At Continental Motorcycle in the UK we are lucky enough to work with some of the worlds leading adventure riders, who use our products on their trips across the globe on some of the most difficult terrain imaginable because they know that Continental have a top range of products to meet every challenge they could meet on the way. So who better to ask when you need a bit of advice when taking the bike abroad? Well, we cant think of many people better than Kevin Sanders and the team at GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions, who very recently set off on their latest trip taking riders from London, along the Silk Route to Bangkok in Thailand.
In the latest edition of RiDE magazine Kevin explains why riding like a Brit when you are abroad is not always the best idea along with the importance of adapting your technique when getting on the bike a little further from home. For those riders who have decided to go a little further out of their comfort zone, Kevin explains that the only certainty is that the road conditions will be nothing like they are at home, with developing countries proving to be even downright dangerous. The most unpredictable and unavoidable hazards abroad by far are other road users, and as Kevin goes on to highlight the further afield you travel the more relaxed the interpretation of the highway code becomes, if it even exists at all!
Kevin explains that what you need to understand is that the untrained and untested local driver knows and often abides by the unwritten practices of the road in his or her particular country, and what may seem like an outright dangerous manoeuver to you may well be something absolutely normal to the local motorist who has perfected it over many years. If you know the rules by which motorists abide in that country, then you stand a good chance of making it through each day.
Kevin advises however that it is worth bearing in mind that these rules can change, and that preparation is the key to success. When researching their London to Beijing trip in 2010 Kevin witnessed the chaotic scenes at a Chinese roundabout from the top of the Xian Bell Tower as cyclists, riders and pedestrians threw themselves out into oncoming traffic with no one taking heed of the concept of giving way. Riders carry on through the swarm, as cars and trucks weave their way through the pack without touching the brakes, with complete faith that they will not be hit.
To find out more about the rules of the road in China, Kevin took the opportunity to take a ride in a car driven by their local guide, who he says was one of the worst drivers he has ever been in a car with. Not checking the blind spot, picking up a mobile phone and making U-turns directly in front of oncoming traffic appeared to be the norm in China, and with that in mind Kevin was able to advise riders of the dangers on their forthcoming trip and help them to adapt their style to “ride like a local”.
GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions are one of the worlds leading motorcycle travel companies, taking riders on trips across some of the most challenging terrain imaginable. You can see information from a number of their recent and forthcoming trips here. GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions use the ContiTrailAttack 2 adventure sport tyre and the TKC80 Twinduro across all their fleet bikes, which take the owners Kevin and Julia Sanders along with their staff around the world as they take riders on the trip of a lifetime.