Blogs

After 10.000km through Africa, I have written a bike review about my Honda CRF250L. You can read it here...
Login

10 myths about motorcycle travel debunked

Season 5: Destination Unknown

15 August 2021

When sharing your motorcycle adventures with all its ups and downs, you are bound to receive lots of advice and comments about how you should have done things differently. In The Netherlands we have a saying ‘De beste stuurlui staan aan wal’, which can be translated as ‘the best captains stand ashore’. 

Receiving good advice is fantastic, but not if it discourages aspiring adventure riders to have their own! That is why I want to demystify 10 of those commonly made comments about what you should and should not do when you go on a motorcycle adventure! 

1. You need at least a 600 or 700cc motorcycle for a round-the-world trip! 

I used to ride a 800cc Ducati when living in The Netherlands. Definitely not a bike to go around the world with! I started my around-the-world travel with a 400cc Himalayan and later I traveled around Europe on a Honda CB500x. Now I am riding a small Honda CRF250L, named Savannah, and what a great time we have together! 

I bought the Honda CRF250L because it was a reliable bike, perfect for off-road riding and it was the cheapest bike in the shop.I believe that you don’t need an expensive big motorcycle to go on an adventure. After all, it’s not the size of an engine that will bring the adventure, it’s the adventurous spirit in you that does all that! 

When you prefer to cruise on tarmac, you might prefer a larger bike. All I can say is, choose the bike that works best for you and the type of journey you are planning. There are lots of bikers going around the world on a 1250cc BMW GS too. Just follow your dream and ride the motorcycle that you want (and can afford to) ride! 

2. You need Dakar Rally Rider skills

Yes, I am addicted to dirt road riding, but do you remember when I took a dirt road for the first time? Or how I dealt with some bad road conditions in Asia? My off road riding skills were absolutely atrocious. In fact, I had never ridden roads like these before when I started my motorcycle travel! Now, after several years of riding, I am comfortable and can handle a lot more challenging dirt roads than the first ones I rode in Asia. 

In Africa I encountered a lot of deep sand sections. Riding in deep sand is absolutely terrifying to say the least. Everything that you’ve learned regarding riding on tarmac, goes out of the window as soon as you hit sand. 

The perfect riding technique for sand is not rocket science though. Many say that you have to stand on the pegs, lean back a little and give it full throttle. That is great advice, but at the same time, it’s terrible advice! Telling a novice dirt rider to just do what the Dakar Rally riders are doing, is simply not realistic. There is only one way to become a good rider in sand and that’s experience! 

There is absolutely no shame in going slow through sand, to stick your legs out and just ‘peddle’ through it. You might get stuck sometimes, but that’s just good practice to learn how to get your bike out of sand again. The more experience you get, the more you learn about how much your bike can wobble and move under you without falling. Gaining that confidence in the bike and your own skills is essential to become a better rider. 

3. Guidelines are not written in stone 

One of the guidelines for riding up a steep road is to stand on the pegs and give it full throttle (again!). Momentum is your friend in those situations, they say. Stopping on a steep section will make your life very difficult as continuing after that is much harder. The heavier the bike you ride, the harder it gets to gain momentum again on those steep, rocky or gravelly sections of a hill. 

But, no matter how true this guideline is, there are always other aspects to consider when riding up a steep hill that are at least as important. Because, when you are doing some technical hill climbs near your town and you have cell phone reception along the way, or when you travel with a group of friends, you can take more risks than when you are riding alone, in a remote area without cell phone reception. Circumstances have to be taken in consideration too, not only guidelines for riding techniques.   

The most important thing is to get your bike and yourself through an adventure in one piece. That may require a different approach, because when you go faster, your crash will be harder too. 

4. Traveling alone is lonely

Many people worry about traveling alone on a bike. Will it be safe? Are you not going to be lonely? 

There is an essential difference between traveling alone and being lonely. You’d be surprised how many people you will meet on the road and the amount of new friends you can make. Alright, some countries are so sparsely populated, like Namibia, that it can feel as if the only people you’ll meet are the petrol station attendants! 

But the reality remains that solo travellers are much more approachable than people that travel in groups. That means that you don’t have to make an effort to meet local people, they will make sure to meet you! 

For me there is no other way than solo travel, it’s what I’ve always done. Besides the advantage of always being able to follow your own plans, traveling alone also pushes you to face every struggle by yourself. You’ll learn that you are a lot more capable than you might iniatially think, and eventually you realize that pretty much any situation you face, is a situation that you can handle. Traveling alone is good for your self confidence, and for that alone, I highly recommend everyone to go on a solo trip at least once in their lifetime! 

