Article Index

A few general thoughts about the trip.

Guided versus do-it-yourself. In the past, I've always chosen to travel without a guide—motorcycle or otherwise. But, in this case, I think we made the right choice to go with a tour company. First, this would have been a difficult country to find all the best routes and places on your own in the limited time we had available. Second, the guides were able to add significant background to each area and social situation, which increased our understanding and enjoyment. Third, they were able to detect and smoothly deal with a few issues on the trip. A prime example was that COVID was causing lock-downs in various places and they adjusted the route to be sure we did not get trapped in these areas. Also the travel rules changed while we were in Colombia requiring a negative COVID test prior to re-entering the USA, which they were able to arrange right at our hotel.

Driving/riding. I can't say it enough, Colombia is a fantastic motorcycle country. They have great roads for motos. So many turns! In Colombia there are official driving rules that are very recognizable to US drivers. But, after a day, you learn the common motorcycle riding practice, which violates many of the driving rules. The riders are practical. Given the mountains, twists, and nearly all two lane roads, truck traffic is a challenge. Motorcycles just pass them in all places ignoring road double yellow striping and "no pass" signage.

Language. The limited Spanish vocabulary I had was much increased by two weeks of hearing and speaking. Relatively few folks speak English but we were always able to communicate. Of course, for the important or complex stuff, our guides handled it in fluent Spanish. I really appreciate growing my still limited Spanish ability. A long way to go to fluent. Back to Mexico to work on it so more!

Motolombia. What can I say but they were great in every possible way. Efficient, competent, friendly, knowledgeable. They dealt with route and hotel changes in the background to get us around COVID lock-downs and were always quick to respond to our wishes and comments. No question, I would go with them again on any tour that would be best with a guide.

BMW 750. Motolombia provided me with a BMW F750GS including Pelican case panniers, metal top box, and waterproof tank bag. More than enough luggage space for us both. The bike was big enough for crisp two-up riding. Particularly during the first three days of mostly mountains, I used fourth (or greater) gears maybe three times. A bigger bike would be just more weight to drag around. I could have easily used a smaller bike. The BMW has weak low end torque so I used lower gears and high revs frequently. Definitely a workable bike for this trip but I would not choose to own one. There are better choices including my Triumph Tiger 800XC.

In total, we covered 1,362 miles (2,192 kilometers) and reached a highest point of 11,948 feet (3,642 meters) as recorded by my gps. The total distance was much less than I have covered in previous two week rides (usually closer to 3,000 miles). That is a testament to Colombia's tight twisty roads. Very fun but not conducive to covering large distances per day when you are averaging 20-30 mph.

Photos from the trip and a route map.