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RIDE Adventures Blog

Another Rider's Plans Crushed by International Motorcycle Shipping Errors

Posted by Eric Lange on October 25, 2015
Eric Lange
Since riding his KTM 950 Adventure down to South America in 2008 and launching RIDE Adventures in 2010, Eric now resides in Oregon for most of each year. Riding is still a regular part of his work though, in that guiding tours is a passion he'll always have, and researching new routes and regions allows RIDE Adventures to continue growing and providing reliable travel services to adventure minded riders and travelers from around the world.

As heartbreaking as it is, even after 5+ years of providing excellent, reliable motorcycle renting and touring packages to hundreds of riders around the world, we still get the occasional inquiry like you see below. (This is a screenshot of the Contact Form from our website, so of course we've obscured the name and email for the rider's privacy.)


Ready for the full story of what happened here? It's almost unbelievable, but again helps explain the many reasons why we offer motorcycle rentals in various countries.

In this particular case, and as we would soon learn, the rider above had planned a 3-month personal vacation over 2 years in advance before writing the note you see above. Apparently there were problems with the paperwork, or some other issue that was keeping the motorcycle from being released to the rider, such that renting was becoming his only option. Clearly, his dreams of experiencing the ultimate motorcycle adventure of riding the Andes Mountains from Argentina to Colombia were in huge trouble.

At the time the rider wrote this note, the motorcycle in question had already been stuck in Customs for 6 weeks. That's right ... 6 weeks trying to get his bike out of Customs! That meant that half of his vacation, planned 2 years in advance, had been completely wasted because his motorcycle was stuck in customs!

Sadly, "P.G.," the rider in trouble, would go on about 2 more weeks with us, confirming bike availability and pricing, and dreading the possibility that he'd have to rent a motorcycle from us. In the end, that was the horrible result though, and this rider had just:

1) spent a considerable amount of time researching international motorcycle shipping options, figuring who to trust and doing paperwork accordingly, the whole time being unsure of what the outcome would be

2) also spent all that time and money preparing his motorcycle, removing oil, fuel, and the battery, and matching the requirements of the shipping companies with regards to expensive crating, wrapping, and loading of the bike

3) as mentioned, the rider had completely wasted the first 2 months of his 3-month vacation trying to get his bike out of Customs, and in the end, had to rent a motorcycle from RIDE Adventures anyway! So this means the rider not only paid for all those shipping arrangements, Customs brokerage fees, and every other cost involved, but he never got to ride his own motorcycle in South America, and had to bear the cost of renting a motorcycle in addition to paying to ship his own motorcycle!

The use of so many !exclamation! points in an article like this is almost unavoidable, as it upsets me as well to think of such outcomes as this. While we're happy to have your business and keep these motorcycle fleets rolling, we also understand and appreciate the passion motorcycle riders have. From the time we spend planning routes, researching all the best sites to visit and places to see, to the considerable costs we endure riding these expensive machines around the world.

Sure, there are some riders who are successful with international motorcycle shipping, but we encourage you to consider some important questions before committing to shipping your own motorocycle: 1) What percentage of those riders are successful, 2) What percentage of shippers have catastrophic failures like this (see another story we wrote on this link) and 3) is that risk something you are willing to take on? After you've planned your trip, booked your flights, arranged your vacation time from work, and said goodbye to your friends and family, wouldn't you prefer knowing that there'll be a motorcycle there for you to actually RIDE on your dream adventure trip?!?!?

So again, the issues and confusion with shipping to/from certain countries are present no matter where you go. Surely, some countries and/or shipping carriers are more reliable and consistent than others, but when one considers the number of things that have to "line-up" just right for a successul transport of your motorcycle, the enormous amount of paperwork and transmitted information between the numerous logistics, handling, and government workers involved, it certainly does beg the question: "In the end, could you be better off just renting a motorcycle?" This story above is just 1 of many, many examples we have where riders need motorcycle rentals because of shipping failures. Perhaps you'll want to skip wasting all the time, energy, and cost of doing the same, and avoid the risk of shipping your own motorcycle.

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