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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...
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Arizona USA



Poll: (More) a biker or a traveler? Or a 4WDer or a traveler? (vote only one, pls)
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(More) a biker or a traveler? Or a 4WDer or a traveler? (vote only one, pls)

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  #16  
Old 10 May 2012
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Like John above I'm old enough to have been biking for more years than I care to remember. I've done quite a number of long(ish) trips not only by bike but also by other methods - car /van / 4x4, backpacking, fly-drive etc but over the long run it's the bike trips that stand out. It's not all been wine and roses - some of them have been disasters, but they've been memorable.

Usually if I'm planning a trip my first decision will be whether I can use a bike. Often there will be a reason why I can't such as there's four of us so a car would be more sensible or I've got a month and I'm going to Japan so it's going to have to be a plane but for quite a few a bike is the weapon of choice.

Which bike I choose has been a decades long game of La Ronde. At the moment I'm in the part of the cycle that says smaller and lighter is better than bigger and faster so I'm planning a downsize from my current hard luggage 600 single to a soft luggage 250. I've been round this cycle at least three times before though and toured on everything from two up on a Honda C50 (not a good idea) to a GoldWing and back again. At the moment I'm planning a Eurotrip on a 70's Honda 400/4 (small and light) but longer term there's a US coast to coast with my wife on an 1800 GoldWing on the horizon so that may be everything coming round full circle again.

Quite why I should be so bike centric is something I've puzzled over for many years. I know a number of people who think the same as me and others who think that long distance bike trips are more torture than travel. I can rationalise it and say that it's cheaper than four wheels and gives you more freedom than backpacking but it's equally possible to say that it's the worst of all worlds - no weather protection or security and you're still stuck with a large lump of metal subject to legal requirements. No real answer but I'll be clicking the traveler on a bike box.
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  #17  
Old 10 May 2012
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Just to really split hairs, aren't "Bikers" blokes with tattoos who wear studded leather jackets and own cruisers? If you answer yes to that one, would the choice rider or motorcylist result in a different answer in the pole?

I think the answer for most people here is both. I picked Motorcycle traveller because I aren't into riding in small fast circles or to coffee shops as much as I am to ambling about the back roads to see what's there, but if anyone has free tickets to the Moto GP or wants to drink tea and talk bikes I'll do that too! I don't even think the choice of bike narrows it down, I think we all move from one to the other and take our preferences and knowledge with us.

Andy
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  #18  
Old 10 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Just to really split hairs, aren't "Bikers" blokes with tattoos who wear studded leather jackets and own cruisers? If you answer yes to that one, would the choice rider or motorcylist result in a different answer in the pole?
Andy
Definately not me, I'm not into 'lifestyle' biking but have to say I thought the traveller with bike category was aimed at backpackers (nothing against them - I do it myself from time to time) who rent bikes when they get to their destination.

It is difficult to pin down, personally, I'd never consider an overland journey by any other means than by bike but at the same time I need to travel and have limited time, budget and family to consider so often fly off to destinations that I couldn't possibly get to on a bike in the time frame. Bike trips are about the journey not the destination and it would be a shame not to dedicate sufficient time to them. Not to mention the weeks/months of preparing the bike and planning.
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  #19  
Old 10 May 2012
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
Definately not me, I'm not into 'lifestyle' biking but have to say I thought the traveller with bike category was aimed at backpackers (nothing against them - I do it myself from time to time) who rent bikes when they get to their destination.

It is difficult to pin down, personally, I'd never consider an overland journey by any other means than by bike but at the same time I need to travel and have limited time, budget and family to consider so often fly off to destinations that I couldn't possibly get to on a bike in the time frame. Bike trips are about the journey not the destination and it would be a shame not to dedicate sufficient time to them. Not to mention the weeks/months of preparing the bike and planning.
You already mentionned the term I had in mind from the very beginning which goes beyond these categories and which is common place for all us here...No, those bikers are not interested in HUBB, since (fortunately) modesty is a benchmark here.
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  #20  
Old 10 May 2012
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biker curious

very interesting question! I've wondered this myself quite a bit about the make up of folks on these forums that I mostly just lurk around.

In my mind this place seems to be more travelers on bikes compared to ADVrider with seems to be more bikers. Of course there are gradations to each.

