Cristian is a chilean rider that left 3 years ago on his bike, a 2017 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000, towards Alaska. Once he arrived there, he didn’t stop, several thousands of kilometeres he ended up in Europe, last year visiting also Romania. We asked him some questions and if you continue reading below, you will be convinced he is no regular rider.
1.First of all , tell me a little bit about you Cristian. When did you start riding motorcycles and how did you get stuck with this passion? What was your first motorcycle ?
I’m Cristian Huidobro from Chile, I`m 31 years old , former professional motocross rider and I’m deaf, . It all started with motorcycles when I was little, when I was 5 years old, because my mother was a motorcycle fan and a part of my family on my uncle’s side was always related to motorcycles. You probably know him, Carlo de Gavardo, who finished 3rd of the world at the Paris Dakar rally and several times world rally champion. my first motorcycle was a Suzuki LT50 and there was the beginning with my passion for motorcycles until today.
2. How was it to be for the first time on your own motorcycle? Do you remember which was your first trip ?
Well, as I told you before, my first motorcycle was at 5 years old, I remember the feeling of when I first got in the car, you can’t imagine the happiness that went up, and since then I started my career as a professional rider since I was 14 years until 27, which I had to run with many motorcycle brands. Especially motocross and enduro bikes. So I was always related to motorcycles and travel due tp competition in other countries. But I remember perfectly when they gave me a Honda Transalp 650 when I was 18 and that’s when I tried the first motorcycle trips around some parts of Chile and I liked it, but I never thought I was going to get where I am now.
3. I saw in your pictures that you currently ride an Africa Twin CRF1000 that you bought in 2017. Why did you choose this bike for your trip and what do you like best about it ? How many kilometers you have on your odometer and did you had any issues or mechanical failures ?
After selling the Transalp due to lack of use since I had no time, because I was more focused on motocross racing, when I decided to travel through South America, I bought a BMW 1200 GS 2005 that was from my dad who did not use it, where I travel with her 40,000 km and as I say, it is a very good bike but very large and not very comfortable for every land, you know that I come from motocross. So if I was going to travel to Alaska I needed a reliable and comfortable and versatile motorcycle for all types of terrain since I am 50/50. Africa twin, although it is heavy, is a motorcycle that feels light when driving and on the ground it goes very well and has a chassis and perfect angle to do both at the same time and is thin. It is the most similar to an enduro motorcycle. Now it has 138,000 km. Luckily it has not had any mechanical failure. I am my own mechanic and I see the motorcycle every 10,000 km. So far I have only had to change fork seals, front brake discs, basic details, but nothing motor, remains the same. Soon I will check the valves to see how.
4.Since I asked you about your motorcycle, did you make any special preparation to it for these trips?
Talking about preparation .. you know, every mototraveler always have doubts to go on a trip, since there is not much information about motorcyclists around the world to recommend something to you. according to my experience . I was preparing the bike my way. But yes, the most important thing is to carry just and necessary in the suitcases, the least possible weight. You can’t take a whole house haha. essential tools, a small kitchenette, among others, and it is good to have protection bars in case of crash. and very important to carry a satellite GPS “spot” and suspension well regulated throughout the trip.
5. We know that motorcycling and traveling go hand in hand, I saw you did a lot of traveling in America before coming to Europe. How did you start, what was the plan ?
Oh yeah . It’s true a lot of travel throughout America. as I told you before that I made a trip through South America on my dad’s motorcycle in 2016 … there was the beginning of everything because I had always been called to ride a motorcycle for the theme of my trips to the races and making friends in everything the world. First, it was going to be a short plan from Santiago de Chile to Ushuaia, Argentina at the end of the world, which is only approx. 5,000 km of authentic adventure through Patagonia to Ushuaia. My plan was to travel with friends but as I approached the date nobody could. It was where I decided to go alone. which was a great challenge for me. I had never traveled alone. Once I arrived in Ushuaia, I liked it a lot, the plan went from letter to letter but there I met a Spanish guy who had been traveling the world for 2 years and that was where my mind opened, and I decided to travel without a plan back to Santiago, I ended up touring Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, much of Argentina and returned to Santiago.