5. Hard panniers are the best

In the last few years, I feel like there is a shift towards soft panniers, but this certainly wasn’t the case when I first started riding with soft panniers. I was told many times that I should have stayed with hard panniers and it was a mistake to ride with soft panniers. 

The biggest advantage of hard panniers is that they are easy to lock, so your things are safe on the bike when you leave it parked somewhere. But that’s about it! I never liked the weight of hard panniers, the fact that even though they are supposedly waterproof, my belongings still ended up damp from the condense inside, and of course there is the risk of injuring a foot or leg in a fall. 

Once I started riding with soft luggage, I realised that this was the way to go! Especially when you like to go off-road, I would never opt for hard luggage again.

When you go touring through a more densely populated area and when you only ride on tarmac, then hard panniers can be a good choice. But, as soon as you hit the dirt, it’s soft luggage all the way for me! 

6. You should be afraid of strangers

When you are traveling alone, you are often asked ‘Are you traveling alone?’ or ‘Where are you heading to?’ In fact, ‘are you traveling alone’, is probably the most asked question during my travels, sometimes this question is being asked several times per day!

Often I receive messages in which people suggest I should always lie when answering that question. I should say that I’m not alone and my friend is coming in a few minutes. Or lie about where I’m going. People suggest this because they worry that I might be harmed once it becomes clear that I am traveling alone. Besides the fact that this question has been asked hundreds of times, and nobody ever came after me, I think that there is something fundamentally wrong with this way of thinking. 

When you are traveling around the world, and you are meeting new people with such big suspicion by assuming they mean you harm, I think it is better to stay at home and not go out at all. In my view, there is no way you can see and experience the world when you are afraid and suspicious of every single person that you meet. How can you enjoy the great adventure you are on?

When you travel by yourself for a long time, you’ll develop some good intuitive skills and you’ll be able to judge when a situation is dodgy or not. If it doesn’t feel right, just make your way out of there. But once you are out there having your motorcycle adventure, you’ll see that those situations are very, very rare. So just feel comfortable and enjoy the interactions you’ll have with local people! 

7. It’s only an adventure when you camp

Camping in the wilderness with your motorcycle right beside your tent while cooking food over a fire, is an ultimate motorcycle adventure dream for many. 

When I traveled in Iceland and Scandinavia, I decided to bring camping gear with me to save money on lodging. To my surprise, I received several messages stating that now that I was camping, I finally was on a real adventure. Traveling 60.000 kilometers through over 30 countries hadn’t been a real adventure because I was not camping? Only then I realized how strong people believed that going on a motorcycle adventure should involve camping. 

There is definitely a certain attraction to wild camping. Being able to create a home in the midst of nature, getting water from the river, cooking over a fire and sleeping under the stars is amazing! But the reality is also that you have to carry a lot of extra weight and gear with you and you spend a lot of time setting up and breaking off camp while you could also be riding your bike! And well, then there is the thing of having a shower and a comfortable bed after a long ride… 

Camping in Iceland and Sweden to me, meant sitting inside my tent most of the time while it was pouring with rain outside. Most of my possessions were damp and my back was getting sore from sitting uncomfortably while I tried to some editing work. The only way to charge my laptop and drone batteries was to leave them in the toilet buildings of the campsite. 

If you want to save money on accommodation and you love to camp, then definitely go for it! But don’t let anyone tell you that you are less adventurous when you rather stay in guesthouses. I think my travels and videos show that there is lots of adventure to have without going camping.  

8. You should know how to fix your bike

While it would be incredibly useful to have great motorcycle mechanical skills before a long journey, you can definitely manage without them!

Of course, it’s very useful to be able to fix your own tyres in case of a flat one. But to be fair, on my first 36.000 kilometres from India to the Netherlands I couldn’t even do that. But the 4 flat tyres I got after that, I was able to fix myself, so this turned out to be quite a good skill to learn. Other basic motorcycle maintenance like cleaning out your air filter and adjusting your chain are easy to learn and good to know when you head off for a longer motorcycle adventure. 

But, when it becomes a bit more technical there is absolutely no shame in going to a motorcycle repair shop to have qualified mechanics look after your motorcycle! There is absolutely no need to know everything yourself. Especially because you won’t be able to carry the tools you’d need for those repairs with you anyway. Even for something relatively simple like fixing the fork seals, you need tools that in no circumstance you want to carry with you on your trip. 

