Common Tread

Video: Big adventure, small bikes

Sep 21, 2016

If you're saving up to buy the BMW R 1200 GS you need to embark on your adventure tour of South America, and wondering why your goal always seems so distant, maybe you should try this approach, instead.

Raph Mayaud and Joel Hodder, two guys from Europe, flew to Chile, bought two 150 cc Hondas and rode them to some of the continent's most iconic and beautiful sights: Machu Picchu, the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, and the North Yungas Road in Bolivia, commonly called "the most dangerous road in the world," to name a few. 

Of course the reason I know about their adventure is because they made a beguiling little video about it, which was chosen as a GoPro Awards Official Selection.

They named the bikes Xena and Kenny (OK, I love everything about the trip these guys did, but I'm going to say naming your motorcycles is optional) and when it came time to go home, they decided to ship them back to Europe and ride them some more, rather than sell them. Would they have gone faster on big, expensive adventure-tourers? Undoubtedly. Would they have been more comfy? Surely. Did gear fall off in the dirt because they didn't have $1,000 worth of aluminum side cases? At least once in the video.

But I also know this: The stories I've both heard and told about rides done on less-than-ideal motorcycles tend to be more interesting than the ones where everything went right. And the trips that keep getting put off until they never happen at all... those trips yield no stories at all.