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Old 02-03-2011, 05:21 AM   #1
johncamuanga
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Default Across Africa on Yamaha V Star 1100 Cruiser

I am new on this forum, but I saw the Yamaha News forum and I thought I'd write this article here.
I just completed a 14,000 km (8600 miles) journey from Cape Town to Zanzibar and back to Cape Town on a V star Cruiser, fully loaded with bags, gas, tents and other camping equipment.
What is shocking about this trip (I was the first one to be shocked) is that I have not seen any cruiser for the entire trip. There was an Austrian guy on a BMW 1200 GS coming alone from Austria to Cape Town (he rode with a broken left foot from Ethiopia to Nairobi Kenya to get to a hospital!). He was shaking his head when he saw me deep into Zambia on a cruiser, with a clearance of only 15 cm from the ground (6 inches), navigating the potholes and the mud. Then, in Iringa, Tanzania, I was taking shelter in a gas station after a massive storm caught me in the mountains and I was soaking wet, when 7 BMW 1200 GS's pulled in to fill up with 9 French people on them. Support car, interphone systems, helmet cameras, the whole deal. When they saw me, half face helmet, leather jacket, jeans, soaked, they shook their heads as well, but they all took pictures to prove that there are still some senile people on this planet. They were going home to Paris from Cape Town.

However, when I completed the 14.000 km journey, I kissed my Yamaha v star baby!! I had only 1 flat tire in the whole journey, my oil light came on in Tanzania because I scraped a bolt from the oil bath on a rock and I had a small leak. Paranoid to not lose too much oil, I put 1 litre of oil per day in my engine. When I finished the journey, there were 7 extra liters of oil everywhere: gear box, air filter, etc. My mechanic almost had a heart attack, but could not believe how this bike performed under such terrible conditions. This proved to me, again, the amazing craftsmanship of a Yamaha engine. She is now sitting pretty in Namibia, waiting for me to do it again.

I am getting ready to leave on January 1st, 2012 around the world (the real "long way round") Cape Town to Cape Town, 56 countries 70000 km. But this time I will take the Yamaha Super Tenere 1200.
For pictures of the African trip, contact me.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:13 AM   #2
Morbo the Destroyer
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Wow, that's quite a story. The part about the BMW crowd is pretty funny...nothing like a "real adventure" with helmet cameras and support trucks!

So, WHY did you take a cruiser on the trip? Was it the only choice you had?
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:23 AM   #3
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Awesome! Good luck with your trip!

Put this up on ADVrider.com and p1ss off thousands of BeeEmmVee riders.
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Default Thanks

Thanks guys for the reply.

It wasn't the only choice I had, but it was the best one. I have a couple of small off roads, but not good enough for this trip. I made the mistake last year in May to ride from Congo to South Africa on a Chinese Shineray off road, 125 cc!!!!! It was the craziest thing I have ever done. Brand new bike, bought in Congo! After the first 100 km, the speedometer started spinning out of control and eventually broke off. The seat destroyed my ass, the vibration was so huge that 4 days after I finished my bones still vibrated.

You are right in saying that some groups of riders (including MacEwan and his buddy on the supposed "long way round") have it very easy with support cars and huge budgets. But I think it is more fun, more enjoyable to take a risk. I didn't even have water with me, the African people provided me with everything. I would stop in a village and I asked for water: they brought me water, bread, food, they cleaned my bike.
These guys are fantastic in deep Africa; everyone is asking me if it wasn't dangerous and if I was attacked. Not only that I did not have any trouble with that, but I lost all my money in the village of Isoka, Zambia, they fell out of my pocket (over 2000 dollars US). I did not know I lost them. I was filling up on the side of the road when about 10 kids collected all the money they saw in the bushes and brought it back to me to the last cent!! I gave 10 dollars each and this was their salary for about a month. So much for the "African savagery" you hear about!
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:49 AM   #5
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What an awesome story!
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:53 AM   #6
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Really good story!

Please post your pictures (somewhere other than on this site, of course) and provide a link! I'd love to see them!
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