I even prefer to do the oil change in a motorcycle shop. It is so much easier and faster to have it done there. When you are on the road, you don’t carry a drip tray with you to collect the old oil in. Finding a place to dispose your old oil in an environmentally friendly way, might also be challenging. Since you have to go to a motorcycle shop to buy the new oil anyway, you might as well do it over there and save a lot of hassle. 

9. You should have a different set of tyres for each terrain 

As I ride on all sorts of terrains, I am bound to catch some wobblies or even crashes on camera. Without a single fail, when I include a moment of struggle or slipping in my video, I receive recommendations for using a different set of tyres. No matter which tyres I am running, there are always better ones to have according to some! 

Of course I would love to blame every little slip with the bike on my tyres, but I know that you can’t blame everything on your tyres. Sometimes, you just make a mistake. Or the ground is so incredibly slippery, that it really doesn't matter how aggressive your tyres are, you will struggle! Especially when you are an adventure rider, and you are basically doing dual sport: both tarmac and offroad on your trip, you’ll have to accept that you’ll never have the perfect tyre for every scenario and condition that you will encounter. 

Another aspect to take into account is that when you are traveling long distances, the longevity of a tyre becomes very important too. Changing tyres every week is not an option, especially not in Namibia where there are only a handful of motorcycle shops in the entire country! 

In my opinion, you’ll just have to accept that you can never have a perfect tyre for each terrain, but when you find a good all-rounder that performs well enough in all areas, and on top of that will last you 10.000 kilometers or so, then that’s the tyre you need to have!

10. When you prepare well, nothing will go wrong 

No matter how well you prepare, things will break, get lost along the way and you will have to change your plans again and again. Nothing in life is certain except that everything is uncertain. 

How you deal with this fact is a matter of mindset. If you accept that things will turn out differently than planned, you are in a much better position to deal with whatever comes your way. When you share your adventures online or with friends, many people will give you advice on how you could have done things differently. My only advice is to forget about those captains ashore, and just know that you can never prepare for everything! 

So, let's get out there, feel free and ride!

Comments
(53)

Login to comment
Your reply

As so many others have said I agree with you on all counts. I have done long trips alone and have always found people to be kind and very helpful. I like riding alone as well. Thank you for all the hard work you put into bringing us all along with you on your journey.
Best regards John in the US

recumbentman  | 

Dear Noraly, I have to say you are very right in many of your points here. I am on my biggest adventure or gamble after having moved to live in Switzerland, alone with my wife. We have now more than 20 years in this Alpine country and we have 2 old teenager kids. This itself is an adventure in the sense that we are all alone without any family support (prevalent in Asia) and we have to do everything on our own (without any user manuals) in organising our family life here.

Recently I have chanced on your youtube and you inspired me to go solo biking. I have had dual-purpose bikes and finally bought a 2018 R1200GSA as a present for myself (years of not riding). It is big heavy and almost an elephant to me. But I enjoy it. I especially enjoyed my solo 1-wk trip to Dolomites by myself this summer.

Thank you for your inspiring videos and your warm demeanor. I pray you continue as long as you can.
Yours sincerely, Joe (not my real name)

Joe von Schweiz  | 

Hi Joe, great to hear you found pleasure in riding again!

Noraly  | 

I have always admired your outlook on life. And I love how practical and logical you are as well as your positive view of human nature. Your points above are spot on. There is an endless list of "crystal ball" cliches but in the end it is your dutch saying that holds true. What you say above should be the 10 commandments of motorcycling😎 with the 11th one being "After reading the 10, if you still have advice to give, back it up monetarily" 😁.
Keep riding safe, and thanks for this amazing "Show and tell" journey.

IBFan  | 

I discovered you while staying home because of COVID. Actually my experience on YouTube in general expanded quite a bit. I don't see how people that don't have the experience you have in riding in all kinds of road conditions are telling you how you should do it. Crazy. I have ridden all across the USA and parts of Canada logging about 200,000 miles on the three current bikes I own now. My main traveling bike is a 2006 Honda Goldwing and I have almost 150,000 miles on her. But I prefer hard top now that is as smooth as I can get it. I'm with you on staying in lodging that has A/C in the hot summer, heat in the colder months, and running water with a bed. Camping always feels damp and dirty and after 33 years in the Army I'm done with camping. Also riding alone is best. Much less stressful. If something happens it is amazing how help is close by that you didn't even know about. Your experience in Iran showed a perfect example in a place one would least expect it based on all the news reports the help you received couldn't have been any better. So continue to follow your heart and sharing your journey as you have become family and we need to know how you are doing as much as possible.