I'm definitely a traveler on a bike. I backpacked around with surfboards looking for waves to ride for years after college. In fact I never would have bought a motorcycle without the thought of long-term travel in mind, and Africa in particular. Too dangerous - I'll ride mountain bikes for kicks on two wheels is what I always figured.

I've had a bike for about two years now and just done short trips of 10 days or less and I have to say that I have surely moved further towards the 'biker' end of the spectrum. Its hard for this not to happen I reckon, both with the riding skills and learning how to work on the bike. Its all just loads of fun.
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  #21  
Old 11 May 2012
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I was definitely a biker before I was a traveller... I caught the bike bug at 18 after getting a job in a biker/rock bar.

In my early twenties after watching E&C whine their way around the world, I thought "WTF are they whinging about". "It looks so much fun".

So I packed up my bike with my now EX and we blasted our way around Western Europe having a grand old time..

Now I'm more of a traveller than I am a biker I think.

As I get older, I'm finding myself doing more non-bike travelling. I think that's because I've done quite a lot on a bike and now I feel like I've missed out on other ways to see the world.. I love bike travel but it certainly has it's negatives too.

I back packed in India at the beginning of the year and I'm off to the Yukon in June using a Canoe to head down the river for a couple of months.

However, there will ALWAYS be a bike in my garage, ready to go !! It gets under your skin.
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  #22  
Old 11 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post

As I get older, I'm finding myself doing more non-bike travelling. I think that's because I've done quite a lot on a bike and now I feel like I've missed out on other ways to see the world..
I back packed in India at the beginning of the year and I'm off to the Yukon in June using a Canoe to head down the river for a couple of months.

.
Just wait until 'SAGA' start sending you holiday 'offers', I think they may be coach and cruise ships, not 'backpacking' or canoe !
I use the bike, but for far off places I fly, then rent a bike, saves shipping.
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  #23  
Old 11 May 2012
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Quite why I should be so bike centric is something I've puzzled over for many years. I know a number of people who think the same as me and others who think that long distance bike trips are more torture than travel. I can rationalise it and say that it's cheaper than four wheels and gives you more freedom than backpacking but it's equally possible to say that it's the worst of all worlds - no weather protection or security and you're still stuck with a large lump of metal subject to legal requirements. No real answer but I'll be clicking the traveler on a bike box.
Trying to apply logic as to why you would travel on a motorbike is a lost cause and really the reason that I put myself down as a 'biker'.

As I've said before I wouldn't contemplate an overland journey by any other means. Apart from the pleasure of riding the bike I like the idea that you can't take everything with you and choosing what you should take and how you carry it is all part of the fun. I also like the fact that you have to be much more aware of the climate and make provision for any changes of climate along your route - leaving for Africa from the UK in January needs some thought.

Security is an issue although in my experience 4x4 drivers become complacent and tend to be targetted by the professional thieves. Bikes and their luggage can often be hidden away (in hotel rooms, for example).

I have met travellers who have acquired a bike thinking that it will give them more freedom to go where they want but have hated the experience for all the reasons I would list as positives (and crazy local drivers).

I think you have to be a biker to the core to overturn the logic that says bikes in many instances are the worst possible choice.
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  #24  
Old 11 May 2012
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Originally Posted by palace15 View Post
Just wait until 'SAGA' start sending you holiday 'offers', I think they may be coach and cruise ships, not 'backpacking' or canoe !
I use the bike, but for far off places I fly, then rent a bike, saves shipping.
Makes sense... It's the cost that drove me away from using the bike so much.

Shipping and fuel costs have just gone crazy.
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  #25  
Old 12 May 2012
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post

Security is an issue although in my experience 4x4 drivers become complacent and tend to be targetted by the professional thieves. Bikes and their luggage can often be hidden away (in hotel rooms, for example).
.
I can say with hand on heart that I have only personally come across one bike traveller having something stolen in the 3rd world. And that was a £300 Helmet left on his bike. I've never ever had anything taken in South America or Africa and I only use soft bags.

However, I have met LOADS of 4x4 travellers who have had their windows smashed and things stolen etc. Literally twenty more or so.

