Ecuador by motorbike - Part one

Francesco Tamai's motorcycle trip to Ecuador, an adventure born almost at the last minute and which has become a wonderful travel experience.

Ecuador by motorbike
Ecuador by motorbike - The journey of Francesco Tamai

My motorcycle trip to Ecuador: it starts from a dream and reaches the Andes.

It all started from a New Year's Eve when we met with friends to celebrate and to welcome Marco, a motorcycle traveler, who took a break from his adventure in motorcycle which is taking him from North America to Patagonia.

"Explore more, worry less"

Speaking of South America, I couldn't help but talk aboutEcuador, my wife's hometown. The conversation, between one glass and another, flows quietly until I reveal that in June I would be going there on vacation with the whole family. Marco lights up and tells me that in that period he would have been just passing through there.

Suddenly the alcoholic fog clears and my vision of the Pan, the road that connects the North and the South of the South American continent and which in Ecuador runs on the Andean ridge, traveled several times on those buses where picturesque sellers of sweets or miraculous health remedies get on at every stop. Traveling it by motorbike would be a dream. And at a certain point he tells me "What if we organized a week or ten days to go for a ride together?".

Ecuador by motorbike - Riobamba colonial palace
Ecuador by motorbike - Riobamba colonial palace

Gaby, my wife, agrees despite knowing that she will have to be alone with the girls for a week, but there is a big problem: all my finances are committed to the trip with the family. We do not own a motorbike in Ecuador and I had already seen some time ago how expensive it was to rent it due to the guarantees that rare renters require. In the following days and months, economic planning and the difficult to find a motorcycle for rent.

Nothing to do: Ecuador is not a tourist destination for motorcycle travelers, and it lacks the motorcycle culture intended as leisure or tourism. I desist and resign myself to the idea of ​​being Marco's passenger on his Harley 883 Iron.

The turning point

Ecuador by motorbike - Marco and his Harley-Davidson
Ecuador by motorbike - Marco and his Harley-Davidson

Once in Ecuador, Marco arrives in Riobamba, my wife's city, and settles in a hotel near our house where we spend good times together fixing his bike: new exhausts, thermal bands, overhaul of the fork and the rear brake that doesn't seem to want to work properly. In the meantime, the news arrives that changes my vacation! It seems that someone is willing to "lend" his bike for a couple of weeks at a preferential price. We run through the city on the Harley of Marco that looks like a truck compared to scooters in circulation.

Eduardo opens the door for us and we enter what is a building warehouse, with the floor covered with cement and plaster dust and, half buried by dust. He shows us a small single-cylinder 250 enduro with a disused and abandoned look, at the same time he assures us that it works and that it has only been standing still for two or three months. We try hard to put it in motion: it starts again but tends to go out, the lights don't work and neither do the arrows. I point out that if he wants us to bring it back to him, at least we have to be sure that it is not seized by the fussy police forces so we decide to re-discuss the rental after it has been put in running order by a mechanic.

La "Mighty"

Within a few days the bike seems to have been reborn: perhaps he felt the possibility of ending his career on a steep Andean climb, perhaps piercing the clouds above 3000 meters, rather than dying abandoned in a warehouse. We agree for $ 30 per day for a maximum of 6-7 days. We have the bike!

Ecuador by motorbike - Marco and our motorcycles
Ecuador by motorbike - Marco and our motorcycles

The following week we have to “travel” to offices because the bike is not actually Eduardo's, but his brother-in-law Carlos, so he has to pay the fines and taxes to put it back on the road. In the end, the rental will eventually cover these expenses, but not all evil comes to harm because Carlos is a motorcycle enthusiast and a strong friendship is born with him that will lead me to plan a new tour in Ecuador in 2020.

Finally everything is ready: a small backpack with spare parts and the rain suit, Marco instead has his home on his HD, to which we add my sleeping bag. A kiss to Gaby, a souvenir photo of the departure and we say goodbye to the city of Riobamba, leaving its 2700m to climb towards the paramo and the Parque Nacional del Volcàn Sangay. The dream has come true and now you have to live it!

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