Australian Motorcyclist

JOURNEYS

YOU’VE PROBABLY read my rabbitings about organised bike tours; I am a late convert, but like most late converts I’m a fervent one. Now let me rabbit on about a few different aspects of this kind of travel.

Many of the people I talk (and listen) to are keen to do some overseas travelling by bike. Maybe they had one or more touring holidays when they were young and are keen to re-live the pleasure of getting up in the morning and looking forward to a day of riding new roads in new places; maybe they’d never had the opportunity to do that, and would like to sample it. As with so many other things we’d like to do, however, there’s always something in the way. This can be crippling: I don’t have figures for Australia but in 2016, “Americans left 662 million vacation days unused… roughly 1.8 million years” (Lifehacker website). That’s fine, I guess, if you love your job more than life itself.

Do you? I thought not.

So what’s keeping Australia’s motorcyclists from getting out overseas and riding those new roads and seeing those new sights, not to mention meeting new people and getting Delhi Belly from unfamiliar foods (just kidding)?

Well one thing is perhaps not ‘fear’, but uncertainty. What’s it like ‘over there’? Is it clean, is it safe, is it healthy? And you can’t blame anyone for that. After all, we live on a pretty much socially homogeneous continent. Travel in Australia is seldom going to take you out of your comfort zone (depending on where you go!), unlike a trip to Peru or even Italy.

But – and you knew this was coming, didn’t you – there is a way of overcoming this. Go with a tour operator. If they’re good – and I have yet to strike a bad one – they will make sure you get to see all the things worth seeing, even if they’re tucked away in some small valley somewhere; they’ll make sure you get a chance to try the local food, even if it doesn’t look remotely like what you usually eat (and they’ll ensure that you don’t get any bugs from it); they’ll take you on roads you’d never find for yourself, no matter how many travel guide books you read. And they’ll introduce you to people who will widen your horizon, even if it’s just a little bit.

Another advantage of relying on a tour operator is that they know the best seasons to visit places. Nobody can control the weather, but there are times when it’s more likely to rain or snow

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