How did you come across Fuel Motorcycles, and what motivated you to choose our brand's gear for your journey?
Fuel first hit my radar when looking for inspiration for my old Himalayan. I stumbled upon your “royal rally 400" and was blown away. It led me to investigate the brand further, and I was hooked when I saw the combination of stylish and practical bike gear. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few pieces over the years and have always been impressed with the quality, so when I saw that you guys had released an adventure bike range, I knew it was going to be perfect for this trip.
Walk us through the highlights of your travel route in Ecuador. Any particular destinations or scenic spots that stood out during your journey?
Oh man, where to begin? Ecuador has such an array of landscapes and climates. From snow-capped mountains to tropical rainforests. All weather, all temps. We were out there to shoot for a bike rental company, so there wasn’t a real set route, just a GPS with a few key points around the country we wanted to explore. We departed from the modern and bustling city of Quito and headed north to Piñán, a small indigenous village in the Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve. After a few days in the north exploring the towns and trails, we headed south into the depths of the Amazon rainforest to fish and explore with the locals. We then heard wind from a local about these mystical sand dunes at the base of the Andes en route to the highest point in Equador, Chimborazo. From there, we headed west to the coast to surf, rip bikes on the beach, and drink pina coladas under palm trees.
In terms of performance, how did your bikes handle the diverse terrains and weather conditions encountered in Ecuador?
All I’ve heard from my time in the bike world is how good the Yamaha Ténéré 700 is. So when I found out I was going to be riding one for 3 weeks, I was like a kid at Christmas. It is literally just a big dirt bike. No tech, no riding modes, just ABS on or off. We were riding on a vast array of terrain. Slippery volcanic ash, deep sand, technical rocky sections, and long stretches of tarmac. The bikes handled everything we could throw at them and just kept going. Admittedly , probably a bit big for the trails we were taking them on. We would often get passed on the technical sections by locals on XR250s just skipping over the rocks, but we were grateful for the size of the longer road sections. To me, the Ténéré is a real adventure bike.
Share with us a couple of standout moments or experiences from your motorcycle trip that were particularly memorable.
The two riding experiences that will stay with me forever are the journey to Piñán and the sunset ride on the beach accompanied by wild horses.
The road to Piñán was the most humbling but incredible ride of my life. To access this village, it's about 5/6 hours of riding on the worst road I've ever seen. It's not quite a trail; it's not quite a road. It's miles and miles of wet, slippery volcanic ash. Hill climbs, tricky decents, waist-deep ruts, sheer drops, and watercrossings. Did I mention it was torrential rain as well? I always thought of myself as quite a good rider, but after picking up the bike for the 8th time in 20 minutes, I was well and truly humbled. After many hours, we finally made it and were given a warmest welcome by the local community. Bed has never felt as good as that day.
The second was the beach ride at sunset. We were staying in this little surf town on the coast and hopped onto the beach among the sunbathers and headed a few kilometres up the beach until we were totally alone. There isn’t a single feeling that can compare to riding bikes on a beach. Add your friends and beautiful landscapes, and it's truly a moment you'll never forget. We were shooting there for a few hours until the sun started to set. Out of the corner of my eye, I see something moving down the beach—a pack of wild horses that have joined us to catch the sunset. It was like something from a movie! We rode past, and they began to chase us! I had my camera by my side and shot one of the most incredible photos I’ve ever taken. One of those moments where I can't actually believe this is my life.
Let's talk about the gear. How did you prepare, and what specific Fuel Motorcycles items were crucial for your comfort and safety during the trip?
For this trip, we grabbed the astrail jacket and gloves, the endurage jacket, pants, gloves, and the Rainer suit. Peter and Semmy had the astral gear for swapping in and out of the Camrea, and I was in the endurage gear. All the kit worked exactly as it should. Layers for the colder days, vents for the warm days, and waterproof layers for the downpours. all while looking cool. We also had our fair share of falls, and kept us all safe. For me, the real MVP of the trip was the Rainer suit. It's super easy to throw on and off at the drop of a hat. also packed down super small to fit in a backpack. Bonus points for not making me look like I was wearing a binbag.
For fellow adventurers considering a motorcycle trip, what advice would you give?
Don’t stress the planning too much. Just get out there with a few goals or locations, welcome anything new that comes along, and just go with it. Adventures are best when you don't have a clue what your next step is.
Reflecting on your journey, is there anything you wish you had known or done differently?
It sounds cliche, but I wouldn't change a thing. The whole trip was incredible. There were highs and lows, fallouts and comings together, but it all made for the most incredible story and an adventure I will never forget. Maybe I could have taken a few more photos, but sometimes you just need to let yourself get lost in the moment and be truly present.
Do you have any future travel plans or potential motorcycle adventures on the horizon?
I am currently planning a little Moroccan moto/surf adventure to escape these horrendous winter days back home. Watch this space.