Should I Ship or Buy? By Harry and Hettie

Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Here’s Harry and Hettie on whether they should ship their motorcycle or buy abroad…  

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By Harry and Hettie

Embarking on an Alaska to Argentina ride

We are Harry and Hettie, and after two long years of saving, dreaming, and scheming, we are finally about to set off on an adventure of a lifetime… A motorcycle trip across the Americas: Alaska to Argentina.

Follow Harry and Hettie’s adventures here:

Insta: @harryandhettie


To Ship, or Not to Ship - That is the Question…

We are Harry and Hettie, and after two long years of saving, dreaming, and scheming, we are finally about to set off on an adventure of a lifetime… A motorcycle trip across The Americas: Alaska to Argentina.

Why the Americas? Well, in a pre-Covid world, Harry was planning his next bicycle tour, which just so happened to be of the Americas. Fast forward to a post-pandemic life, he finds himself with a lockdown love who would love nothing more than to join him on his next journey. It’s safe to say that a winning combination of Harry’s itchy feet, and Hettie’s lifelong yearn to travel has been more than an ample catalyst for this journey to begin. 

However, it hasn’t always been all eyes on the Americas… The decision to keep this route wasn’t as straightforward as you would have imagined. Shall we go to India? Can you get a visa for Iran? Is China open yet? Or maybe we could go to Africa? How much does it cost to ship the bike? After much discussion and deliberation, we decided that the Americas is the adventure for us after all!

Our motorcycle of choice is a Honda Transalp 650 – a workhorse capable of tackling long American highways and off the beaten tracks in the Andes.

But now we find ourselves on the cusp of this adventure and at a complete crossroads of self-doubt (some might say last minute-jitters). Are we doing the right thing? Does it make sense for us to ship our motorcycle, which we have poured energy, love and money into? Or could we enhance our experience by sucking up, taking a leap of faith into the unknown and buying a new motorcycle in Vancouver at the start of our journey?

With less than a month to go, we are both feeling the pressure and anxiety of what feels like the first of many huge decisions that we are going to face on our journey ahead…

If anyone has any experience of buying a motorcycle in Canada or the US, or alternatively, shipping and importing, we would love to hear from you!

Harry and Hettie

What do you think? Is it better to ship the bike you know or buy and sell abroad?

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Thanks for checking out this Thoughts from the Road column. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on adventure motorcycle travel and shipping that we recommend you read next. 

5 thoughts on “Should I Ship or Buy? By Harry and Hettie”

  1. We bought a bike in Kelowna, BC. It was extremely straight forward. That was in 2019. Friends then bought 2 bikes from the same shop in 2022. We rode ours through the Yukon, Alaska and US, then flew it to the UK to continue our travel. Our friends rode their 2 bikes through North America inc Alaska, then down through central and South America. They have just flown their bikes to the UK as well. The advantage of a British Columbia registration is that the registration itself has no ongoing requirements like many countries, and as foreigners there were no issues with purchasing. Initially you are required to buy insurance alongside the registration and it is this that changes. The BC insurance covered us for all of North America. We purchased green card insurance when we left to the UK. We have chosen to import and register our bike in the UK but our friends will continue to travel on their Canadian registration.

    • Hello Sue,

      Thank you for the comment.

      We paid for the bike, registration, and insurance. The insurance covers us for the USA too which is great. We purchased a bike in BC, which was a fairly straightforward process, can’t believe insurers stay open so late – Lonon Drugs is the best shop ever!

      Canada has been magical so far, the roads are smooth and scenic and the people are extremely friendly. Once the bike has been checked over by a mechanic we will head off to Alaska.

      I don’t think we’ll import the bike back to the UK when we’re finished. Maybe we will attempt to sell in Brazil…

      • When we picked up our bike it was a Monday and they are closed but the guy opened up specially for us and the rego/ insurance lady came down to the shop to sort us out. Couldn’t get better service than that


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