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Customer Experiences

"I had made a spontaneous decision to experience Patagonia on a motorbike last Christmas. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into and had only 2 years of riding experience--most of which was on pavement. Eric at RIDE Adventures took the time to answer all my questions before I was even fully committed. I expressed my concerns about riding alone and having little off-road experience. Eric was very organized, friendly, knowledgeable and I had no qualms at all during the reservation and payment process; This is important when you are forking out thousands of dollars. He kept good notes on the invoices and documented everything via written communication.

On the ground, I was able to pick up the BMW F700GS without any issues. Everything was handled in English and I was on the road very quickly. I put over 3,000 miles on the bike with zero issues other than having to oil the chain a few times (bring some chain lube it’s very expensive in Patagonia). The bike came with all the tools you would ever need for basic maintenance and road-side repairs. Luckily, I didn’t have so much as a flat tire and the bike was already well-maintained. I did have one low-speed crash and dented one of the panniers a bit. I was charged a reasonable price for the damage when I returned the bike. Ulli, the fleet manager near Pucon, was just as helpful, friendly and knowledgeable as Eric. Every time I called him, he answered. I never felt like I’d be unsupported in an emergency.

After successfully completing the trip, I found Eric’s answers and advice to be right on the mark. Here are the key things I can emphasize from my experience:

  1. If you encounter something outside of your normal comfort-level, slow down, be alert and you’ll be fine.
  2. Brush up on your Spanish and bring a dictionary. English speakers are scarce, especially in urgent situations.
  3. Get the Sygic Navigation App for your smartphone. It has a very comprehensive map of the area and doesn’t require a data connection. Leave Garmin/TomTom behind.
  4.  When they say it’s windy in the dessert, listen to warnings! I thought I knew what wind was, coming from Kansas… The wind of the Pampas is like nothing I’d ever experienced.
  5.  Fuel up every chance you get
  6.  Always pack a lunch. It’s very common to roll into a town on a holiday or during siesta when EVERYTHING is closed.

One of my goals on the trip was to make it as cheap as a possible, hence going self-guided. Camping is very popular for tourists in Patagonia and I camped all but 2 nights. Camping with a tent costs about $8 USD per person and usually includes a hot shower and sometimes Wi-Fi. Food can be easily purchased at modern supermarkets along the way. Be advised that Chile and Patagonia are not much cheaper than the US and Europe, especially in the summertime. The last two weeks in March turned out to be great weather. A little cool in the mornings but manageable without heated gear. Not being there during tourist season was a plus. I felt like I had the place to myself and I could ride for, literally, hours without seeing another person.

All-in-all, the trip was amazing and I was able to experience Patagonia alone, on a budget and without any issues thanks to RIDE Adventures. If you are on the edge about taking the trip and are afraid of the unknown, I promise you, I was in your shoes. Just do it and you won’t regret choosing RIDE Adventures.

-Written by Roger Keyes from Kansas City, U.S.A. after his motorcycle rental package in Patagonia for riding through Chile and Argentina. Roger enjoyed the BMW F700GS so much, he came home and bought one!