I'm not sure if it's a case of complacency of the 4X4 drivers thinking their car is thief proof or more of a fact that a big 'pimped' up overland vehicle is just a flashing Neon light shouting "Rob me, I'm full of loot"...
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  #26  
Old 12 May 2012
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Beyond the question of “more a biker” or “more a traveller”, which does not try at all to put anyone in a box or raise the differences among us but show the diversity of approaches and different ways each one followed to get here, I've thought from the beginning that OVERLANDER would a broader term where most would fit, since it proves hard to choose. I mean overlander in the sense of preference to travel while touching the ground and at a natural pace, so that you can see how crossing a mountain chain takes you to a different people, race and creed, how a river makes a different landscape and culture and how a desert separates two former empires… For me, it's an amazing feeling. And it applies to biking, cycling, 4WDing and IMHO of course to backpacking if you decide to go overland. It does not mean banning flying, we all do it, but I refer to it mainly as a contrast to a South East Asian trip with 8 flights in less than 3 weeks or an organized one with 3 days in Bangkok, 2 days in Hong Kong and a week in Bali (sounds like a honeymoon).

And Why a bike?, with the bad things of every world (as backofbeyond mentions)? Apart from the usual reasons as love riding, freedom you feel, closer contact to local people without barriers, etc, I’d say because of two factors: Improvisation and Challenge. It often forces you to change plans (and quite often that’s where the fun lies) and if you are stubborn to stick to the plans, then it’s challenging, with some sort of stamina getting out for body when you have to be at the ferry, it rains, it’s dark and you decide to ride (or drive). For some reason, suffering is also pleasing for many, a mixture of euphoria and relief, by contrast to an organized cruise / tour where all fits to schedule which may become too dull.

Just how I (think I) see it.
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  #27  
Old 12 May 2012
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I've gone though phases.

Started doing backroad twisties, track days, commuting, and now I'm doing travel riding.
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  #28  
Old 15 May 2012
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I hope the bloke in the car and 4x4 guy get on, they seem to be rather on their own!



Andy
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  #29  
Old 15 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post

Now I'm more of a traveller than I am a biker I think.

As I get older, I'm finding myself doing more non-bike travelling. I think that's because I've done quite a lot on a bike and now I feel like I've missed out on other ways to see the world.. I love bike travel but it certainly has it's negatives too.

I back packed in India at the beginning of the year and I'm off to the Yukon in June using a Canoe to head down the river for a couple of months.
You're getting there; finding new, to you, ways of travelling.


Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
Overland.
And Why a bike?
Yes, hence your poll was perplexing to me when I first read it, and it remains so, hence I haven't voted.
While it has generated a reasonable discussion it is far too restrictive to my own range of interests which amount to any form of getting from A to B.
For instance, I have absolutely no interest in bungee jumping because it is not a means of transport - but skiiing, trekking, snow shoeing, canoeing, sailing, 2 wheels, 4 wheels, flying by all sorts of airframes etc etc, just bring them on!

Overland, oversea, overair - all good for me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I hope the bloke in the car and 4x4 guy get on, they seem to be rather on their own!



Andy
Yes, the relatively low amount of input about 4x4 interests is a limitation of this particular website; there was a makeover recently, and I guess that has included some feedback from the 4 wheeler community (which was requested in an earlier thread) about what should be in that section; clearly though, the website remains specifically aimed at two wheeled motor transport - that could put off some people who when casting around in the internet for 4x4 information come across this site and move on, quickly - we have all done it when browsing for new information; first impressions count, sometimes with unfortunate results.
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Last edited by Walkabout; 15 May 2012 at 19:42. Reason: spelling mainly
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  #30  
Old 15 May 2012
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Remembering back to when, and I still can, I first got a bike so that I could go where I wanted, when I wanted. So it was to be the means of travel.
But then I got hooked on them! What amazing things they are!
Now I still want to, and do, go places, but don't enjoy it half so much if I'm not on the bike.
If I hadn't got hooked on bikes, ( there have been over 40 of them) I'd probably have had more money to "travel" but I'd have just been one of millions in the queuse at airports.
So I have a bike to travel, but enjoying travel on the bike has become the main thing.
I don't care if anybody says I'm a biker or a motorcyclist, but I reckon anybody who says they are either of those to things, but don't use their bike to go places, is something else.
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