Now available as an E-Book!

Now available as an E-Book!
Save money and a tree- get the downloadable PDF version of "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels!"

Previews from the book "Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels."


135 full-color pages of photos, stories, anecdotes, illustrations, journal pages maps and more!In addition to the four major sections on Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand I have included some back story on both my first (and unsuccessful) attempt to motorcycle through China as well as how the planning for the trip came together.I have chosen the very best of the more than 4,000 photos from the trip as well as the most humorous, moving and fascinating of the several hundred anecdotes for Southeast Asia on 2 Wheels.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

How Does Motorcycling in Southeast Asia Work?

If you are thinking about motorcycling through this part of the world, you might have some basic questions like: "what do I do if the bike breaks down?" or "will I be able to get spare parts?" or "how do I wash my clothes?"  I will try to answer some of those questions here:

Repairs, Maintenance, and Spare Parts

I was worried about this, but it ended up not being a problem.  The bike will break down, but the good news is that since most people in this part of the world travel by motorcycle, there are tons of little repair shops everywhere and they are usually pretty good.  They can fix tires, replace chains, fix electrical problems etc.  They also usually carry a wide assortment of filters, hoses and the like. 

Sometimes, you might have a breakdown that requires a spare part that can't be found in the country you are in (Laos, Cambodia...)  Usually, if the part isn't inside the engine, the handyman might just make one for you.  I had a wreck and destroyed one of the handlebar clamps as well as the plate that holds the wheel lock nut on my rear frame.  The guy at the shop just made one out of scrap metal and it worked great.

Costs of Repairs

Very cheap.  I got brake pads (parts & labor) for something like $5 USD.  Chains might cost you about $20, but you won't go through too many of those (be sure to buy rubber O-ring chains.)  I think tires were about $20.  Electrical, alignments and those types of services are usually less than $10.  In short, it's cheap so carry cash.

Personal Daily Life

Small towns in SE Asia & China have lots of repair shops and restaurants
 Usually your day will look something like this:  Start riding in the morning, stop along the way for gas and a bite to eat, get into a town and set up 'base.'  Find a guesthouse, inn, hostel or cheap hotel and take a shower.  Buy a box of laundry detergent, ($1) and wash your cargo pants and rugged shirts in the bathtub.  Lay them out to dry in the sun.  Hose off your Crocs shoes and leave those out as well.  Use your 2nd set of clothes, (I carried about 3 sets) go out into town, chat up the girls, get something to eat and a beer.  Wake up the next morning, your clothes are dry.  Hit the road again...


Stay connected to your family and friends back home.  There is email all throughout China and SE Asia (sometimes in smaller Chinese towns, access is tough though.)  Bring a good bike lock from home.  The ones you will find in China are cheap and rust VERY quickly and fall apart.  ASK your guesthouse if they will let you park it in a gated area - usually they will.  Sometimes they even let me park it in the kitchen!  Keep it locked:  Loop the chain through the back frame, not the tire, and lock it to something iron or concrete.  Make sure you bike is too much of a pain in the ass to steal!  Keep your goods near you - especially your passport and important papers.  That being said, I never once had a problem.

1 comment:

luke perry said...

You will need an open mind, and a sense of adventure we promise you one of the best times of your life.