Motorcycle Touring with The Bear
By Peter Thoeming ‘The Bear’
Yes, it’s beginning to feel as if this virus thing is going to last forever – but it’s not. One day we’ll be free to travel the world again. It’s probably not a bad idea to do some planning for now, and let’s face it, it’s fun too.
Some reports are saying that when the Novel Coronavirus barriers come down, air fares will go up – through the roof, so to speak. In the light of that, how about considering some relatively local overseas destinations? I’ve covered a little of New Zealand; let’s take a look at Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Sabah. They are all three wonderful motorcycle venues, and what’s even better is that they all have different things to offer.
Still relatively unexplored by Australian motorcyclists, Sri Lanka has a lot going for it. Not only is the colonial architecture outstanding, but the surfing is great and the food is spectacular. The roads through Sri Lanka’s central highlands are sometimes excellent and sometimes… not so much, but the corners and the views of wilderness, tea plantations and chances to see wild animals are brilliant.
I recently rode through Sri Lanka on a Royal Enfield 350 with my friend Michael Rohan Sourjah of Serendib Motorcycling Adventures and recommend him highly.
Vietnam has – or had, before the virus – become a very popular motorcycle destination for Australians. There are several tour operators, all with much the same offer and pricing, and I suspect they are all equally good. The bikes are small, often Honda semi-automatic scooters which are just right for Vietnam’s limited roads and heavy traffic. Just remember to blow your horn a lot and you’ll have a great time.
Sabah, one of the Malaysian states in the island of Borneo, has a similar environment to Vietnam but could hardly be more different otherwise. It’s a wealthy place with large oil reserves, and as a result has brilliant roads. The various crossings of the Crocker Range, the backbone of the state, provide wonderful views and friendly locals who will be happy to pose for your camera.
After two trips on well-used but also well-maintained Aprilias with many-times UK champion motocrosser Bryan Wade of Borneo Biking Adventures (https://borneobikingadventures.com/) I can tell you that Sabah is a place that will amaze and impress you with the variety of the riding, the food and the various other attractions. They even have the world’s largest and smelliest flower.
Any of these places is worth exploring and you may even find me there; it’s where I’ll be going when the world is free again.