The Way To The South
It’s something we’ve always spoken about. Sitting around drinking beers hypothesising how we could afford it, or after a long day in the office daydreaming about it as an escape from routine. But the decision to actually pull trigger has always eluded us for many reasons; “not enough savings” “have to finish my degree” “be good to have another year in the role” “just got a promotion” or even “I think my girlfriend would kill me if I did that”. So when we decided that 2017 was going to be the year we committed to motorbiking around South America, this time it felt like we were going to do it. We’d be leaving our comfortable lives in inner-city Auckland to do so.
Admittedly we did have a false start and booked our flights for March, for a moment it felt like we were all on, and it only took the promise of an increase in salary for Ryan as well as Cam landing a new job for a date shift be put in place. The unfortunate knock-on effect from this was that we’d lose our fourth motorbiker Jeremy, and just go down to the three amigos; Cam, Ryan and myself (or the Dirty Sur Boys as we collectively referred to ourselves as).
So what goes into planning for three months motorbiking around four countries you ask? Well, good question. And something that we’re still figuring out two weeks before departure. Part of me thinks that we have probably overlooked some key elements to such a trip, things like practicing changing a tyre or brushing up on our Spanish, and then the other part of me is saying that that is part of the adventure... Let’s ask future Harry whether he has the same outlook in four weeks time.
But generally the answer to what goes into planning seems to be acquiring kit and knowledge, and whether it’s been purchasing flights, booking insurance, or buying the bike, my credit card has been having a good workout over the last two months. It’s all exciting though, and heading in the right direction. We are now officially good to go, and with two weeks to departure we at least have all the gear (even if we have little to no idea).
I should probably let you know what our semblance of a plan is, and that there is something of one (don’t worry Mum).
Let’s start with the bikes: through some research, and references from people on adventure riding forums we came across Toby and his business in Peru “Around the Block Moto Adventures”. Here he operates a buyback scheme of selling Chinese adventure bikes to you, which he has prepped for the local roads. Then if you return it to him he’ll buy it back from you for a price reflecting it’s condition. Pretty genius, and something that made this trip feasible as shipping bikes over was going to be pricey, and buying them on the ground is apparently a bit of a nightmare with bureaucratic hurdles. So no, they’re not BMW tourers, but they will be our loyal steads for the total of three months through four countries.
The bikers: As mentioned there are three of us. Ryan, Cameron and myself (Harry). We’ve all been friends since high school, growing up together, riding bikes together, travelling overseas together, and coming back after all those years to work in the same city together. After fourteen years of friendship we know each other well, especially what winds each of us up –which will become essential ammunition on the road. We all fill useful roles on such an adventure too. Ryan who has always been tight, which naturally lead him to banking, will manage the finances. Cam, who is a fastidious analyser and has an obsession with motorcycles, will be chief mechanic and problem solver. And finally I’ll be putting my film degree and experience in production to use by documenting the trip with my compact arsenal of cameras, drones, and filming paraphernalia.
The gear; This is where we let our lack of knowledge be replaced by our ability to spend. We definitely look the part, decked out in full adventure riding gear. We were also fortunate to partner with some awesome brands who have come to the party to support our adventure with their fantastic products. So a huge thanks to those guys — Mons Royale, Nelson Rigg, and the guys at Snoworld.
The route plan: This is where things become slightly murkier (but all in the sense of adventure). At a glance we are starting in Huanuco in Peru and heading south, this takes us down through Chile, across into Bolivia, down into Argentina, then back up into Bolivia, across The Andes, and back into Peru where we ride up along the coast and loop back to Huanuco. 12,000km in three months, or at least that’s what we’re aiming for. Whilst riding, we have allowed time for stops to take in the sights, experience the culture and also do a bit of camping with our gear that embarrassingly still has it’s tags on.
So that’s us and our trip “Three Ways South”, and it really is that. We’re heading south and as long as our compass points that way we should be fine… right?