BruceG  | 

Hello Noraly
long time follower but finally today, I register as a member of your community.
In french, we said "les conseilleurs ne sont pas les payeurs "
" the advisers are not the payers " wich is equivalent as your quote in # 1.
And be sure, that size does'n matter if the peasure is there.
I'm old man now and I admire your approach to travel the world,
giving me some sorrow but I assume my choices , as a husband and grand father.
Keep on riding.
Jean-Jacques
Cueillez des aujourd'hui les roses de la vie.

Jean-Jacques  | 

Noraly, I am with you 100% on your dispelling of the myths. I love what you're doing and the way that you are doing it. I started riding at 50 ('85 Honda CB650 Nighthawk), touring & moto-camping two years later (Wee Strom) and can sign the document of shallow advice from virgin "experts", know-it-alls, and the good people I've met on the road being the best part of any trip. The GF is now interested in riding 2-up, gearing up and I plan to instruct her on the Nighthawk so she can ride alongside me. That's because she is now one of your fans, it's all your fault ! Much love from New Jersey, USA. Time for my morning loop on the new/old Honda Magna beast. You rock !

Paul H.  | 

I agree with your points, adventure is all about challenging oneself, and adding a whole host of conveniences just takes away from the thrill that you can get when you are just going with the flow, I have never gone camping, but, I can understand people's fascination with it. It is only a part of the adventure. The journey is the best part of the adventure as you get to meet new people and experience new things, something that you are a pro at.

RISHABH GAUR  | 

Wise words Rishabh Gaur :-)

Noraly  | 

hi Noraly fully agree with your answers , there is not really standard rules when you're riding around the words ,just need to ajust yourself according to what you are facing 🙂 and as you said when you travel the world you need to trust people and don't be scare about everybody and every situations

Thierry  | 

You’re my hero Noraly! Excellent responses to the 10 myths. Thank you for letting us tag along with you!

cynzylla  | 

Spot on Noraly!
What an inspiration you are!❤

Mike Cole  | 

I agree in almost everything ... I only disagree in the point about panniers. I have had both kind of panniers. Soft ones are more cheap, light and easy to adapt to about any motorbike, but I feel more confortable being able to lock up my things in there when I have to stop my bike anywhere, even in petrol stations, and moreover hard panniers are 100% waterproof... unless you buy cheap aluminium cases!
So... If hard panniers are not the best, soft ones aren't either! It's all depending on anyones needs and preferences.
For the other 9 points totally agree, and would like to add that when you travel alone, you are a 100 times more likely to talk to locals and see things and places other people never see, and is always an adventure no matter what vehicle you use to travel.... and in addition you'll know yourself better and as Noraly says, it is amazing to experiment being able to overcome by yourself almost any problem you encounter. No other thing increases so much self confidence in such a short time!

Bikepacker  | 

Thanks Bikepacker, as you said confidence is key and if a hard pannier gives you that then use them well :-)

Noraly  | 

Well written Noraly. A great blog and as Colin has said, this is your adventure and your experiences. You have been safe and have enjoyed places, cultures and people doing this your way. It has been great! Africa has been eye-opening, wonderful and from you, so well done. Continue with your positive attitude, the correct bike, the right tires and the biggest adventure.
Stay safe, have fun.....; Let's Go!

kgparks329  | 

Absolutely right in every one of your comments above! An adventure is *your* adventure, no-one else's and it 'your adventure, your rules'. Someone else may want an £18,000 fully equipped Africa Twin, but you certainly don't need one! Back in 1992/1993 my wife and I spent a year travelling on a pair of aircooled, kickstart Yamaha XT350s; although one had Krauser hard panniers, the other had a pair of soft throwover panniers, and both used stuffa bags bought from the market; we camped a bit and used rooms a bit and got to within sight of the Syrian border. One thing we discovered is that whenever you do get a problem you can't deal with yourself, pretty soon someone will come along who is willing to help you!
I discovered your videos 18 months ago, just after we returned to biking after a break of 17 years and you've really given us the desire for another adventure! Keep it up, stay safe - and ignore the shorebound captains!!!
Colin & Kay, Leeds UK

Colin Baxter  | 

Thanks Colin and Kay for sharing your story!

Noraly  | 

I love your mindset and general attitude. That's why actually your trips are so inspiring and always working out for you the best way. Thank you for being such a source of inspiration. All the best and keep the momentum :-) Karine

Karine  | 

Excellent no nonsense advice thank you!

