stay. Make a bad decision - there's only one person to blame. The longer the trip the more the need to do it your way.

I've known several friends who have done long group trips. It seems a "leader" always boils to the top. One guy ends up taking charge and everyone else eventually falls into line. Either that or they spend the entire journey bickering about the million little decisions that need to be made along the way.

Solo makes it more difficult in the event of a breakdown, security concern or at border crossings. But solo also opens you up to the locals. I get approached much more when I'm alone than when I'm with another rider. And a huge part of any trip is the people you meet along the way.
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  #37  
Old 18 Sep 2014
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I have always left on trips alone. The best times I have had was when I met other riders going my way and we spent from a couple of days to a few weeks together. Most of the stories I tell over and over are about my experiences with those people. Unfortunately, everyone has their time frame and "must see" places and parting is inevitable.

For my next trip, I will try to find through here or ADVrider, people doing a similar route and make an effort to intersect them. If it works, great, if not, maybe I'll meet someone else.

I think going for an entire trip with someone and being bound to them is a recipe for disaster. The probable causes having been expressed in previous posts. Good luck, Just do it!

Mitch
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  #38  
Old 25 Sep 2014
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I'm going to be travelling with a group of 4 biker friends next year. Everyone has their different tastes though. I'd advise against setting off to travel with someone you don't know though, because they could turn out to be a nightmare! So either go it alone if you feel comfortable to do so or go with people you know well and trust. Either way, have a great time!
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  #39  
Old 19 Oct 2014
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I had a long and thoughtful reply typed up but lost it. Summary: Solo is best if confident. Partner is you want the extra security but with an understanding you're both independent travellers who can split at anytime.
However nothing beats a pair of boobs pressed against your back.
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  #40  
Old 22 Oct 2014
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I take it that's not man boobs
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  #41  
Old 22 Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by MattyRider View Post
I havn't made any long trips yet. Would it be better with someone or by myself?
I prefere to travel alone as it is very hard to find someone that really matches the way of traveling (km per day, foto stops, hotel/tent). The worst thing is to travel with someone you dont know/like.
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  #42  
Old 22 Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
The worst thing is to travel with someone you dont know/like.

Ahhhhhh, you mean the wife
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  #43  
Old 28 Oct 2014
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Hi

I'm new to HU.. this is my first post .

I'm somewhat of a world traveler... approaching a 100 countries with a good number having multiples of visits. I'm not however an overly experienced biker. I have done a half dozen trips of durations up to 1 month... mostly around Asia... mostly on +/- 200cc and mostly solo.

I have a few adventure travel axioms that usually hold true:

1. Your contact with the culture and people of your destination varies inversely with the square of the qty of travelers in the group.

1 traveler: 1/1^2 = 1 (maximum)
2 travelers: 1/2^2 = 0.250
3 travelers: 1/3^2 = 0.111
4 travelers: 1/4^2 = 0.063

So as you add folks to your group, it tends to very quickly isolate you from meeting and interacting with the local culture and people... which I believe is one of the great pleasures of travel. Once you get to 4, it's a totally different trip.

Note that cultural interaction is not the only objective for travel however, and so this axiom doesn't mean the quality of the trip decays the same way.


2. Similar to #1, one's contact with locals and other travelers is greatly affected by your mode of travel and accommodation. On one end of the scale, traveling in a car and staying at 5 star hotels tends to lead to a greatly reduced interactive experience. Traveling by motorbike and staying in small lodgings greatly increases interaction. Public bus/boat/train traveling is probably the best for meeting people.

3. Mode of transportation directly affects your ability to get off the beaten track. This is where motorbikes are #1 to me: you can go just about anywhere in a reasonable period of time... thus your "bang for your buck" is maximized. Cars/Vans/SUVs are also good, while public transportation is very limiting for access.

4. Having traveling partners does open doors of adventure on an economic basis. Many times I might like to hire a boat to take me a day's journey down the river... but can't afford it as a solo traveler. Groups of 3 or 4 can afford just about anything.

5. Finally, group vs solo travel can be paradise or hell, depending on each traveler's personality and interests. I find it very difficult to find someone who is a travel soulmate... but if I could, I think it would be well worth it over solo travel. Otherwise, solo travel is the most rewarding.

Some earlier posts suggested meeting solo people who are going your way, and to travel together for as long as it works. I greatly agree with this... but axiom #1 still holds true - the solo traveler always has the most cultural and people interaction.

It would be great to hear if other experienced travelers disagree with any of these axioms? I've often wondered if these axioms are specific to my personality?
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  #44  
Old 28 Oct 2014
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Alone, but your your never really alone

I am doing a trip to Thailand and Laos in about 34 days alone, but you are never really alone as there are enough people out there to meet and engage with. But going alone you have the choice if you do want a bit of 'me time' and also the choice if you want to seek company.
Also going alone you will be doing what you want to do on a daily basis rather then having to do what others want.
On the other hand if you are with someone else there is immediate help at help at hand should something happen
It six and 2 three's
I agree with others...if you are going in a group I would say don't unless you get on with them well.


Wayne
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  #45  
Old 28 Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by DouglasJ View Post
Hi

1. Your contact with the culture and people of your destination varies inversely with the square of the qty of travelers in the group.

1 traveler: 1/1^2 = 1 (maximum)
2 travelers: 1/2^2 = 0.250
3 travelers: 1/3^2 = 0.111
4 travelers: 1/4^2 = 0.063

So as you add folks to your group, it tends to very quickly isolate you from meeting and interacting with the local culture and people... which I believe is one of the great pleasures of travel. Once you get to 4, it's a totally different trip.
Nice
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