Regardless of whether you’re a motorcycle mechanics genius, a useless newbie like me, or somewhere in the middle, you probably know your bike and you’re planning to take some tools and spares for your long overland trip. However, it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality no matter how good you are. So what happens if you burn your clutch in the middle of a rainforest track in Cuba, your chain snaps while crossing the Congo, or you’re hanging out in a Mongolian yurt village and realize your shock is done? It can happen, but there’s always a solution to everything. Here are some ways of getting parts to remote places.
Wherever you are, there’s WiFi someplace, and you need to get there. If you can, get someone with a truck to help you transport your bike to the nearest village or town. If you can’t, walk or hitchhike to the nearest village or town and find a way to truck your bike there, too. Worst case scenario, leave your bike with a friendly local, a local garage, local hostel – whatever you can find.
Once you and your bike are somewhere where you can get WiFi, it’s time to figure out how you can get the part you need sent to you. If you can just order it and DHL or FedEx it, great – relax and wait for it to arrive. But if you’re somewhere the DHL doesn’t go or is ridiculously expensive, you’ll have to get creative.
Almost every country in the world will have an expat community, and most expat communities are quite happy to help stranded travelers. Can you get an expat to give you their address in a bigger city so you can have the part sent to them, then pick it up or get it sent to your location via local mail service, a bus, a train? You can easily find expat communities on Facebook by simply typing in “expats in X country.” You never know, you might even find expat riders who may be able to deliver the part you need straight to you.
Mule It Over
If you can’t find any expats willing to help, try fellow riders. Hop on Overlander Mules and see if anybody is traveling to your location and could bring the part down with them. That burnt clutch in Cuba? We got it relayed and muled over to Panama by riders crossing Central America, all thanks to Facebook connections and groups.
Shop and Ship
While in Colombia, I needed some stuff sent down from the US, but again, the DHL services are expensive, and so are import taxes. To minimize cost, I used MyUs shipping service which is, in essence, consolidate shipping. You buy the part you need, send it to a US address to MyUs, they pick it up and send it to wherever you are along with other people’s packages, then distribute locally. MyUs is just one example. There are plenty of similar companies offering this service worldwide.