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Ω2

Rider

Rider’s preparation

   The goal of a recreational trip is to offer as much pleasure as possible. So, I must be secured as much as possible. That’s not a trip of relaxation. On the contrary, it’s an adventure trip. Some regions in my route are dangerous and they require special attention by me. Except that, solo traveling causes some extra dangers.

   Traveler’s preparation includes the detailed planning of the trip and determination of as much needs and dangers as possible. My previous experience and the experience of other travelers who traveled recently or they are now traveling at those regions help a lot. Hopefully, the communication with other travelers who use primarily a motorcycle to travel around the world is now easy through internet. The forum at http://www.horizonsunlimited.com is amazingly helpful and I was using it every day for the preparation. Also, there are some books that such travelers wrote and they are helpful too.

   Through internet everyone can get up to date information about security issues at each region, about dangerous diseases, he can be informed about the existence and the situation of roads, about paperwork, crossing the borders, weather conditions, places to see, hotels, garages, doctors and a lot of other information. That information is valid and objective because it comes from tens of knowing people.

   In those societies, the faith has a primary position in people’s lives. It’s important for the traveler to know the basics about their faith and how to respect them. So, I read books about Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.

   The traveler’s guides I am using are those by Lonely Planet. They are infinitely better than every other traveler’s guide in terms of the validity and the amount of given information. They are written for independent travelers, so the given information is exactly what we need. Also, they include basic phrases and words at each language of those regions, which are required to communicate with local people.

   Mechanical knowledge about the motorcycle and medical knowledge for the rider is extremely helpful. Hopefully, I was dreaming a trip like that from my childhood. So, when I was studying at the university, synchronously I was volunteering in a garage. I was seeing and learning a lot about mechanical matters and later, when I was working keenly on my own vehicles, I practised what I learned.

   I got some medical knowledge through books and internet. I was informed about the diseases at those regions, about the precautions I needed to take and their treatment. Also, I took a first-aid course to learn on practice what I had read.

   In those regions there are a bit dangerous hygiene conditions. Except the precautions during the trip, a lot of vaccinations and tablets are required. The dangerous diseases at those regions are :

DiseaseSymptomsTransmissionProtectionEffectivenessTreatment
Hepatitis A (possibly fatal)Yellow color to the skin and the eyes, nausea, lethargy, fever, dark urine, abdominal painFood, waterUntil 2012Almost completeRest
Hepatitis BYellow color to the skin and the eyes, cancer or cirrhosis of liverSex, body fluidsUntil 2017Not complete
Hepatitis ΕYellow color to the skin and the eyes, nausea, lethargyFood, waterNot Available

-

Japanese B Encephalitis (fatal, rare)Asymptomatic, possibly fever, headache, MeningitisInsectsNot Available in GreeceAlmost completeNot Available
Malaria (possibly fatal)Fever, chill, sweating and possibly headache or malaise or diarrhea or cough or muscular pain or vomit (appears after 3 days to 3 weeks)InsectsMefloquine or Doxycyclinegives more time to seek appropriate medical helpHospital, even after self-treatment
Rabies (fatal)Headache, fever, malaise, aesthetics changes around the bite, and possibly illusion or aerophobia or hydrophobia or delirium or crampsMammalsUntil 2013gives more time to seek appropriate medical help Hospital immediately
Typhoid FeverHigh and slow progressive fever, headache and possibly hack or stomachic pain or pink rash at stomachFood, waterUntil 200970%Antibiotics
TetanusCrackling teeth, muscular cramps, extension of woundWasteUntil 2016Almost complete Hospital immediately
Diphtheria (possibly fatal)High fever, very sore throat and sometimes a membrane forms across the throat requiring tracheotomy to prevent suffocationClose respiratory contactUntil 2016Almost complete
PoliomyelitisAsymptomatic, possibly temporary fever and rare permanent muscular pain or paralysisFood, waterFor everNot complete
Filariasis (rare)Asymptomatic and possibly diastole and dysfunction of lymphatic vesselsInsectsNot Available

-

Diethylcarbamazine (DEC)
Leishmaniasis (possibly fatal)Slowly progressive lump or wound at the skin, non swollen red ring at the point of bite, high fever, anemia, loss of weightInsects, dogsNot Available

-

Dengue FeverHigh fever, serious headache, body pain and possibly rash or diarrheaInsectsNot Available

-

Rest, paracetamol
Leptospirosis (possibly fatal, rare)Fever, yellow color to the skin and the eyes, hepatitis and renal problemExcreta of rodents and specifically of ratsNot Available

-

Doxycycline
Meningitis (possibly fatal)Sleepiness, delirium, nervous crisis, fever, vomits, headache, malaise and possibly rashes or sore throat or light sensitivityHuman contactUntil 2012Not complete
Cholera (possibly fatal)Diarrhea, vomitsFood, water, not human contactUntil 2009Not completebig amounts of water with salt and sugar
ChikungunyaFever, pain at joints and muscles, headache and possibly skin rashInsectsNot Available

