Posted On 21 May 2024
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This entry is part 13 of 28 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#32


Is that Belstaff Man? No, it’s The Bear in his Aerostich suit, looking warm and comfy although perhaps just a touch overweight…

As I write this, there’s a 91 year old bloke up on charges of importing some staggering amount of cocaine to Australia.

The thing that really caught my interest in the story was that he is apparently a bit of an “adventurer”, heading off for months at a time to places like Alaska, Eastern Europe and India.

How about we all take a leaf out of his book? Not smuggling cocaine, of course, but doing some adventuring.

One wonderful thing about motorcycling is that you’re never too old (well, within reason), too busy or too poor to go adventuring. Let’s face it, there is adventure territory within a day of any major city in Australia and it doesn’t cost a heap of money to put together a bike capable of giving you a huge amount of enjoyment.

I’m off adventuring myself; this section is a little shorter than usual because I’m leading the first Bear’s Best of the West tour in the US with Great American Motorcycle Touring.

Report follows!

The opening photo (by John Miller) of this article shows me in the South Island (of NZ, naturally) with the bikes we borrowed from South Pacific Motorcycle Tours.

They’re a good place to start if you’re considering doing some adventuring across the Tasman; based in Christchurch (, +64 27 553 1955) they are right in the middle of what would have to be among the best motorcycling country in the world.

They offer rental bikes, self-guided tours and full-on guided tours, and we are very happy to personally recommend them.

Say hello to Carole, Mike and Neil for us and tell them that yes (puts on Arnie Schwarzenegger accent), we’ll be back!

New Zealand is a wonderful motorcycle destination, but don’t forget Australia either!


MotoQuest ( is keen to let you know about the Colombia Valley of the Andes Adventure they’re running from October 10-23 this year.

”This October, an intrepid group of MotoQuestors will join guide Brenden Anders on a two-week journey through Colombia. This all-paved itinerary with some dirt riding options features a ton of great riding through the Colombian countryside, and in some ways resembles a relaxing tropical vacation more than a motorcycle tour. It’s not too late to join them! We have just a couple places left on this trip.

“The lush Colombian countryside makes for a gorgeous backdrop as we weave our way through the northern part of the Andes range. Enjoy the fresh flavors of tropical fruit, and of course drink the freshest Colombian coffee you’ll ever have, after you help make it on a tour of the Ocado Organic Coffee Plantation.

“We make an effort to spend each afternoon poolside with a refreshing drink in hand.

Our accommodations on this trip are top notch — 4 or 5 star hotels with pools, wifi , breakfasts, and in some cases laundry service! But when we’re not lounging by the pool, we’re riding through this beautiful country, absorbing the heritage and culture.”

Oops! Is that the end of the road there?


“Looking for a motorcycle tour that’s completely different from everything else out there?” asks Reed from Asian Motorcycle adventures ( “Well, look no further because here it is… How about a ride to Shangri-La? “A Shangri-La really does exist, way up north in Yunnan Province, China, not far from the Tibet border.

And the name really does fit this place perfectly.

“If China has always been a place you wanted to ride a motorcycle through, this is now possible because we are offering two different Shangri-La tours. The first is a 23-day tour that starts and end in Chiang Mai, Thailand, rides up and into the Himalayan plateau, and covers 4,800 + kilometres of ever changing terrain and roads. It is a full-on luxury tour with noamenities spared.

“Our 2nd Shangri-La tour is an11-day tour for riders whose holiday time is limited. This tour starts and ends in Kunming, China, the capital city of Yunnan Province. Kunming has an international airport so flight connections to here are easy. A late model BMW G650 GS will be your ride on this tour.

“Shangri-La was made famous in James Hilton’s 1933 novel, Lost Horizon. Yes, this town was created in the mind of a novelist, but literary scholars seem to agree that Hilton based the town he called Shangri La on a real place in Yunnan called Zhongdian by the Chinese and Gyalthang by the Tibetans. Those ever-resourceful Chinese, after becoming aware of this popularbook and movie of the same name, officially changed the name of Zhongdian to Shangri-La and this is what has appeared on every map since then. In the interim, Shangri La has existed in splendid isolation for over eighty years.

“For most of those eighty years travel was banned to this region and only recently have travel restrictions been lifted.”

Asian agricultural machinery is economical, but exhaust gases can be a bit much…


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