Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

Archive for March, 2012

If It’s Tuesday, I Must Be In…

Some of us who “work for a living” may think that “Adventure Riding” is beyond our capabilities.  There’s no way that I’ll ever get to make that epic journey without:

  1. Ditching the corporate shackles, quitting the day to day job and becoming a migrant worker
  2. Ignoring all family responsibilities and spending every nickel earned on vagabond roaming
  3. Growing a beard and abandoning all personal grooming

But when you really look around and think about it, no such extreme acts are necessary.   Do you really have to pile on long days and thousands of miles to start on your way to your dreams?  Think about it.  What is it you really want to accomplish on your journey?

Aren’t you looking for:

  1. Changed surroundings and environment
  2. To meet some new people, learn what they are all about and share some of yourself with them
  3. Enjoy some riding in the elements and experience the heat, cold, wet, dry.  Smell the smells, sweet or dour and experience whatever nature has to give.
  4. Soak in all of the above in a unharried manner without the stresses that we generally have day to day

So when all is said and done, when you examine all of the things you are really looking for in your adventure ride, you need not quit your job, ignore your family, travel months away from home and ride tens of thousands of miles.  No, what you need to do is change your mindset, ride to a place you’ve not been before and experience what nature has to give.  Stop for a few minutes and talk to someone and ask them who they are, what is going on in their day/world and let them know why you have travelled to meet them.

If you are not careful, you will suddenly find that you have created your own adventure.  Your short journey will have reinforced the mantra…

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet, One Ride At A Time

“Lucky Tester”

Yes, I make no bones about it, I am indeed one unbelievably blessed, supremely fortunate, possessed of propitious providence “Lucky Tester”.  So what is a “Lucky Tester” you may ask?  Well dear reader, a “Lucky Tester” is a divinely fortunate person whose spouse enjoys adventure riding as much as I do.  So it’s clear where the “Lucky” aspect comes in.  But where does the “Tester” aspect come in?

Well, it comes in the form of all things riding oriented.  Take for example my Aerostich Roadcrafter riding suit.  Made of Cordura and Goretex, it has a large dual zipper system that allows it to be put on and taken off in seconds.  It’s bulky enough to layer warm clothes under, has plenty of ugly zippered vents for when it’s hot and it has sort of “bulky” ungainly armor.  Overall, it’s quite utilitarian looking but it does its job well.

My lovely spouse however, riding a BMW F650GS at the time, had her sights set on a BMW branded Sahara riding suit.  Wonderfully styled and also functional, it was a two piece riding suit of excellent quality.  But, it was designed to be worn as your riding gear and could not be removed lest you walk around in a t-shirt and underwear.  Additionally, it was more than $300 more than my quite utilitarian ‘Stich. Nonetheless, we proceeded with our individual purchases, me with the ‘Stich and her with her quite stylin’ Sahara.  We then embarked on a couple of rides where it was quite warm.

ZIPPPP!!!!   ZIPPPP!!!!   ZIPPPP!!!!  I was able to open vents and let in cool air.  Zip, and Kim’s pants were falling down.  It started to rain.  ZIPPPP!!!!  I closed the vents and I stayed dry.   Zip, and Kim got drenched.  But she did look quite sexy!  So after a few rides in heat, rain and dust, I had completed the testing.  It was clear that the ‘Stich was the better performer of the suits.

Then came the anticipated question.  “Can I get a Stich of my own?”  Test 1 completed.

I was ready for a new pair of boots having worn down my previous street boots in the LRRS series.  I did a little research and found the Sidi Canyon Goretex likely fit the bill for our type of adventure riding.  I really like the Goretex stuff as you can tell.  Kim on the other hand, was used to Alpinestars race boots and was ready for another pair.

“Are you sure you don’t want some Sidi Canyon Goretex Boots?  They are waterproof, the Alpinestars aren’t.”  “No, I’ve had Alpinestars for a long time and besides these are Max Biaggi boots and they are awesome.”  She was right, they were awesome looking.  But as we headed for our trip to Newfoundland which turned out to be 2 weeks of riding in the rain, this tester found that the Sidi Goretex Canyon boot was indeed waterproof while the sexy Alpinestars Max Biaggi race boot which looked so good on Max and Kim, weren’t.

I did find that my efficiency in testing was increasing, because it did not take the full two weeks of riding in the rain to recognize that the Sidi boots were indeed waterproof, the Alpinestars were not AND ultimately receive the anticipated question.  “Maybe I should get some Sidi Canyon Goretex Boots of my own?”

Finally, I was ready to change from my Arai RX7-RR race helmet and go with something that flowed a bit more air and had more visibility.  The then new Arai XD-3 seemed perfect. So to shorten the test cycle I asked Kim if she wanted one as well.  “No, I like my AGV Rossi replica.  I’m going to stay with that or get a new one later.”  So as we proceeded into a broiling summer, I was riding with my XD-3 with the visor open and as the sun set, all I had to do was tilt my head down so the visor blocked the sun’s rays.  Poor Kim, I could see her behind me in my mirror doing the blinded by the sun left handed salute, trying to block out the descending sun while trying not to block out her vision.  Once again, my test cycle was complete when Kim said, “Should I get one of those XD-3s?”.

