Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

Archive for December 5, 2012

Can You Have An Adventure On A “Guided” Motorcycle Tour?

DSC08857-XL

I had often asked myself whether was possible to have an “adventure” on a guided motorcycle tour.  Or put more succinctly does a guided motorcycle tour constitute an adventure ride?  Is it really an adventure if somebody has done all the homework, planned all the routes, figured out all the stops, determined the best places to ride and you just follow behind them? Purists would probably argue that it’s not really an adventure if you follow somebody’s planned route, enjoying the fruits of their labor and simply enjoying what’s presented in front of you.  Others would argue that as long as you embrace the idea of adventuring you are indeed on an adventure ride.

So where do I stand on this issue?   On this one I am firmly in the middle. For me there’s no doubt the planning your entire route doing all the homework, planning all the stops, and managing all the issues that pop up during the trip really do require quite a bit of work and hence could make the ride seem to be more “adventuresome”.  Then there’s the other side of the coin that says if you plan everything, and there are no unknowns, there is no adventure.  But wait, there’s even a third side to the coin (now that’s something!) and that is riding in a guided motorcycle tour.  In this case, someone has already done all the planning and on top of it, there are people on the trip that help you manage any issues that may pop up.  Some might ask, “where’s the adventure in that?”

I must admit, that until a little while ago, I was one of those persons who held that if you didn’t do all the planning and manage the issues on your own, it wasn’t an adventure ride.  But with age, my stance has softened quite a bit.  Frankly, as I’ve gotten older, I really don’t care about what people think.  I don’t need to be a symbol of “macho-ness” and I don’t need to obtain anyone’s approval of how a ride was executed.  Whether I ride solo or travel with friends in a group led by a company that we paid to support our ride.  I don’t care because how I ride really doesn’t make the ride an adventure or not.

If you want to ride solo into the heart of Eurasia with nothing more than a dual sport single and soft luggage, great.  But if you want to do a similar trip with a company who helps you get across borders, assists with mechanical fixes and carries your gear in a support vehicle, that’s great too.  It’s what you get out of the ride, what you encounter, experience, share and learn along the way that is important.  Did you make something of your trip?  Did you see new things and interact with new people?  Did you learn a thing or two along the way?  Did you encounter weather, road hazards, mechanical problems, difficult people, whatever.  All of those things are part of the adventure ride and they exist on any kind of ride be it solo or with a paid group.  In fact, one might argue that riding with a group is more of an adventure because you have to deal with a group of people in close confines which itself can be quite an adventure!

So what does this boil down to?  For me, adventure rides aren’t really just the planning or the execution of a ride or riding in difficult terrain or conditions.  When you step back and think about it, adventure rides are more about the experiences aren’t they?  Planning, riding solo or with very limited supplies and no support can be elements of making an adventure ride fulfilling for the rider.   But I would argue it’s not the most important part.  No, it’s what you get, what you take away and what you share during the ride that really makes the trip an adventure.

Ultimately, it’s really how you approach the ride that will tell you whether it was an adventure or not. Adventuring doesn’t just happen as a result of your planning it happens as a result of the overall experience.  Don’t let someone tell you that your ride was or was not an adventure.  You are the only one that can make that decision.  If you felt the excitement, if you felt the challenge, if you had some new experiences, then I say you had an adventure.  The hard part is keeping all the excitement, challenge and new experiences in your rides so that you can continue to feel the adventure.

So, can you have an adventure on a “guided” motorcycle tour.  Sure, it’s what you take from it that will be the mark of the adventure.   At, least that’s my take.  Let’s hear yours!  Please leave some comments with your thoughts!

IMG_4362-XL