Your Questions, Answered

  • How can you afford to travel for so long?
  • Can you ride on plugs?
  • What GPS should you use?
  • Are you crazy?

These are all things I’ve been asked pretty frequently. Check out my answers below or ask your own question!

Have a question?

Leave a reply below and I’ll get back to you.


Motorcycles

Isn’t the Ninja 650r’s seat uncomfortable for long distances?

I hear this complaint a lot. I don’t find the seat to be very uncomfortable. I do have to kinda “switch cheeks” sometimes and give each one a rest. I do some stretches and shift into different positions to alleviate some of the discomfort after hours of riding.  I am a smaller guy at 130lbs too, so that may have something to do with it. I hear that Corbin makes a good aftermarket seat for the 650r.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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How many miles do you have on your Ninja 650r?

55,000 miles as of March, 2012. I’ve had her since 2006 and the miles are a mixture of touring and commuting. Keep up on regularly scheduled maintenance and your ride will last just as long!

Posted in: Motorcycles

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What’s the top speed of the Ninja 650r?

I can only speak for myself and my 2006 Ninja 650r. I got it up to 135MPH as indicated. The speedometer is thought to have a 7% exageration.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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I weigh [X] and I am [Y] tall. Will I fit on the Ninja 650r?

I don’t know. I am 5’9″ and 130 pounds and the Ninja 650r fits me fine.
Best advice I can give is to go to a dealer and sit on a bike for at least 20 minutes. Keep your arms on the bars and feet on the pegs. If it is uncomfortable or cramped, you will feel it even if you are in the showroom.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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Don’t you get hot wearing all that protective motorcycle gear?

Yes, but I’d rather sweat than bleed.

Staying cool often relies on what you are wearing underneath. I wear a spandex-like, quick-wicking shirt and with my vents open sometimes I am freezing! Take advantage of evaporative cooling and drink lots of water.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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How much did your KLR 650 cost?

I bought her used for $2500 and she was bulletproof.

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Do you have any advice for novice riders?

  1. Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider safety course.
  2. Start off with small distances and gradually build up.
  3. Don’t get cocky when you start gaining confidence. You always have something new to learn.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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How long can I ride on a tire that has been plugged?

It all depends on the type of puncture. If it looks bad, don’t ride on it. If it looks good, continue with caution. No excessive speeds. I’ve ridden on plugs for thousands of miles, but I always checked them on a regular basis along with my tire pressure.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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Was the KLR 650 too tall for you?

The KLR was too tall for me…at first. I was on my toes if I tried to get both my feet on the ground. I quickly got acustomed to the height by sliding my butt to the right or left side so I could put one foot flat on the ground and my other foot rested on the peg.

It was weird at first. After a couple weeks it was natural.

Posted in: Motorcycles

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Travel

How do you predict expenses while traveling?

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How do you find the time to travel?

I’m not rich. I’m just a guy. I find long weekends or take time off from work. For longer trips I had to quit my job and live off my savings.

Posted in: Travel

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How much did your trip through Central and South America Cost?

I spent an average of $40 a day for eight months while I lived on the road. This includes fuel, food, lodging and motorcycle maintenance.

Posted in: Travel

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How do you secure your motorcycle?

The location of where you park is more important than wat kind of locks you use. If I don’t have a private enclosure to park my motorcycle, I find the most public place available. The more eyes on a motorcycle, the less likely someone will try and take it.

Don’t be shy about asking for secure places to park. Most people are very accomodating and sympathize with your concern. Ask if it is ok to roll your bike indoors, or out of sight.

A big ass chain doesn’t hurt too.

Posted in: Travel

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How do you secure your belongings?

The hard cases on my motorcycle are plenty enough for deterring thieves but I travel with soft bags as well for camping supplies.

With a soft bag on my passenger seat a “slash and grab” is pretty easy. Even if it doesn’t happen, the anxiety associated with the possibility is enough to ruin an afternoon where I leave my belongings unattended on my motorcycle.

I use a steel mesh bag (PacSafe makes them) to put my soft bag in and secure it to my motorcycle.