That’s when I decided to leave everything behind and travel without plan all over America with my Africa twin from Santiago to Alaska without a certain time, watching day by day, the funniest thing is that I never know where I’m going to sleep the next day, fun, right? Haha! It’s the best you can do on such a long trip. You know after 3 years, I’m still traveling without a plan.
6. After America, you decided to come to Europe. Probably many of the riders dream to ride on the roads you did, so choosing Europe for the trip might come natural. But still, what were your reasons to choose Europe?
Once I arrived in Alaska I said o! I did end to end .. and now what? To be honest, I didn’t know what to do … I didn’t know where to go or anything, but I didn’t want to go back to Chile. and because of my career as a professional pilot, I was fortunate to live 2 years in Montreal, Canada. and I have very good motocross friends there. and then it occurred to me to go to their house of surprise haha! it was fun !
I stayed living in Montreal for a while and going through what I needed to go where I didn’t visit when I lived. I thought many times about working in Miami, Florida. but you know . I travel a lot in Europe before on motorcycles, and racing and 2 times doing back packing and I have my friends too, I always get the attention in making Europe by motorcycle, it is the dream of many !! and I knew it would be good since Europe is quite known for the world of motorcycles, has incredible landscapes, and much much to know, that is the reason why it is everyone’s dream.
And in Montreal I was presented with the opportunity to send my motorcycle to England at an incredible cost. and that was the decision to send my motorcycle to Europe where it was the beginning of traveling the next continent.
7. So first you headed for the north part of Europe visiting the Baltic countries till Russia, after that coming back to the south for winter going even in Africa to Morroco and after that back on track around Europe.Covering so much mileage, we would love to hear your opinion on what were the best roads that your rode on, in terms of stunning views, curves, fun factor,etc. What would be your top 5 ?
Yeah, when I arrived in England it was in August, and I knew that I had to go north soon before winter began where I had to go to France quickly, then Luxembourg, Holland, Germany, Denmark to Norway and then to Sweden, Finland and Russia It was already October, I started down in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, then Italy, Switzerland, France, Andorra and arrived in Spain in November, where I decided to go to Africa through Morocco for a while and then for Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia. and then return to Europe 4 months after Africa to do the countries that I lacked from Europe (Ireland, Portugal, Rome, Moldova, the Balkans, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and then Central Asia, where I returned through Siberia to Turkey where I am Currently during the winter, on the top 5, it is a great question because it is difficult for me because there are such beautiful things in the 75 countries that I have visited, but I will do my best to put the best 5.
1.- Colombia: magical! , many mountain routes, curves, trees, very friendly people, and you have beach and mountains at the same time.
2- Mexico:its people, food, beaches, a lot of culture, and has a very mountainous area of Mexico by Chiapas.
3- Patagonia (Chile-Argentina):In Patagonia it is incredible to travel by motorcycle especially. a lot of diversity to see, hot springs, rivers, mountains with peaks, and the famous southern road, the most beautiful of all. totally recommended.
4.- Romania:Europe is generally nice to know, but at the same time it becomes monotome, and once you enter Romania it is a different touch to Europe, it just has very good roads for motorcycle riders, not only transalpine and transfagaran, but also Many 1-way routes where you pass through fields, meet families, their cultures, and that makes Romania very interesting.
5.- Senegal:On the contrary to Europe and America where there are mountains with curves, mountains with peaks, perfect highways, etc. .. reaching Senegal is totally different and interesting at the same time, it is a flat area but with a very interesting diversity between desert and greenish with Palm trees, good weather. and I am very impressed by the culture of the people, the music, the dances, the children. Its beautiful beaches. totally recommended.
8. Since it isn’t all about roads, sometimes touring on a motorcycle is about discovering remote places or historical tourist attractions, and I saw some great pictures on our facebook page, what were the places thatyou enjoyed most on the way and you would recommend others to visit ?(not motorcycle related necessary)
Now, I like to visit few known countries … and beyond going to the tourist. I like more the theme of culture and nature. So it was very interesting for me to go to the countries of Africa, as well as Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan where it was a great cultural impact for me where I did not know much about those countries. and that was what caught my attention. and I also like to discover the unknown and go off-piste to reach the villages where there is nothing and take incredible photos instead of going to the typical way that all tourists go. In the end I balance between nature and city. so I recommend these countries that I mentioned before.
