The Dominican Evil Knevil
Julius, the man behind DRpure.com, also happens to be a very accomplished motorcyclist. So when I caught up with him under a palm tree in his Cabarete office, I was eager to find out more.
Other Motor Files:
Ross There's a beat-up old Yamaha and a brand new Kawasaki parked outside. Are either of them yours?
Julius They both are. I got the Yamaha when I first came to the Dominican Republic, and I've just bought the Kawasaki.
Ross How much did it cost?
Julius A fortune!
Ross And was it worth it?
Julius You bet it was! Comparing this bike with my old one is like comparing a Beetle with a Mercedes.
Ross A lime-green Mercedes!
Julius Yeah, I know. They didn't have any other colors.
Ross What kind of engine does it have?
Julius A 300cc four-stroke.
Ross What does that mean in laymen's terms?
Julius Damn powerful! Let's put it this way: my Yamaha is a 125cc, which is what most people use to go off-road in the Dominican Republic. Now if you ride the Kawasaki along a dirt track, you glide rather than bump over the rocks and potholes. It's as if you were in that thing Luke Skywalker used to drive in the first Star Wars movie.
Ross A Landspeeder
Julius Yeah, that's it.
Ross It sounds like your new toy isn't really for beginners.
Julius No, the Yamaha is better for them.
Ross But you're not a beginner, are you?
Julius I got my first bike when I was eleven: an 80cc Suzuki - you know, the type of machine which, at 100 kilometers per hour, sounds like a baby crying. My family lived in the Canadian countryside at the time, and I cut loose like a kid possessed until I was about sixteen. Then I stopped. I guess I got scared that I might get hurt. I'd never fallen off, but the way I was going it was only a matter of time. It was like coming off drugs. I managed to stay 'clean' for the next 11 years, but then I came to the Dominican Republic and got hooked again.
Julius I wanted to explore the country, and quickly realized that the best way to do so was by motorbike. The paved roads are decent enough for all types of vehicle, but the hundreds of kilometers of gravel roads, mud tracks and donkey trails are another story. It was like being back in the Canadian countryside.
Ross Only nicer all-year-round weather!
Julius Sure, that's another great thing about biking in the Dominican Republic. I've also noticed that no one seems to mind about the noise a motorbike makes. This is, after all, the land of motoconchos and merengue music - neither of which are exactly quiet.
Ross So if it's so great, why don't more people come to the Dominican Republic to go motorcycling?
Julius It has to be said that this activity is one of the country's best kept secrets. I only discovered it because I was already interested in bikes; but I don't think it occurs to the average tourist to go on a motorcycle trip when they come to the Caribbean.
Ross Can anybody do it?
Julius Yes - if you know how to drive a motorbike. You can see a lot without having to risk your life on the country's most difficult roads, you know. Some of the best scenery can be taken in at a steady pace without really going off-road, making regular stops for photos, drinks and meals. It's all very relaxed.
Ross And what is there for the more adventurous biker? The kind who might own a lime-green Kawasaki four-stroke.
Julius I also enjoy the more gentle trips - in the mountains around Cabarete, for instance, where the distances aren't as long, the mountains not as high, and the off-road terrain as diverse as you'll find anywhere. What I really like to do, though, is ride in the Dominican Alps. There's real hardcore off-road stuff up there - the ideal opportunity to really test out my new bike.