I’m planning on doing a trip somewhere remote and adventurous, travelling via motorbike. I’ve been pondering it for ages and I’m about 75% of the way to deciding to make a real plan. I’m thinking either Northern India or Mongolia. Taking a leaf out of the Long Way Round/Down’s book, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do and what better way to travel than on the back of a shiny, two-wheeled chariot!
I wrote a post a while ago about driving around Scotland in a van. There’s a specific line in that post where I bounce the rather romantic notion of driving around with the ‘wind in your hair’, around. I want to talk more about that, because it’s a feeling I do truly, and wholeheartedly enjoy on some primitive, animalistic level. – There’s just something intoxicating about speed and the feeling of the atmosphere flashing past your face at such a pace that it pushes your hair back and makes your cheeks ripple and flap like you the star of one of those overpriced skydiving videos.
But we can go one better than a van (several better in fact), motorbikes. What kind of self-respecting, road going savage doesn’t like motorbikes? I’ve ridden a bike for about 10 years now and I’d compare a good bike to something like an orgasm with wheels. It the only spot outside of a fist fight where you get to feel like Mad Max, James Bond and the Terminator all rolled into one.
Travelling via motorbike is (and for good reason) a favourite among adventure travellers (despite being a distinct non-favourite among travel insurers..), and for good reason: fast, convenient and fun as hell. The point is, I can’t think of a better way to travel than on the back of a motorbike and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
Still, the insurance companies aren’t raining on everyone’s parade without good reason, a downside to travelling via motorbike (that our mothers I’m sure, will continue to remind us of) is the fact that bikes can be dangerous. Given you’re literally straddling a motor with wheels, it’s not really any wonder things can get a little hairy sometimes, especially among inexperienced riders. So my advice, keep your mother happy and gear up with the best boots money can buy, a kickass jacket and the most expensive motorcycle helmet you can afford. Even if you have to pick your gear up second hand, like a good friend of mine did recently from Brick Lane Market (one of the best London markets for things like motorcycle gear). Mother knows best after all, better safe than sorry.
As for the bike itself. I’ve always wanted to get my greasy hands on a British Royal Enfield from India. While I was in India earlier this year, I did some digging and found I could grab one of these drool-inducing classics (through some local contacts I have) for only a couple of thousand dollars. That’s a bargain!
While I’m still working my way through the ideas on the journey, here are three really good recommendations for anyone looking to do a bike adventure themselves. All I hope to get to one day.
Christchurch to the Coast
Head down to my neck of the world and the open roads of New Zealand. More amazing landscape, mountains and fjords then you can poke a Hobbit at. Start in Christchurch and zoom all the way to Queenstown before shooting to the West Coast and the coastal highways.
Viva Revolution! Tread (get it.. get it..) in the tracks of Che Guevara’s famous Motorcycle tour through South America. Starting in Chile before touring the Andes as you bounce between Argentina and Chile while you absorb the untamed and reckless beauty of Patagonia’s snow-topped volcanoes, mountains and Glaciers.
I’m sensing a theme here. If you’re not sick of mountains yet, try one of Europe’s best rides, which is in Southern Norway. The Lysebotn road is more twisted than a Rob Zombie movie, including 30 hairpin bends and more switchbacks then the 2016 US election! Get amongst it!