Trapped by Coronavirus: The Day Motorcycle Travel Came to a Sudden Stop

Coronavirus forced our world into lockdown. Millions flew home, stockpiled on toilet roll and hunkered down to see out the pandemic. But it’s not that easy for motorcycle travellers. Some managed to ship their bikes out in time, others had to leave them and fly out… and the rest stayed behind. Most are trapped inside closed borders, a few want to leave but can’t, one caught COVID-19 and the rest are just trying to make the best of a tough situation. Here are their stories, why they’re still on the road and what their new plans are…   

6th May 2020

Notier’s Frontiers

My wife and I set out to travel around the world to experience all of its hidden treasures, different cultures and to help find our way in this world while getting lost at the same time. We quit our jobs and sold all of our possessions to find out if it would be the worst decision – or the best decision – we had ever made.

Throttle Adventures

We’re a couple from Kenya who left home back in 2018 to fulfill our dream of travelling the world on motorcycles. Being the first people from Kenya to ride round-the-world is really important to us too because we get to tell the great story of Kenya and promote our incredible country as we travel. 

Just a Journey

I’ve always wanted to travel and am so lucky to be able to do it without any time constraints. I used to travel with a very tight budget, but I’m now in a privileged position as I can work remotely as a web analyst. I started in 2017 on a bicycle, got tired after one year of pedalling and switched to a motorbike. It was quite a challenge as I had never even ridden a scooter before. So, I went back home to Poland, got a driver’s licence and bought a bike. Six months later and I left to ride through Europe to Southeast Asia. I met Roman in Iran and moved into his van. Since then my travelling has become a mix of biking and van-life in-between.

Kate’n’Ride

I am just a girl (singing in the voice of Gwen Stefani) and the first Belorussian woman to travel solo around the world on a motorcycle. I started in August 2018 without knowing how far I’d be able to go, what to expect, how to get money or even how to organise everything. And now I’ve been on the road for 620 days and after exploring 22 countries and an awesome ride through Patagonia I am stuck in Argentina. Nevertheless, starting my journey was by far the best decision of my life.

Geoff Keys

I was 62 years old when I left London six years ago. I have a wife and three grown up children. I used to work for the Automobile Association and have a fairly decent pension to travel on. My travels have been inspired by the books I’ve read, especially Ted Simon, Sam Manicom and Graham Field. I was also inspired by Ewan and Charley. I’m mainly travelling simply because I want to see the world and find out about other peoples’ lives.

Improbably Adventuring

I’m Heather Sinclair, I’m originally American but have been living in the UK for the past 5 years. In 2018 I did a 10-month, 22,000-mile motorcycle journey across Asia from Indonesia back to the UK (where I met Andy and Alissa from Mad or Nomad at the top of a pass in Kyrgyzstan!). The travel bug had well and truly bitten me and so I spent the next year and a half saving money from my IT job and preparing my bike for my next trip overland across Africa to Cape Town. 

Brit on a Bike

I’m Jack, I’m 22, and am riding a Royal Enfield Himalayan around the world and hoping to break the world record for being the youngest person to do so. Leaving on July 11th 2019, my trip has taken me through Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, China, Southeast Asia and Australia before flying on to South America from Sydney in January 2020. I headed south through Chile to Patagonia before dropping into Argentina and swinging north up the legendary Ruta 40 to Bolivia. Arriving in La Paz to a rumour that borders were about to close, I got a shift on and entered Peru asap, where I have been stuck since March 16th.

Diaries of

After a sabbatical break of six months back in 2013 (which turned into a six-month trip around South America on our motorbike – a 650 GS at the time), we decided that we wanted more for our lives than comfortable jobs that gave us enough money to travel but hardly any time to do it… So, in 2015 we quit our jobs and have been travelling the world on our motorbike ever since. We left from Portugal with the aim of slowly reaching Vladivostok. Which we did last year. After Vladivostok we went to Japan and South Korea and then shipped our bike to Southeast Asia. 

RTW Roxy

I’m Roxy, I’m a 24-year-old girl and originally from Poland but have lived in Scotland for the last 8 years. When I’m not travelling I work as a Software Developer. I first started travelling on my bike around Europe and now it’s turned into riding around the world. Every day on the road is an adventure from the people I meet, roads I’ve ridden and places I’ve seen. I started my trip in July 2019 riding through Europe, Asia and ended up in Australia where coronavirus has paused my trip. Next I’m planning to go to North and South America.

Far and Further

I went on my first overland trip in 2017/2018 when the rat race in London caught up with me and my girlfriend. We sold what we had, packed what was left, bought a car (we didn’t want to ride two-up and she didn’t want to ride a bike) and drove to India and back. A lot changed when we returned and we broke up. We were both infected with the travel bug and stationary life began to feel incredibly mundane. So, I came up with a plan to become a digital nomad and to try and circumnavigate Africa. I left home Feb 2020 on my Yamaha Tenere and now here I am – stuck in Morocco.

BikeHedonia

I was once a corporate litigator in Sydney, Australia. I was a kid from the bush who worked hard, got an education, got a profession and good job, and was utterly miserable. So I bought a KTM 690 Enduro R and left town. I’ve been riding ever since. For more than three years now, I’ve been a homeless person with a motorcycle, a machete and a mounting obsession with jungle trails. I used to tell people I was riding to Paris but that’s not really the point. I’ll go wherever the trails take me, and hopefully, I’ll see the whole world on my way to Paris.