I keep my most valuable things (electronics) in my tank bag. Whenever I am out of sight or reach of my motorcycle I carry that with me. I specifically bought a tank bag that doubles as a backpack for this reason.

Posted in: Travel

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What driver licenses are recognized in Central and South America?

All of them. I never had a problem with licenses. AAA offers an “international drivers permit” that you can buy for $30 (last I checked) and it was accepted everywhere I went. Also doubles as an expendible license should an officer confiscate it and ask you to return to the station to pay the fine.

Also, they never checked to see if there was a motorcycle endorsement.

Posted in: Travel

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I’ve been dreaming about taking a trip through Latin America too. How can I make this a reality?

As with most things, it comes down to time and money. I’ve addressed the issue of cost , over here and over there. It is more attainable than you might think. Once you’ve decided you are going to do this, look at every purchase in your life and turn it into a tank of gas, a roadside meal, or a stay in a hotel. Every time you unessarily spend your money instead of saving it for your dream, you’re getting farther away from it.

Time is tricky. Some people have been able to arrange sabaticals, but it seems unrealistic. If you work for an enlightened employers who understands the need for a prolonged break, great! Good luck though. Always remember that an employer will never treat you with the same level of loyalty you give them. In the end, you gotta quit your job, and figure it out when you get back.

Everything is going to be ok. Just trust me!

Posted in: Travel

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How do you find internet access while you are on the road?

Internet access is everywhere. It is hard to find places without it. Speeds may vary, but even those seem to be increasing.

A good indicator: if you see a tall antenna tower, chances are there is internet access in that village.

Posted in: Travel

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What do you do for personal protection?

Situational awareness is the biggest factor that keeps me safe. I am always looking at my surroundings and keeping things in check. The second best factor is making yourself look like you are aware of your surroundings. In other words, look confident in what you do. You may not know where the hell you are, or where you are going, but act like you do. I don’t ride at night too.

These are all preventative methods for personal protection. For more proactive measures I always carry a knife on me, sometimes mace, but luckily I have never had to use it.

Posted in: Travel

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How many bribes did you pay in Latin America?

Too many. Ultimately if I played stupid and wasted the officer’s time I wouldn’t have had to. Learn from me.

Posted in: Travel

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Any plans for another BIG trip?

I would like to spend a year traveling through Eastern Europe and Asia on an XT250. I am shooting to make this happen in 2014.

Posted in: Travel

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Technical

What kind of camera do you use for videos?

I’ve used a few over the years. I started with a Kodak v570, then moved onto a Pentax Optio W80/W90 and a VIO POV.

Posted in: Technical

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How do you handle the storage of all your photos and video?

With internet access everywhere my preferred method for storage is online. I use a bunch of SD cards to store data from cameras. I travel with a small netbook to offload the data when my SD cards fill up.

For long periods without internet access, I burn DVDs with an external curner connected to my netbook. I make two copies. One goes in the left pannier, and the other in my right. If I crash on one side, the other side is safe. Redundancy! :)

Ultimately I will mail the DVDs home to keep my data in more than one place in case my netbook is damaged or stolen. No matter how you do it, keep multiple copies in multiple locations.

Posted in: Technical

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What GPS do you use?

I use a Garmin 60CSx. It is indended for hikers but doubles as a great waterproof GPS for motorcyclists. I don’t mind the small screen because it makes it easier for me to put it in my pocket and easily plan routes away from the motorcycle.

Posted in: Technical

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How do you keep all your electronics charged?

I like using electronics that have removable and recharable batteries. I have at least three battery sets for each device. I have a charger on my motorcycle and roate the batteries so I am always charged up. For equipment with higher power use (like my video camera) I run it off my main battery while the motorcycle is running.

I didn’t bother upgrading the stator on my KLR650, but I did install a volt meter so I could always see the health of my motorcycle battery.

Posted in: Technical

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Any advice for aspiring motorcycle video loggers?

You are a rider first and a filmer second. Be safe!

Do a lot of test runs with your recording equipment before you try to start talking and narrating.