So while I often do have to perform a thorough test program to ensure the performance of a particular adventure riding product, it’s one I gladly bear while I recognize what a “Lucky Tester” I am.  Because every time I look in my mirror, or look in front of me, I see my best friend, soul mate and riding buddy covering my six or twelve, and what could be nicer than that!

Oh… I almost forgot.  Does anyone want to buy a barely used BMW Sahara woman’s riding suit?

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time

From The Pegs

Thoughts, musings and diatribes from the people who bring you Ride2Adventure.  Now that we think about it, some of this stuff may be really weird.

Riding Adventure? Just Add Water…

I don’t know about you, but I really like my adventure riding wet.  Yup, wet and sometimes even muddy.  I’ve been lucky enough to have been to a few places around the world.  In those places I’ve ridden across a fair amount of water crossings, hard bottomed puddles and even quite a few soft bottomed ones.  But mix them all together and you have a recipe for riding adventure.  Big splashes, roosts, and the occasional drop combine to make things all the more interesting for you and your riding mates.

I don’t mean the kind of interesting where your bike engine drowns and you’re in for an engine tear down exercise.  I’m talking about the kind of interesting where the flying water, shaking handlebars and changing balance exhilarates your soul.  Where the completion of a deep water crossing provides a sense of accomplishment, a muddy bottom plays tricks sparking momentary fear, and where the occasional fall reminds us that it’s important to stay humble.

All of them remind me that as much as I love to ride and as far as I have ridden in my 30 plus years of riding, whether in the wet and in the dry, I am indeed still a small part of the day-to-day adventure that is life.  You too should get out there, ride and exhilarate your soul… oh, and do it in the wet.

Ride2Adventure – Shrinking the Planet One Ride At A Time

What Effect Does Adventure Riding Have?

Have you ever wondered what effect you have as you travel the planet by motorcycle?  As a participant in two-wheeled roaming, women and men wander across vast stretches of land, riding away the days, potentially with no real destination.  They may watch sunrises in early morning chill and witness sunsets having experienced the searing heat of the day.  They may have ridden through monsoon rains of Southeast Asia or the seemingly ceaseless winds of Patagonia.  Does such riding represent the sorrow of a lonely rider, a “rich” person’s folly, a lost soul’s wanderings or is it something more?

I would argue it’s much more.  While traveling the planet by motorcycle may indeed represent one of the above, it more often represents a person’s desire to observe.  Observe and more often than not, share.  You see, when someone chooses to travel by motorcycle, they have chosen to expose themselves to a myriad of experiences, the effect of the elements and their fellow human beings.  They have consciously made themselves far more vulnerable than they would have been had they surrounded themselves in a cocoon of metal and glass in climate controlled comfort, with cup holders and other conveniences.  No, the motorcycle rider often chooses to bypass these in favor of experiencing the all the planet has to offer.

The smell of the flowers on the spring, the sudden change in air temperature as they pass from searing heat to a pocket of cool air and even the beginning of rain having watched the clouds swell and darken as the day progressed.  And most importantly for many adventure riders, when the wheels stop spinning, a chance to stop and think about the day’s experiences and perhaps share them as well as their journey’s experiences with the people of the community where the rider finds themself.

It’s through this sharing that the adventure rider gives and takes.  She gives others the benefit of her life, the lessons learned, of the things she has seen and knows from the miles she has traveled.  In so giving receives a gift without asking.  The people she shares with often give back more than she has given.  What is their community like?  What have they experienced?  How can they help her?  This giving without really trying furthers understanding between people and communities far more than any politician could.

So the effect of your adventure riding is to further the community of the planet.  Ride to new places, observe and share with others.  Keep riding and everyone benefits.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time

Ride 2 Adventure – Shrinking The Planet One Ride at a Time

Welcome to Ride2Adventure.  A website for adventure motorcyclists and people who are interested in new places and new people.  We hope that you will stop by often and look around.  In the coming months (and hopefully years) we will provide content including ride reports from far away places and perhaps a place near you.  There will interviews with interesting riders who will share their ride experiences and what they found on the road and off the path less traveled.

We’ll do some product reviews and let you know what we think of some adventuring products.  What can’t you leave without and what should you leave behind.  It’s all important when weight and space is limited.

Of course we have to discuss adventure bikes.  A topic which will never be exhausted.  We may not all agree, but they are always fun to talk about.  We at Ride2Adventure go on the theory that “lighter is better”, but there are a whole universe of people that wouldn’t think of traveling on an adventure ride on anything lighter than a big twin cylinder machine.

At Ride2Adventure, the topics are open so long as they revolve around adventure riding and the people who ride them.  So come along, join the adventure.

Mike and Kim Botan