DaveM  | 

Hi Noraly! Just wanted to let you know this was an excellent blog post and I couldn't agree more. I think you are spot on with all 10 points. I have watched all of your episodes from the start and have seen the progress you have made in all areas. When you made the decision to start traveling as a professional ánd share that with an at that point unknown internet community, probably has been the biggest one in your life till then. I'm grateful I found you at some day and wish you much happiness and many smiles and adventures. Hartelijke groeten uit Heemskerk, Nederland.

Marcel Huguenin  | 

Hello Noraly! I think your summary on adventure riding myths is bang on and lead to only one conclusion: "Just DO IT!" All the best with your continuing adventures and, as always, thanks for bringing us all along for the ride. Kind regards from British Columbia CANADA.

Thumper1  | 

The best roads traveled are unintended and bumpy. I just get mad if I think I planned for everything and found out I forgot something. Better to plan little and just be surprised at whatever event and solutiins occur. Then I never get upset also. Thanks for the smiles Noraly. I love your Zebras way better than American Zebras, thanks!

Mike of Richland  | 

Love your quote 'the best road traveled are unintended and bumpy :-)

Noraly  | 

Hi Noraly, my wife and I have enjoyed your adventures since the Alaska ride and let me say you are just getting better and better at doing this :-) Having enjoyed a 40 year career in TV production and creative industries gives me a different perspective than most on the amount of effort and skill required to produce such high quality content. I marvel at your extraordinary creative skills wonder where you find the time! Hats off to you and thanks for sharing this fabulous South African adventure. In Australia we are stuck in Covid lockdowns and cannot even go overseas! So we are living our adventures vicariously (for now) through you.

Chello in Aus  | 

Very well said Noraly!It doesn't surprise me when you express your thoughts like this on travel,I have learnt a lot about you and your attitude over the years watching your videos,but you do surprise me that you can put down your thoughts for us as well as filming,editing,writing a blog,etc.Whew,you are one busy productive person,well done you and thank you for the effort you put into everything you do.I agree whole-heartedly with your opinion,especially how other people love to make "you should have" comments,simply put?Just do it.I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks you're doing a terrific job,again,thank you,cheers from down under.

Steve Mason  | 

I'm with you! I hate making plans and would never have had some of my best adventures if I did.

Doug Squire  | 

Hi Noraly, I have to agree with everything you’ve said, I love your vlogs and at 62 has inspired me to go and learn to ride a bike, I wish I was 30 years younger. I did travelling alone around Europe alone in my twenties and it was fantastic meeting people and deciding where I wanted to go rather than having to agree with others.

Gordi  | 

Hi Gordi, there are also many kinds of adventures. Like learning how to ride a bike and get out there to ride it :-)

Noraly  | 

I have followed you from the start of your trip in India through Asia, South America, Europe and now Africa, and four or five times, each time there is something else to see. I did most of my riding in the 1950s to 1980s, lots of sporting trial riding which is similar to your off roading but gets quite technical. In those days tyres weren't as good, bike designs although basically the same were not as good for off road and the riding gear, I wore a Barbour suit, not as good as the modern Rev'It, KLIM etc. Also the only helmet at the start was the ACU approved racing helmet, just a dome with a leather harness and I wore RAF MkVIII goggles, So conditions were much different, It doesn't matter how much training, experience etc you have. you WILL drop your bike - lots!. Unexpected things WILL happen, if you can do basic maintenance you will be able to rescue yourself from pretty well any situation, the most important thing is your self confidence. As for tyre selection, there never will be the perfect tyre that will cover every type of terrain, they are always a compromise .
I am very much anticipating your adventures when you leave Namibia, Keep your current location confidential, rely on your instincts, if you ever feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, leave. But you know all this don't you? Take care and have fun!

Keith201  | 

Thanks for sharing your perspective Keith! I believe we are on the same page :-)

Noraly  | 

Brilliant advice - as others have said, not just for traveling on a motorcycle, but traveling through life in general. What a wonderful and inspiring read. And I smiled and appreciated how diplomatic you are with the "land captains".

Lorraine Allen  | 


Noraly, your article could easily be retitled "10 Myths About Traveling Through Life Debunked"...so wise.
Thank you.