-

Tuberculosis (rare)Asymptomatic, possibly fever, cough, loss of weight, sweating at night, fatigueHuman contact, milky productsNot Available

-

Antibiotic (rifampicin,isoniazid)
MeaslesHigh fever, rash, sore throat and nose, cough, muscular pain, red eyesCough, sneezingFor everCompleteRest, paracetamol
RubellaSwollen adens, low fever, rashes at face, chest and limbs, dry skinCough, sneezingFor everCompleteparacetamol
MumpsSwollen parotid, pain at the back of down jaw when chewing, fever, headache, sore throat and possibly inflammation at testiclesSalivaFor everCompleteparacetamol
PertussisCough, sneezing, sore nose, vomitsCough, sneezingFor everCompleteAntibiotic
VaricellaFever, malaise, headache, red pimplesHuman contactFor everComplete
Plague (rare)Fever, chill, headache, malaiseRodents, mammalsNot Available

-

Doxycycline (7 days)

   I was using Lariam (Mefloquine) for malaria prophylaxis for a whole year. I would use Malarone (250 mg atovaquone + 100 mg proguanil) for self-treatment. I didn’t have any side-effect at all either due to the vaccinations or due to the pills.

   This is my own opinion, which I formed after my personal research. Please, do not count on that information because it may be invalid. I am not responsible about problems that may occur if you apply those advices. Consult the appropriate doctors and make your own research.

Rider’s equipment

The appropriate rider’s equipment is essential for his safety and for sheltering from weather conditions.

  • I chose the Arai Tour-X helmet. Arai makes undoubtedly the safest helmets and that’s enough. Except that, the Tour-X model was, at that time, one of the few enduro helmets with a visor. It was designed exactly for that use.
  • I chose the BMW Rallye-2 jacket. This jacket was used very often at rallies and long trips when various weather conditions were met. It can be used at temperatures between -10 to +55 °C. It has a smart ventilation system which is effective even at very hot conditions. It also has a removable GORE-TEX insert which can be used on cold or changeable weather. However, I didn’t even carry that because I never use it, since I wear the proper sweater anyway. At that time, this jacket was the only one which had the features I wanted, but nowadays there are much more effective and high-quality jackets at a much lower price.
  • I chose plastic knee guards which protect from the shin to the thigh’s bottom. That means that bend as the knee does. Specifically, I chose the Axo KneeGuards.
  • Since I was using extra knee guards, I needed a simple pair of Cordura pants to protect me from scratches in case of accident. I chose the Sidi Stormer pants and I was using them without the inner waterproof liner. I didn’t carry any other pants, so I was wearing those pants 806 days in a row (I was washing them in between, of course!). It was normal to get them worn. The thread at a part of seat and at the side of the rear pockets got removed. I stitched them by myself (thanks to the girlfriend I had at that time, who taught me how to stitch before I started my trip). So, they are almost like new again!
  • I was using simple enduro gloves with Kevlar protection. They were summer gloves, so I could use them in high temperatures. I chose the Axo Vortex. After 1.5 years from the time I bought them they started to get worn and in the next few months they were full of holes. I replaced them in Delhi with new ones.
  • In low temperatures I was wearing liners inside of my gloves. I chose the Warmpeace Powerstretch.
  • The pair of boots I was using was Vendramini Desert-Alp. They are on-off boots. They protect during off-road riding and on tarmac too. They are comfortable enough to wear them all day and I can walk as long as I want on them. The V-tex liner makes them warm at cold weather and fairly cool at hot weather. When new, they are 100% waterproof, but they won’t stay waterproof. Mine lost this great feature after 4 months of traveling.
  • I was wearing a pair of bicycle shorts with foam and a kidney belt for more comfortable riding. The shorts are produced by BBB and they have seams on the area where the rider sits but personally, I don’t have any problem with that. They add enough in the comfort and the kidney belt helps a little bit more. Don’t expect miracles, though.
  • In very hot or very dusty conditions, I was using a pair of goggles which I was carrying for trekking on snow. Their design is the same as on enduro goggles, but they also protect 100% from UV radiation. That’s essential for trekking at high altitudes or on snow. I chose Cebe goggles.
  • I was using molded earplugs to protect my ears from the persistent noise of the wind and my motorcycle. These specific ones don’t block the sound enough, so I could communicate easily with the locals when I needed directions.
  • Also, in low temperatures I was using a set of polyesteric underwears and a full-face inside the helmet to protect the neck and the rest of the head.
  • When it was raining, I was wearing externally a waterproof pair of pants and a jacket. The pants are produced by Orina and the jacket is produced by Colori. Although, both of them are advertised as breathable, I was becoming wet, not because of the rain, but because the sweat gets locked inside them. So, when the weather was hot and it was raining, like during the monsoon in India, I was not wearing them. I was becoming completely wet and I was getting some cool!

   The whole equipment is tested in every possible weather condition from snow to very high temperatures. All of them are colorful with bright colors to be easily seen by the other drivers and pedestrians, because a very often cause of accidents is that they didn’t see the motorcyclist. Also, they have reflectors for night riding, except I rode at night only a few times, when it was necessary.

 

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