Whether you’re traveling solo or not, meeting local riders is one of the best things on the trip. They’ll know the most interesting routes, best mechanics, ways to get spare parts, best places to eat and grab a beer, and might even show you around their area. So here’s how to meet local riders when you’re traveling.
Seriously: just wave. A few months back, I found myself floating along with busy traffic on a German autobahn somewhere near Munich; I knew I needed a gas station, but there wasn’t one for twenty, fifty, a hundred kilometers – just a sea of German cars and a bleak grey highway. So when I spotted a motorcyclist in the next lane, I waved; after getting a wave back, I pointed at my tank. The other rider nodded and got into my lane, eventually leading me off the highway and into a gas station in a small town. It turned out he was a local bike mechanic and traveler. We had some coffee and a fun chat, I got some gas, and Germany suddenly seemed much friendlier.
Flag Them Down
If you see someone and you’d like to chat with them, just flag them down. This is how we met Robin, a Guatemalan rider, a couple of years back – just saw him on the road, got intrigued, and flagged him down to stop. We’re still in touch.
Social media can be priceless when it comes to meeting local riders. I met Senad, a Bosnian rider, via Facebook, by simply typing in “Sarajevo motorcycle club”. Generally, local riders love to meet up and show off their country or city.
Tell people they have nice bikes, cool helmets (pretty Rok straps, elegant spokes…whatever) – that’s an instant ice breaker. When chasing Rally Dakar in Peru, I felt a little intimidated approaching riders, so I decided to ask them to sign my tank instead of just saying hi. Nobody ever declined, and I made some friends.
Featured image: Dakar rider Sara Garcia signing my tank