Whitenoiseworks  | 

Haha... I rather stick to motorcycles :-)

Noraly  | 

I'm guilty on advice on tyres but not in the way you mentioned, just based on experience and the thought they will fit your purpose as well as you can't try every tyre. But if a tyre fits you and your needs then why take the risk of trying something else. I do go on adventures but smaller ones so for me it's possible to try something else as i always say "you never find something better if you never try something new" but on your travels not every try out is a risk worth taking.
In two weeks i go on my next adventure, alone on a 7300km trip through 16 countries (Mostly Balkan) and for this trip i chose the big bike. I have the luxury of 2 allroad bikes, one for mostly tarmac and one for mostly offroad and a wide range of Mosko Moto products to mix and match depending on the trip.
Good thing you pointed these thing out, the internet is a great place to find information but also a tricky place with those captains. Some people are so stuck in their own ways without even having experience with other ways.
In 2 or 3 years i'm going to South Africa (maybe a one way trip) and i will definitely go on the small bike on that trip. I can manage the big bike just fine but it's too big a risk alone in nowhere land with that unnecessary weight.
I see a lot of myself in you and always look forward to the next video, i hope i have good reception next month on my trip when your video's comes.

Ray, ride4life.nl  | 

Enjoy your next adventure Ray!

Noraly  | 

Prima advies dat je hier geeft en ook in sommige vroegere post.
Jij hebt de juiste spirit om een wereldreis te maken. Bij eender welk probleem vind je wel een oplossing.
Ik heb bewondering voor je geduld dat je ongetwijfeld in sommige situaties moet hebben.
Ook hoop ik voor je dat je de reis “From Patagonia to Alaska” verder kunt zetten.
In de nabije toekomst zal ik ook een Honda CB500X aanschaffen, alle reviews die ik heb gelezen zijn positief over deze moto.
Nog veel rijplezier met je wereldreizen

Vermeulen Chris  | 

When someone ask if you are alone...in my case...that was a new friend...all it might be is hi and bye...but, to me that is a new friend...my gut will always tell me if it is safe or not....but, so far...all my hi and bye's..have been great..a small conversation...a smile....hopefully all my smiles I give...made someone's day...whether I see them again or not...as for someone saying you shouldn't be a lone on the roads...well...I guess some people don't experience what life can really offer...I have traveled many times alone...and I have no complaints at all...all in my 67 years of life...and I haven't stopped yet....things will go wrong...things will break down or just break...Stuff happens...that's just life...I have to admit...I have slowed...but, I haven't stopped....You be you..because it is a life you wish to have....can't wait to see the next country of adventures...now it is time for me to get back on the road..as we are heading to our next adventure...to see my 92 year old mom..who named me Itchy Feet...LOL..

Itchyfeet66  | 

Thanks for sharing Itchy feet, love itchy boots :-)

Noraly  | 

Your comments are so spot on. Some are about subjects that have been debunked before, hard over soft luggage for example, but are always worth repeating and will be among the first times heard for some readers. What I like most is your frankness and practicality. I was limited for a while by thinking it has to be this way or that because so and so said or did so. Learning what works for you, what keeps you moving and looking forward to the next days journey is the most valuable asset you can have. Your worsmithing and video production values have become fantastic and make all this just that much more enjoyable. You are an inspirational and have become an iconic adventurerer in the mc world. Thanks for your contributions to better understanding of peoples.

elron  | 

Thanks Elron, and I am happy to read that you have faith in yourself now and are less influenced by what others are saying about what you should and should not do.

Noraly  | 

As one other has said I can not agree more. Well said Noraly! I have traveled alone a fair amount in my time and as I said I agree. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with others that might be considering traveling alone.

recumbentman  | 

as always, your statements are eloquent, honest, and diplomatic - deep gratitude - much love!

Lillie  | 

I can't agree more on every point you make.
It is remarkable that there are so many people who never left their bedroom but are full of 'good advices'. You as rather few, who actually do travel and like you travel for most of the time, are best suited to give such. And what is the best out of this, you advice is simple and spot on.
One can read about it or learnt it by experiencing it, so as some lovely couple say - 'don't but a couch' if you want to travel and live life by doing so :)

Tomas K  | 

Awesome advice you are a true ambassador to the motorcycling world !

Bradford  | 

Hi Noraly,
You are absolutely right here!
(Beste stuurlui...)
Veilige en memorabele kilometers gewenst, groet,
Eric

Eric M  | 

Great points, Noraly. Perhaps the time will come when more people are asking you for advice than trying to give you advice :*)
This new mini-series at Etosha has been terrific work on your part, and I appreciate you sharing experiences that I may well never have in places I may never visit. It has been great to see you at your best using all your skills, plus a lot of courage, too!

