Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yikes bikes.

Short version: It turns out, if you don't have a Bulgarian passport, it is "not possible" to buy a motorcycle in Bulgaria and have it registered in your name. I might fly to Germany and buy a bike there instead.

Long version: I woke up early today to head down to the KAT, which is the Bulgarian DMV. I don't know why I thought this would be anything other than a Kafka-Brazil-FRRO nightmare! I wandered around about a hundred different desks with numbers, asking people who looked official as well as people who didn't, "Govorite le angliski?" ("do you speak English?") and then when they said no, "uhh, um, motoziklet registratiya?" and then getting pointed in the vague direction of another 10 desks. Eventually I had to leave to meet my motorcycling friend Ilian.

After we examined some choices last night, today he took me to a dealer who was selling a BMW F650. Now, before you look at the BMW name and think me a rich jagoff, or look at big number and think me a fool, this is a pretty reasonable choice. It was in good shape (Ilian thought), and cost about $2000, but the same dealer had a bunch of scooters, so I inquired about those as well. Found a Peugeot 250cc for $1800. But then I found out about the registration issue. Well, I'd read it on the internet before, but everyone I'd talked to (until now) seemed to think there'd be a way to get the registration done.

I kind of don't want to deal with about three issues at once: I'm new to bikes, new to paperwork required for bikes, and new to getting things done in Eastern Europe. The worst case in the last two is that I'm out about $2000 (if I can't sell the bike) and I have a bike that I have to get rid of somehow; the worst case in the first one is that I crash and die. These are all pretty bad. Let's deal with only two of them.

New plan (I think): head to Germany, buy a bike with "export plates" which means I can register it for 3 months and sell it anywhere; there's an additional cost (still not sure how much, but somewhere in the hundreds of euros counting insurance) but at least it's rather by-the-book.

Funny side note: when I was waiting to meet Ilian, I saw another guy who looked like him from behind, so I walked up and said "Hey, how's it going?" and we had an awkward half second eye contact and he started walking with me, surreptitiously shaking my hand and saying under his breath "Hallo. Ivan." By this point I had realized it wasn't Ilian and sort of stopped and said sorry. Did I just walk into the middle of something?

1 comment:

  1. I shall have to learn to say, "Govorite le angliski?" Happy motorcycle shopping. I started out on a Yamaha 180. Mighty powerful, sounded like a weedwhacker.
    Time to get out of dodge and go to Germany to get a bike; then let the games begin. Not getting the Sophia vibe, but your narrative sounds like a Bryson chapter. Hilarious.