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Old 03-06-2009, 04:37 PM   #6
Mr Farkle OP
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Arlington Hts, IL
Oddometer: 130
Riding in Central America

If you've never ridden in Central America, you soon learn that nearly every rule you've been taught in the states is different.

Speed limit signs are pointless and ignored. Octagonal "Alto" signs translate to "you may be liable if you run into someone". Slowing is optional as is looking both ways.

Tumulos (aka topes / speed bumps) are used liberally to slow traffic. For motorcycles, they mean "passing zone" though we are careful around people. This means that the easiest passing is in town, in school zones and market areas. Usually you give the horn a quick beep to let them know you're there. They're the most fun when you can catch air and nearby children cheer. It's an odd feeling to pass a cop, hitting your horn, in a no passing zone, and having nothing come of it. You get over it though.

Within 30 minutes of riding in Central America, I would bet that most foreigners have figured out traffic. You become completely accustomed to passing in no-pass zones, around blind corners, up hills, wherever. Is there a bus coming at you? No big deal. Everyone makes room. Usually.

Then there are the non-traffic hazards. The thousands of kids that you see along the road know to look out. Cows are idiots. Not only do they take up half a lane but they turn their heads to see what is passing them. Potholes, gravel patches, mud slides, washouts, tumulos, etc can be anywhere. Be alert and don't ride at night.

05 R1200 GS
04 950 Adventure
07 TE 610

09 Guatemala trip -
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