Showing posts from July, 2010

The what I learned posts; Driving in Latin America

One of my earlier blog posts was on driving in Latin America, I don't have much to add, so here is the link .  In that post, dated March 25, I made the observation that despite the apparent anarchy (strike that, there is nothing apparent about it)  I saw almost no accidents.  So I did a bit web research to see if my impressions were accurate.  According to W.H.O. statistics (Abbot and Costello,  please! Be quiet!), the number of deaths due to car collisions is a lot lower in Latin American countries than in the USA.  I was a bit surprised to see that the USA was not the most dangerous country to drive in, even though it has the largest overall number of deaths by car, the USA drops to 15th of 49 nations when the measure is adjusted for population (the US had 17.5 car deaths per million population). See for yourself , and oh, don't drive in Hungary.   The deadliest South American nation listed is Paraguay at number 18 or 13.2 deaths per million.  To my surprise, Canada is

The what I learned posts; You can take it with you.

Well some of it anyway; Once you have your bike it should be fitted with luggage.  I am totally satisfied with the Givi three bag set up I had on the KTM.   The de rigueur adventure look requires those boxy aluminum 'I made it myself in shop class' cases.  If you like em, more power to ya, but I don't and here's why. Square metal edges can do a lot of damage to whatever they hit (including el piloto). Lid style covers means the whole bag needs to be emptied to get whatever is on the bottom.  This is important, because you need to pack the heavy stuff (tools) on the bottom, and they may be what you need access to most often. They are generally not easily removed from the bike.  This is important because you may need to remove the bags to get your bike unstuck, get your bike through a narrow doorway into the hotel lobby, or be able to take your bags into your room.  All three of my Givis are off the bike using one key in less than a minute.

The what I learned posts; Choose Your Weapon

If you are going to ride to South America, almost any motorcycle will do, but some will do better than others.  Where are you going, and what would you like to see?  Central and South America have good roads and bad roads, mountains, plains and deserts.  Some areas are densely populated, and in some you may travel for hundreds of miles without seeing a soul.  If you are going all the way, you will be racking up many odometer digits, you will encounter every kind of road, including no road, just about every kind of weather short of a blizzard, and you will be gone for months.  We gringos lean towards bigger is better, and too much that is never enough.   Choose a bike that is light, 650 cc or less, has excellent suspension, some form of wind protection, can go a minimum of 300 km (200 miles) on a full tank, runs OK on regular gas, has simple maintenance requirements  and long service intervals.  Low speed handling in tight spots is going to be more important than extended high speed