Common things to consider:

  • Tangling cords that can become hazardous. Keep them clear of the handlebars.
  • Fasten your equipment securely. If you think it might fall off, tie some string to it and make sure it can’t swing close to any moving parts.
  • Practice your first talking video on calm roads to get used to talk and riding at the same time.
  • Share what you love.
  • Practice makes perfect.
Keep recording and you will get more and more comfortable with the camera. You might find it is like a kind of invisible companion on the road!
Film and Ride Safe.

Posted in: Technical

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Are there cheaper alternatives to the VIO POV for shooting video?

For years I used point and shoot cameras inside my helmet. Different heads and helmets require custom solutions though. There are cameras that have a pretty short height. I used a Pentax Optio W80 and it didn’t block my view. Check out the dimensions of cameras, and try finding one that is “short”.

The VIO POVs are becoming less expensive, especially the older generation. Check on eBay, that’s where I got mine.

Posted in: Technical

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Personal

Do you accept guest blog submissions on your website?

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What do you do for a living?

I am a software developer.

Posted in: Personal

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How tall are you?

You might be curious because you are looking into buy a Ninja 650r and wondering how you might fit relative to my size.

5’9″
69 inches
175.26 centimeters
1.7526 meters

Posted in: Personal

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How do I convince my Mom to let me get a motorcycle?

This is a tough one. My Mom also rides a motorcycle so I never had that problem.

Convince her to ride first?

You’re on your own with this one.

Posted in: Personal

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Are you crazy?

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Are you sponsored by anyone?

I have no official sponsorship for my rides or journeys. I found a way to travel on the cheap so I can wander independently and not be tied to a schedule or demands of a sponsor.

Posted in: Personal

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How do you live without a car?

Happily.

But seriously folks…

Everyone’s situation is different. I fortunately don’t need to move a lot of large things around. I don’t think a lot of people have to either. I rent a truck or car when I need it and the costs are a fraction of a car payment and insurance.

Also, don’t underestimate what bungie cords can and cannot do when strapping stuff to your passenger seat.

Posted in: Personal

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Have you changed after all your travels?

I’ve definately changed, especially after my Latin American trip. I feel I’ve changed for the better. I’ve been exposed to so many different experiences that have changed my perspective in so many ways, it’s hard to really pin it down.

There is one idea that has consistently grown stronger throughout my travels: The world is not so scary of a place as I thought it was and I fear it less and less after each trip.

Posted in: Personal

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  • Mawsturdastum

    At your height of 5′ 9″, why wasn’t the KLR650 too high for you?

  • Dandiego

    Do the extended rides change you or are you able to maintain your personality throughout your travels?

    I enjoy your site; the videos and descriptions of events are fascinating!

  • AtlasRider

    I’ve definately changed, especially after my Latin American trip. I feel I’ve changed for the better. I’ve been exposed to so many different experiences that have changed my perspective in so many ways, it’s hard to really pin it down. 

    There is one idea that has consistently grown stronger throughout my travels: The world is not so scary of a place as I thought it was and I fear it less and less after each trip.

    Glad you like the site. Thanks!

  • AtlasRider

    The KLR was too tall for me…at first. I was on my toes if I tried to get both my feet on the ground. I quickly got acustomed to the height by slipping to the right or left side so I could put my foot flat on the ground and my other foot rested on the peg.

    It was weird at first. After a couple weeks it was natural.

  • Hidden14

    i like your page it brings alot of experience and feeling from many countries thats you hve ride it. thank you for sharing it its very excite it.!

  • AtlasRider

    Thanks! Glad you like it :)

  • BMW F800GS Lima-Peru

    Have you ever had your bike under water? I got mine under a river last Friday and I´m looking for tips and advise on fixing the water from the engine and any other possible areas. Any suggestions, tips or advise are welcome. thanks.

  • AtlasRider

    I dropped my bike during a river crossing but I had killed the engine before it sucked water into the engine…luckily! 

    Although I have wanted a F800GS, I’ve never owned one. I can’t give any advice. I know on boxers you can remove the spark plug from on side, fire up the engine and all the water shoots out. I’m not sure how you would do an equivalent thing on the F800GS since it’s a parallel twin. Best of luck though. If you found an answer, please share!

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