When is the right moment to do a RTW ride?

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by DoctorMaddix, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. DoctorMaddix

    DoctorMaddix Adventurer

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    Hello fellow adv riders,

    for the past couple of months I've been thinking about doing an RTW ride at some point in my life. To give you a short impression of myself: I just started going to uni about 1 year ago. Before that I spent 7 months in New Zealand, travelling (by bike) and working. I've been riding bikes for 4 years now.

    I know that I'm not going to do such a big trip in the near future (2-3 years) as I will have to save money and gain more offroad riding experience. But I have a question for the experienced riders here, that have already completed really long trips. When is the right moment in life to do such a trip? I know everyone's life is different, and it is not easy to generalize, maybe you can give me some tips and point me in the right direction.
    How much experience (riding, maintenance etc.) should I have when I want to ride through countries Mongolia or Peru or Argentina? How did you feel before and after your first RTW trip? What would you have done different from the start looking back at it?
    I don't even know where to start :rofl.
    I also started listening to Adventure Rider Radio and find that it really helps to listen to experienced travellers.

    I hope this topic fits in this section of the forum.
    Cheers, Doc.
    #1
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I didn't either. I just upped and went, contrary to the sorta plan. Back in 1970 we knew no better. I was 22.
    I only went UK to India (and back).
    Some roads I took are no longer possible or strongly advised against, but the Soviet Union is gone and a whole world it there in its place.

    I had a mechanical engineering background, so that wasn't a problem - I would advise getting sorted on the basics, fixing tyres will become a regular thing probably. I would choose something field fixable, like a steel frame that can be welded anywhere, even if you can't. Repairable, re-buildable, that sort of thing.
    Unless you can just have a new one airlifted down.
    Maybe get an old knacker and strip it down and rebuild it, see how it works. Experiential learning - better under controlled conditions. When walking away is an option.
    You can carry the manuals on your phone, for as long as that works. You can ask for help, if you have coverage. At some point you may need to fix it yourself, with what you have.
    Something light, an excess of power is the last thing you need. Fuel consumption is much more important.

    I found the people I met helpful, generous and inquisitive. Stop in the middle of a apparently deserted mountain pass or dessert transit stage and people arrive within minutes. Standing around, watching. If its meal time, they'll likely offer you a meal.
    I never had a moment that I thought I was being ripped off or in real danger (except getting caught up an a religious fanatics rampage in Kabul).
    I met some amazing people. Saw incredible things and sights, both delightful and horrifying.

    Don't expect to glide through customs\immigration. Have "lots and lots" of passport sized photos. And all the jabs - both for your long term health and because some frontiers will be closed without the right piece of official paper. This may vary after you depart.
    Some frontier police are an exception to the nice people rule. A European was shot at a frontier a few days before I crossed. Tense, nervous...

    The big plus and the greatest drawback to doing all this is that you will be changed.
    Much "normal" 1st world shit will be exposed for the bollocks that it is. Your tolerance of it may not be as high as it is now.
    #2
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  3. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    So either when you're too young to worry, or old enough to be confident.

    Crap, I'm stuck in the middle. :lol3
    #3
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  4. motoreiter

    motoreiter Long timer

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    Hi DocMaddix, welcome aboard. I think that most people will respond to your general question "when is the right moment" with the response "the first opportunity you have, because there might not be another". In my view, the main factors should be whether you have enough time and money--if yes to both, no reason to wait.

    Regarding riding and mechanical experience: You certainly need a bit of experience with both, but you can get much of it from your initial rides, reading some good books and sites like this and HUBB. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend reading this book: https://www.amazon.com/Proficient-M...=1500695598&sr=8-1&keywords=proficient+riding The author distills decades of riding experience into a couple of hundred pages of riding tips; I learned a lot from it and was able to avoid picking up some bad habits as I started out.

    For mechanical experience, in my view the main thing is to know your bike, and how to prep it for the trip. If you prep the bike correctly, it will need much less maintenance. To prep the bike and learn about various issues with your model, read the relevant subforums on this site; again, I learned a lot. I have very little mechanical aptitude or experience, but have prepped my bikes well and have not had any significant problems when I took them across the US, across Russia, Road of Bones, Mongolia, etc.
    #4
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  5. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

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    In practical terms go before you are married with kids, have a mortgage although you can rent the house out to pay it and many do or before you start a career that requires you to have a permanent work record. There is no upper or lower age limit but who knows where the world will be in a few years so as soon as possible really.

    Have a read of other people's ride reports both here and on other forums to get an idea of routes, time scale and seasons for travelling and opinions on what bike, although with that question ask 10 travellers and get 11 answers.
    I suggest you go to a travellers meeting and meet some people who have already travelled, they will be full of encouragement and practical information, take a look here on what is happening near you, there is a list of events on the right hand side.

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/
    #5
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  6. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm glad I've never had the ambition to ride round the world, I like just doing bits of it - cherry picking.

    Since you're in Germany, I suggest a quick spin down to Turkey and back, just to get the feel for it.

    As to when, that's a difficult question to answer. As Mark says, sooner rather than later. I regret not having visited Syria years ago.
    #6
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  7. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    Aleppo used to be my favorite City, all gone, such a shame, I would say the same for Afghanistan


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #7
  8. moilami

    moilami pr0 n00b

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    At once when you can :lol3
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  9. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Me too. I even went Turkey -> Iran on my way to India 10 yrs ago, and thought about visiting Syria as well, would've been totally possible but too much hurry to get to India. Of course no-one probably knew back then, how bad things would go in Syria. Actually there was a guided group from Finland, who did a Trans-Africa tour and they went through Syria in late 2010. Sort of 'last chance' although they did not know it..
    #9
  10. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I was in Urfa in '04 on my bike, visited Harran just 10 miles from Syria. Should have kept going, probably didn't even need a carnet?
    #10
  11. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    I travelled in my 20s, for about 10 years, process of earning and saving, then traveling, so my RTW took from 75-82, I then went to college and got qualified in a profession that was Ok with a mid thirties in a junior position.

    Bit different now, less easy to live frugally and still save money, less easy to enter decent jobs, high rents and high college fees.


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    #11
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  12. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    And, of course, Horizons Unlimited. The founders, Grant & Susan Johnson, did just that. Although it took them 11 years. Per the site, they "ride slowly".

    They rode a modified R80GS - which wouldn't be a bad bike to do it on today, if a reasonable copy can be found. Generally fixable at roadside and airheads are known by the majority of mechanics around the world.

    Their bike - custom luggage. Not sure who the guy in the pic is.

    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I wonder what it costs to go round the world. $50 a day? 30,000 miles at 200 miles a day = 150 days. Plus shipping. $15,000 all told?
    Or maybe double that.
    #13
  14. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Costs really depend on a lot of things.

    One of the most important factors is your route plan, and where do you spend considerable amounts of time. I remember I could stay 5-7 days in some parts of tropical Asia for the price, that I´d normally spend in just 1 day in Western Europe. But even that (price per day) for any given area, may depend a lot on your own choices. Still, most "western" countries are expensive.

    Shipping also costs serious money, but once again, it is very hard to give any exact amounts. These days I would budget probably around 1000-2000 USD to ship a medium-sized motorcycle across an ocean by air; across the Atlantic may be closer to one grand than two, and across the Pacific might well come close to 2K. I would avoid doing it by sea, because if sea freight gets delayed, you may be stuck somewhere for weeks (and that may not be cheap either).
    #14
  15. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    You could do it in sections, if you don't mind leaving the bike in a foreign country for a while.
    #15
  16. KLEINE

    KLEINE oo

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    #16
  17. kito

    kito Been here awhile

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    I read mondo enduro and though wow I like the idea of that but I don't have a bike a licence and I don't know anyone that would want to do something like riding around the world . Well I though I best get a licence so I did direct access for a full licence . I then went to the NEC motorbike show to see what I would like. At the show I met Sam manicom . Nice guy gave me some advice to look at a site horizons unlimited . I came away thinking if that guy could do it solo then so could I. Fast forward 12 months I had a xt600 had done a weekends camping trip on my bike and though that will do and set off on a 14 month trip around the world
    #17
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  18. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    :clap:clap:clap:clap
    #18