Memoirs of a Motorcyclist

My names James and I’m from the UK. I love motorcycles and after a couple of solo trips around Europe I decided I wanted to go further. With that decision I saved up, planned a route, quit work and started my RTW trip. The objective for my trip is to ride round-the-world by motorcycle with as little to no flying if possible. My route so far has been across Europe, Central Asia, China, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and back into Thailand. From here I plan to ride down into Malaysia, Indonesia and then find a way to get across to Australia by sea if possible. After that I plan to go be sea to North America and ride all the Americas before returning home via a cruise form New York to the UK.

Esta es mi Vuelta

I’m a 30-year-old Colombian dude who always dreamed about going around the world in a motorcycle. It’s not easy for a Colombian guy living in the Colombian economy to do this, so it was a challenge. I saved up and started the once in a lifetime journey. And each month I didn’t know how I was going to survive the next one. But the dream kept me going. I’ve managed to make it through 20 countries and now, one-year and three months later, COVID-19 has trapped me in between India, China, and Thailand in one of the trickiest countries in the world to get into: Myanmar.

Mad or Nomad

Hey, we’re Andy and Alissa. We sold everything, packed one too many bags on our old bike and left home on 1st January 2018 to ride round-the-world. Since then, we’ve broken down more times than we can count, got lost in Mongolia, blew all our money living in Japan for six months, thought about becoming nomadic horse herders in Kyrgyzstan (turns out we suck at riding horses), destroyed our bike in Afghanistan, had a ride from hell through Siberia and Alissa broke her leg in Nepal April last year. So we flew home for 8 months while Alissa learned to walk again and continued our trip January 2020. We’ve come to expect the unexpected by now… but we never expected this. 

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16 thoughts on “Trapped by Coronavirus: The Day Motorcycle Travel Came to a Stop”

  1. Well, we certainly aren’t alone. Very interesting to read these stories, some of whom are friends, most of whom we are following on social media. My girlfriend and I are also motorcycle travelers. I started in December of 2017 with a goal of making it around the world in 3 years. I met Betzy in Nicaragua and she decided to join me. Turns out we like traveling slow so weve only made it down to Ushuia and now back up to Buenos Aires. We were planning to cross to Brazil and work our way up the coast, but are now locked down. We are going to stick it out. Like many of the others who shared, this is our live now, the bike our home. There isnt really a place to go back to. On one hand it’s been nice to be able to focus on finally sharing our story and pictures(@callyourma)…a bit of a much needed breather. But it’s also feels like we are in jail and going a bit stir crazy. Looking forward to traveling again soon (we hope!)

    Reply
    • Hey Tim and Betzy! Thanks for your comment. Glad you found it interesting and it’s cool to hear about your story! I’ll be following on Instagram from now on! Wow, so you’ve spent a lot of time in South America then! Are you guys still planning on riding round-the-world once you’ve made it up the coast of Brazil?
      Yeah, I know what you mean and you also said it very well! Take care guys 🙂

      Reply
    • Hey Paolo! Thanks for letting us know, we didn’t know about Pedro but i’ll look him up! Unfortunately, I probably missed loads of travellers – the people on here are those we’ve met on the road or already know about. Thanks mate and take care.

      Reply
  2. Fantastic stories from all these people. My heart goes out to them, it must be so difficult to be in that situation and not able to leave or know whats going to happen. Travelling is surely hard enough as it is. Well done guys.

    Reply
  3. We offer safe and secure motorcycle parking in Buenos Aires, Argentina. http://www.xfiltrate.com We can also help to obtain extensions for Argentine TVIPs Temporary Vehicle Import Permits during Covid-19. We are permanent foreign residents of Argentina – Elisa has her PhD in Spanish Literature and I am a Returned Peace Corps volunteer & anthropologist.

    We wish you the best during your travels and are will to assist anyone in South America. Ed and Elisa

    Reply
    • Hi Ed and Elisa, thanks for the comment and that’s really good to know for those in Argentina! It might be worth posting this in the Forum under ‘Helpful People and Places’. Cheers and all the best! Andy

      Reply
  4. Grazie Andy, we have been parking motorcycles and campervans for travelers in Buenos Aires since 2006. We also assist those wanting to buy or sell a motorcycle in Argentina. (Argentine registered motors only) Since the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine we have assisted many travelers to obtain travel permissions and extensions for their Argentine visas and TVIPs (Temporary Vehicle Import Permits). email: xfiltrate@xfiltrate.com
    Please preview our web site & videos here: http://www.xfiltrate.com Soon we will be creating our YouTube channel. We are amazed by your continued success and appreciate your ability to handle all problems. We also own a ranch in Flagstaff, Arizona – and have hosted many international travelers. “Not All Who Wander are Lost”
    My WhatsApp # 1 928 250 9829 we are in Buenos Aires, Argentina and willing to help. E&E

    Reply
  5. It must have been very difficult for all of you lot to be stuck abroad with your bikes. Very interesting to read about the plans and how you’re all planning on getting out of it. Good luck to you all.

    Reply
  6. dear dreamy wanderers,
    I pray for your well being and perceiverance to go on with your dream into the far away horizons surely and safely once the world comes with terms with covid. I am sure, its around the corner. I truly feel inspired by your never say die attitude and fighting it out. There is always a silver lining to the looming cloud. Plan your next moves when you have all the time in the world for you …… right now.

    Reply

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