OCTOBER TRIP: RENTING A BIKE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY
October is quite the busy month in the motorcycle industry, first of we have the 2 wheel convention in Brazil, and AIM Expo in Orlando US which we will be attending. We go with a plan in mind, we want to rent a motorcycle with the guys over at «Eagle Rider«, we’ve rented bikes there before and we can’t ask for better service. We contacted them with through their website, www.eaglerider.com and booked a Triumph Bonneville for our trip. As we are recurring costumers we got great benefits like 10% discount on our rent fee. We are very grateful as besides AIM Expo, the Daytona Bike Week is in Orlando is the same week so bikes are in high demand.
I get asked a lot «how can I rent a motorcycle in another country?» So today I’ll be speaking about that. First off you must have valid documentation, current and valid drivers license for the country you are at. Most of the times your local drivers license should work, however check first with the renting company. Then you have to define your route, specially where you are going to return the bike, if it’s on the same spot as the pickup or if it’s in another city.
There are two things to keep in mind:
- Returning the bike in another place costs more. Plain as that.
- When people rent a bike for a one way trip you can find offers or cheaper prices to return that bike to it´s point of origin, as you can save the renting company the expenses of returning such bike. Flexibility will allow you to save some money.
When you are at peace with the route you’re taking now you can start booking hotels, campsites or start calling friends with inflatable mattresses or couches where you can crash for the night, just remember to ask about parking arrangements as having the bike stolen is never a good thing.
Now for the bike, luckily most rental sites have a lot of bikes to chose from, variety changes from city to city depending on stock and popularity, Eagle Rider Orlando has about 18 models to choose from, but Atlanta has 27. Be very thoughtful of the bike you are choosing and how appropriate it is for the trip you are making, Superbikes may be fun, but not for off roading. Going solo is very different than taking a lady (or guy) for the ride. You can get rides for about USD99 and go all up to USD300 per day, depending on the bike.
Pro Tip: Suscribing to newsletters is a great way to find deals and low prices. Just keep a look out on deals you might like.
Then besides the renting fee there are insurances. Now that decision is up to you however I always pay my insurances. Insurance companies have me all paranoid about what can go wrong and personally I prefer to keep my peace of mind. I had an incident in Miami once with a rental car that suffered flood damage and I wound up paying a lot of money. So, insurance is a must. It works out fine and is better being safe than sorry. You can also check what type of assistance you can get from your credit card companies, as they often have international travel assistance. Just be sure to check beforehand.
When it comes to traveling to your destination of choice, have you ever had to pack something as bothersome as motorcycle gear? it doesn’t fit anywhere, takes a lot of room, and helmets are just hard to travel with. Specially now that most airlines make you check it in. I recommend a hard bag to check the helmet in, such as the ATS Stealth by Ogio. It protects the helmet from being tossed around like a basketball and it’s easy to carry. You can rent your gear too, and sometimes a helmet is included in the rental price, however do you want to use a public helmet? I don’t. Jackets, Pants and boots are also available to rent, however those are easier to pack and nothing beats wearing your own gear.
The GPS is another must. Sometimes I use Waze or Google Maps on my cellphone, but that means getting a prepaid SIM with data charges. Coverage can be an issue. So GPS it is. You can rent it too, but as adventure riders this is a piece of equipment we should have and can save you tons of money. I have a Garmin Montana and use a simple bicycle mount so I can use it on any bike, no electrical wiring needed. That requires me to use portable batteries, and keep an eye out for battery life, but as we keep on adding gadgets to our riding experience like cameras and headsets, it’s just another one to keep an eye out for. Many modern bikes now a day have a 12 volt electrical port, so that also makes life easier.
So packing. Rental motorcycles often include some sort of bags, sidecases or topcases, so you can carry some luggage with you. Drybags are very handy as they double as travelling bags and as motorcycle luggage. Low cost, high reliability. You can also pay for storage at the renting site for the things you are not taking on the motorcycle trip, but that will add another cost to the experience. Depends heavily on your schedule.
Pro Tip: When picking up your bike ask for any pickup services from the motorcycle rental company, even from the airport. Very practical and potentially cheaper.
And finally you have to know the laws for where you are heading, specially in the States as laws vary from state to state. Speed limits, helmet usage and certifications, Headset usage and so on. Try to be on your best behavior as you are a guest on another country and should behave, plus fines can easily eat up the deepest of pockets otherwise.
With this in mind I hope you can get a clearer picture as to how approach renting a bike in another country, I can’t stress enough that abiding the law is the best way to keep out of trouble and harms way, exercise caution but also enjoy with the locals as most times than not they can be of a lot of help and make a trip go from fun to unforgettable.