9.Since we are a website that promotes motorcycling tourism in Romania, how did you like Romania ? How did you end up here and what was your experience with our country, in terms of interaction with people, nature, landscapes, roads?
About Romania it was very interesting for me, because I had never gone and knew little of the country for a Romanian friend I knew in Spain, and had heard of its famous mountains. but once it arrived it was impressive for me. totally opposite to the typical countries of Europe, and I loved its mountains, the food, the people, its culture. and I like the routes of 1 way, and it has a very beautiful architecture, and the people treated me very well, and relatives who prepared me delicious food in the mountains of transalpine and transfaragan and making many stops where you have a great view of the nature for this reason I have gone 2 times and I meet I nice super staff from Romania Motorcyle tours in Bucharest who helped me a lot !
10.After the time spent in Romania, would you recommend other foreignersto plan a moto-trip here ? What would you recommend them to see and to do ?
I have previously recommended other mototravelers I have met! , especially I tell you that you have to know transalpine and transgapharan. but not only that, but there are very beautiful cities like brasov, sibiu, sighisoara, bicaz, bucharest, cluj napoca. … ,and the food also , womans too haha .
There is much to see !!! and I will continue to recommend!
11.I believe a very important part of this traveling experience is meeting different type of people. I guess you met other travelers on the way. Do you remember any funny story or interesting encounter that you had on the way?
That’s true ! I have met a lot of travelers around the world, they are few but there are. After I met Spanish, I met another Chilean and an Italian-Australian in Colombia, and I saw them again in Panama, I went with Paolo (Australian) to Mexico, where in Guatemala we met Luis, the Chilean and it was a lot of fun. Suddenly we all separated in Mexico and I went alone to Alaska and met a couple from Brazil on the Dalton Highway. and I woow !! they speak Portuguese ! me too !! It was fun that moment. also a group of 5 swiss in alaska who later received me at home in switzerland !! and then I saw again with Luis the Chilean in Spain! and we went to Africa, and it was very funny because before entering Mauritania we came across 2 Uruguayans, 1 American and a Finnish and it was quite an odyssey for us to cross every border of Africa, bureaucracy, paperwork, visas, etc! fight with the police, corruption and then celebrate the new year in Dakar, Senegal! very good !
12. During these trips did you had any issues or have you ever been in any dangerous situations ?
Luckily it has not happened to me, but if it has touched me countries where there are protests, but luckily I have managed to get out of that, and without problems, I managed to get out of Nicaragua before the political problems, and I got the pass in a protest of indigenous people from Mexico and well they were kind to me thanks to God. and as for Africa I had no problems but if you have to have a lot of patience at the borders with the issue of corruption … I think the worst thing that happened to me was the robbery of my motorcycle suitcases in Barcelona, where I lost all my documents, passports, computer, camera, go pro … in short they are material things that are recovered over time.
13.Since one of the most common reasons or better said the best excuse for many not to leave on this kind of journey is the budget. Did you made an estimation of the amount of money you spent? Or how did you plan or estimated to have enough money for the trip ?
The truth is not easy to leave the comfort zone and leave your country behind. That is the most difficult step of all, but as for the money it depends a lot on the person, the lifestyle, etc, in my case, it also depends a lot on which country you go, I do not see the cost per month, but day to day day, luckily I have a family business and sponsorships that help me sustain the trip, in that case in Europe they are more or less average 50-60 € per day.
But it is variable. Sometimes it is less, in South America, and Central America you can get up to € 20-30 per day, even less. I sleep a lot in campsites and hostels. To hotel almost never and much couchsurfing. but to give a value approx. per month is between € 900-1500.
Also the social networks where I use quite a lot that is instagram @huidobrosinfrenos has helped me to continue with my sponsors through my followers
14. If somebody is thinking about doing this kind of trip and is currently doubtful, what would you advice them ?
As I said before, it is very difficult to leave the comfort zone, work, friends, family, leaving everything behind is not easy at all. But believe me it is the best decision I have made .. life is short. and jobs you can find anywhere, or help too. you’re never alone . Many people are afraid to go around the world alone. just for thinking it’s dangerous. But every country has its bad and good things. but believe me that it is best to go and know with your own eyes that believe the things they say on TV … now I see a different perspective of the world. and I tell those who are initiated to dare! They will not regret it! it’s now or never . That is my way of explaining to others.