Charles Harris  | 

This is some of the best advice I seen given. I agree everyone always has a comment about what you should have done differently. I have found in my 50 years of riding much of this advice comes from people who have never done anything like you are. I am not an Adventure rider and I can fully appreciate all you said. I do have close to 400,000 miles under my belt .

GFM  | 

Started late in riding (59yo), mainly because traffic in Milan is often impossible, I choosed a super light (90 kg) 200cc bike. The reason? I feel confident that I can raise the bike if necessary, because I do not need high velocity, because It gas two racks Vespa type, low saddle height and so on. Now I have also a Beta ALP 4.0, It is heavier and faster than my little Borile Multiuso but still quite light and easy to manage. For example I felt myself not confident with the CRF250L because when I had the possibility to seat on it, probably because an issue of the suspensions I was alle to reach with difficulty the floor in the showroom. So I agree totally with the first point. Confidence in the Bike make easier a lot of things!

My compliments to SpikeyF for her ride in Vietnam.

Hunter  | 

Thanks Hunter for your input! A great example of how a bike can be perfect for one person but not for the other :-) Having confidence in the bike and yourself on the bike is very important!

Noraly  | 

Hi Noraly,
I have to confess I considered myself not able to travel like you before reading this blog. But you made a great point with this blog! Its just stop making excuses and start doing. You are a great inspiration to me and I like to thank you for al the positive things you’ve showed in all your episodes! I love your work and I like to tell you to keep doing what you do! It’s great!
Kind regards,
Johan

JohanB  | 

Thanks Johan, I hope you will go out there soon and have your own adventure!

Noraly  | 

Noraly the word smith. Loved the new email letter.
I think of all the interviews and live chats you have done ... and your common sense about travel "dose not compute" with a lot of the desk jockeys.
Cannot wait till you start your next country adventure and ride a four wheeler. (Maintenance is expensive and the only way I would have one is if it was given to me along with one hundred thousand dollars. The same with a boat plus a million dollars ) I know, I'm just grumpy!

Mike - P.  | 

Beste Noraly,
Dat waren mooie avonturen in Namibië,wat een prachtig land, ben benieuwd naar je plannen voor een volgende trip....
Groeten, Arnout

Arnout  | 

Dear Noraly,
do consider the notion that your followers consider it impossible that you fell due to careless or bad riding when you did. Tyres are good ones to blame there. ^^)
I had terrible lunch yesterday. It's my awfully bad and cheap oven that's to blame. A bad cook? Me??
Noo!
Nooohoohooh!!1! O.0

Zweispurmopped  | 

Haha... That is a good one Zweispur mopped

Noraly  | 

Hi Alexander from Scotland here, Been riding for over 60 years and you have certainly got an old head on young body
Yes there are are many Captains Ashore, Here we call them Di_k Heads with there new £18,000 bikes every year
Your neck scarves are great thank you
God bless and take care

alexander  | 

Love your profile picture :-)

Noraly  | 

Having been riding now for 50+ years on various types of bikes and roads, I can say you have learned well, Noraly. It is simple. You do you and soon your confidence will abound in your abilities and it will show. Rock on!

CO Mtn Rider  | 

Noraly, thank you for this. Your comments not only make sense, they are realistic. As a newly revived rider, I appreciate your thoughts on adventure bike riding. I look forward to your next installment. Safe riding.

Drider  | 

'De beste stuurlui staan aan wal'. Love this...says it perfectly!
Season 1 was the perfect example of how what you can do by just getting out there and doing it. Fantastic youtube channel and blog!

Pete  | 

Yes, there is a big difference not only in riding but also filming :-)

Noraly  | 

You have the heart of a warrior with great passion and a great writer Noraly!
Those who doubt you are a bit jealous.
Safe travels

Seawhiskers  | 

Hi Noraly,
I have followed your channel from the first episode you produced. I have to say you have travelled not only miles but your skills at filming, producing, your own maturity and skills has grown immensely . I also thoroughly enjoy the way you educate your viewers about geography, geology and the people you meet. As I travelled by motorcycle I always preferred doing so alone. Of course you get lonely but meeting people and becoming welcomed by people just isn't the same as if you are two or more. I think you're just scratching the surface of doors that will open for you as you grow and continue to mature with life. Keep up the great work. May your spirits of life travel and watch over you. Be blessed.
Paul Fetter

Pfetter  | 

Great advice Noraly! So many people always want to show their experience by offering advise rather than watching and listening to what you have and are doing. I have always believed that almost all people are good and willing to help when asked. Very often people who have the least are willing to help the most.

