The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we attempt to barge onto a barge, experience ferry nightlife and end up at a castle in the rain. You can ride along with us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the below into your web browser:
We hope you come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been published. This time we line up for more ferries, experience early morning beer, get carte blanche while road racing and hang out with King Julien. It’s just part of the German and Dutch experience.
If you’d like to come along for the ride CLICK HERE. If this doesn’t work, cut and paste the following link into your web browser:
We hope you join us!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. We roll into Norway and right into Oslo. Meeting up with our riding friend Bjorn, we find thousand year old Viking ships and artifacts, visit with some people preserved in metal and stone, ending up checking out light rail vehicles.
You can ride along with us by CLICKING HERE or cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:
We hope you come along for the ride!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we visit a centuries old recovered and restored warship, make a “mandatory” stop at a Swedish Ikea and listen to country music… in Sweden. You can join us by clicking HERE or cutting and pasting the below link into your web browser:
We hope you decide to come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time we leave Lithuania, get a pickle pizza, witness pyromania and find two new friends. You can ride along with us by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting the link below into your web browser:
We hope you come along!
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, Kim crashes a gate, we get fed from a giant silver bowl, visit Dr. Seuss’s secret home in the Czech Republic and run from a paparazzi hating dog. It all happens as we leave Slovakia and travel through the Czech Republic into Poland. You can travel with us by clicking HERE or by cutting and pasting this link into your web browser:
We hope you come along!
The latest Episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. This time, we ride even more mountains, find a motorcycle in a rotary and check out some ancient Roman ruins and attend a party in town. We’re in Slovenia and it is awesome!!!
Click HERE to join us. If the link does not work, copy and paste the below into your web browser.
Come ride with us for the next part of our journey.
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has just been posted. While this time we are off the bikes, we do the Royal Walk up a mountain and then roll down it on 3 wheels. A very entertaining day. We’re sure you will enjoy it.
We’re getting excited to start Phase 2 of our Planet Ramble. Last year we rode across North America from Vermont, USA to Alaska, USA. For Phase 2 will we be shipping our bikes (both Ducati Scramblers) to London to start a large clockwise circular route. Although subject to change depending what we find and see along the way, we should be traveling through England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France. We’ll return to England and fly back to the USA.
We will be storing the bikes in England until March, 2018 when we’ll return to London and complete counter-clockwise journey through Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Once leaving southern Morocco, we will head north and once back into Europe, head east, ultimately spending some time in Italy, before returning ourselves and bikes to London for return to the US. This part of the journey is exciting and we’ll be posting about what we’ve seen and done as we travel.
Once again, we will have a satellite tracking capability so you can see us in real time as we travel. We’ll post link and additional info soon.
The latest episode of our Planet Ramble has been posted. