Unless you carry half your garage on your bike when you’re on a long overland trip, chances are, you’ll need parts somewhere along the way. While it’s fairly easy in most Western countries, finding a new shock or clutch in South America or Africa might prove a little trickier. While there’s always the DHL, the prices of shipping that way are extortionate. So, what are your options to get parts when you’re far away from home?
Consolidated Shipping/ Freight Forwarding
This is a tad like DHL, but much, much cheaper. The way it works is this: you ship a package to an address in the US, the company collects all packages bound for a specific country, ships them together, then repackages them again once they arrive and send them to your address. I have used MyUs and Caribbean Shipper to get packages from the US to Colombia, and everything arrived within 10 days for 1/3 of the price of DHL shipping. This doesn’t just apply to the US – simply Google “cheap shipping from A to B”, and you’ll find plenty of options available. MyUs and Caribbean Shipper are primarily aimed at expats and locals in South America who want to shop on Amazon and other American online stores but can’t do so because it hasn’t arrived to South America yet. So, they send their shopping to MyUs and similar companies and get their stuff forwarded to them.
Asking Locals and Other Riders
Locals might have relatives or friends traveling back from the US and might be able to bring down your part. If that fails, other riders are usually happy to help. Overlander Mules is a Facebook group where riders bring down bike spares and parts for other riders.
Expats often travel back and forth from their home country and their host country, and they’re usually quite happy to help out. Simply get on Facebook and type “expats in…” whichever country you happen to be at the time.