Keep on riding and doing your own thing. Stop when you can and entertain us with your adventures, your great videos, and most of all, your wonderful smile!

Andy  | 

Hey Noraly!
Very good advice. I'm a little surprised you've teasing all the captains. If you have almost a million followers, there are of course a lot of captains there.
I have followed you almost from the start. Even though I see that you drive very responsibly, an accident in some remote areas could be dangerous. But I believe in your case there is no better captain than yourself.
Thank you so much for sharing all these amazing adventures.

Sonny
Riding R 1250 GSA with hard pannier

SF  | 

Hi Noraly
I've only recently found your blog and travel adventure channel on youtube etc and really enjoy it. This recent blog post I was delighted to find since your myth-busters concur with my extremely limited experience and I hope they encourage others to get out there. Maybe my own experience will also help OLDER women to get out there; as a 62-year-old woman I got my bike licence on January 2nd 2020 after a 5-day intensive course I took in the UK, having NEVER ridden a proper geared bike before (the nearest was a Vespa where the gear change is on the handlebars and very different also with the size of wheels). Anyway, with just that 5 days of experience and my precious bike licence I went to Vietnam a few weeks later and spent 16 days going around the northern mountainous China-border region on the most amazing adventure, on my own, on a Honda XR150, staying often in some pretty basic lodges (rats running around at 3am waking me up), falling off on a tiny muddy track, coping on the first day out (ie. day 6 of ever being on a motorbike for me) with a mudslide which also caused 2 lorries to block the road and I had to learn to 'walk' the bike through, in first gear. This just a tiny snapshot. I conquered mountainous tracks with steep hairpin bends I would never have dreamt of coping with, going off google maps I was in such remote terrain and meeting the most wonderful people. I dream of my next adventure (Pakistan if I can) and for now, you are keeping me going by living that dream for me. Anyone of any age should not hesitate at having a go at this. It is so liberating and addictive! Happy riding to you and safe home when you are done. Many thanks. Janet

SpikeyF  | 

Thanks Spikey F for sharing your story. I am really impressed with what an adventure you had!!

Noraly  | 

Wow, these points resonate on so many levels, with #6 as my absolute favorite!
Keep being awesome 👍💪
Groetjes van Sebas, a fellow Dutchy now working, living and riding in Portugal

Sebas Tampinongkol  | 

Thank you Noraly , for all you do and share with the World. I carry note cards with your inspirational sayings in my wallet and our travel gear. When my wife and I travel ( even by car ) it is with your spirit of adventure and the wonders we see. When I ride my mid-sized Yamaha R3 around the back roads of Michigan by myself ( I am 68 yrs old ) I am stopped by nice people all the time that want to know of the fun I am having. Travel and adventure on... We all thank you. Your outlook on life is like rocket fuel in our gas tanks! Rex

Rex Rides  | 

Wow! Notecards with some of my sayings ;-)

Noraly  | 

Hello Noraly,

I am very well, thank you and hope you and your family and friends are too, wherever they are in this amazing world.

I have really enjoyed watching your videos a and adventures get more exciting and informative and these blogs are very well written, offering practical, sensible, common sense advice with heaps of encouragement to ignore the ‘Google experts, shore based Captains and armchair referees’, just get a bike, make a plan of sorts (or not!) and just go out and explore.

I’ve been out around Devon and Cornwall a few times now and definitely have a great answer to the worse riding condition. Thick fog! In my case combined with rain and a road spread with loose chippings all of a sudden 🙈.

With the CB500X squirming around, underneath my very novice riding skills, it made me appreciate yours and anyone’s off-road riding skills and attempts. You just have to get out and try, with a strong belief that you can do it.

The best thing about your years long adventures in so many countries? That the vast majority of people, wherever they live or come from, are the same as you or I and will be friendly, want to help and offer whatever they can to someone in need. That, it seems, is the polar opposite of what a lot of mainstream media and, shall I say, governments want us to believe!

Ride safe Noraly, and every other biker and would be biker. My advice, start motorcycling (or push biking if that is all you can afford now), get out there alone and let an adventure find you!

“Still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate, and though I oft have passed them by, a day will come at last when I shall take the hidden paths that run west of the moon, east of the sun” Frodo Baggins

DCBaxter  | 

Thanks DC Baxter for your story! Let an adventure find you, I like that one :-)

Noraly  | 
Load new messages

Still itchy?

Related blog posts

Adventures with Dhanno: Gear & Equipment

Biker's guide

How to prepare a Honda CB500X for a European motorcycle adventure

Biker's guide