I’ve titled this post the shipper’s name for easy reference for riders coming down behind me. There are several couples due through in the next few months. It’s a little long on detail but for travellers that’s helpful.

I set off early yesterday to collect Lucinda. I was a little concerned because Girag have a habit of not shipping on the day promised and because finding a shipment in cargo areas of airports can be a hassle. The only information I had about their whereabouts was this recent description on a blog:

‘ I don’t really know how to explain how to find them, nor do I know that it will remain the same for long, many things are under construction there. They have multiple Girag offices, but at least when I was there you wanted the one co-located under the name Martin Air, in Officina 500. If it is not in Officina 500, you are probably in the wrong place even though it may say Girag.’ 

But I got lucky, I saw a sign with a little Girag logo about 300 feet from the main road on the side of one of the many new buildings.

But first, find security. This is a new step. You need to get an access pass to enter the cargo area. Here are coordinates, wish I’d had them. N4 41.555 W74 08.228.

Go through these doors, get photographed and fingerprinted, leave then either your passport or drivers license in return for a pass, turn around and walk to the security gates on your way to Girag. N4 41.553 W74 08.161.


Go through the doors, knock on the unmarked steel door to the right and ask for Girag. You will have to show them something, so show them your Girag shipping document. The security guy will check your pack and frisk you. Then turn immediately to the left and stand in line here

So this is what I did yesterday morning.

My plan was to clear and receive the bike in maybe 3 hours, go find insurance (SOAT) and get Lucinda to the BMW for the new potentiometer by the time they closed, and cab back to the hotel.

But the guy at Girag was a pain in the ass. It took him an hour to verify my documents and my shipment. It took him another hour to find Lucinda. Then he told me mañana. Well I had nothing to loose at this point so I asked where she was. He said in the warehouse. I asked aqui? He said yes. I asked why tomorrow. He smiled and went back to work. I gathered, being monday morning it was too much work. So I left.

I set off early this morning. Bogota is huge, I had to locate the BMW dealer from the address and had the cab take me there first so I could tag it with my GPS, just to be safe, and then on to Girag. When I got there a huge line-up after receiving a new security tag. Then I got the same fellow, he verified I could pick Lucinda up, so I headed off to aduana (customs). Aduana is at the same GPS coordinates as security, on the 2nd floor.

There was no queue or clues as to what to do so I just walked up to the first person and asked for a TVIP (temporary vehicle importation permit) and a guy asked me to sit down and checked all my documents. For this they are: passport, drivers licence, bike title, Girag documents. He checked them after verifying my immigration stamp and threw me a curve ball. He said I had to get SOAT (insurance) before they could give me a permit.

This is the first time ever I’ve been asked for insurance before aduana. He was good guy so I knew he wasn’t pulling my chain. He also said this would be a good time to get all my photocopies done, including SOAT and the Girag docs. Oh boy. I had planned to do this at leisure on my way to BMW.

So I jumped in acab and headed off to the only hint I knew – large gas stations have SOAT offices attached. So as luck would have it there was one about 2 miles down the road. Here it is N4 40.189 W74 06.775.

I asked the girl for 90 days of segura, she asked me where I was from and all of a sudden this was the most interesting thing ever. When they got to keying in the vehicle number they actually pulled out a magnifying glass to make sure they didn’t make a mistake

Then, incredibly, the señora jefe wanted to double check and they did it again. She used the magnifying glass too, even though the number was completely clear. They were great.

Then, since the day was brightening considerably, I got lucky again. There was a photocopy store 30 feet around the corner

Then, copies made it was back to aduana in the cab.

Security thing again, upstairs and I got handed over by the first fellow who had helped me to another office

And this girl took over ( now I’m only photographing everyone because I received some constructive criticism about the lack of people pics on my blog by email from someone at home a few days ago, so I’m trying this out )

After she was sure everything was in order she said she needed to see the bike and verify the vehicle number. I was excited because I hadn’t seen Lucinda in 5 days. I really wanted to get photos of her in the warehouse but security took my camera and my pack so no luck. Off we went to Girag. Lucinda looked so beautiful I could have kissed her but gave her a quick hug instead as the warehousemen were watching the scene of a great bike and a pretty girl. That done it was back to aduana. I got my permit and went back to pick up Lucinda.

I’m disappointed I couldn’t take photos of her there, but that’s life. I’m even more disappointed I don’t have photo’s of what happened next. I had to ride her out of the warehouse down a slightly bogus ramp. I’d heard that this was a bit exciting, and it was. Everyone in the warehouse came to watch, about 50 people, it was like a circus act. This is the way things are down here btw. People stop to do and watch things. And because I was in such a good mood and had a decent audience I did it at decent speed on my pegs, throwing in a little bit of body language drama as I went over the lip and met the ramp end. I was so proud of Lucinda! It was a great moment.

Then off to BMW, just before they closed. Impressive place

A terrific ride across the whole huge city because we were together again.

The track, by taxi and bike
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4 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Excellent. Loved the story… tense and exciting. Glad it worked out. Magnifying glass and the circus stuff – great.

  2. Tom,

    You say it’s long winded, but in reality you give such an excellent description of the BS you have to go through on these border crossings/shipping houses – really makes us appreciate the completely different mind set and patience one has to have.
    I’d have gone fully ‘postal’ by now…

    • Thanks Tom.
      I travelled with another guy for a few days who said it badly affected his whole experience and he wouldn’t do it again as a result. Specially the corruption around the borders and having your chain pulled repeatedly. For some reason my hardest border, other than Belize/Guate which was a rule problem entirely my fault, was just because of 110 degree heat, not the grief. A solid shake-down is an experience you don’t forget though. Like at the Honduras crossing with the bent cop, can be a bit scary when you’re solo. But that’s why they call it ADV riding! It’s all positive somehow and when they go well it’s very satisfying.

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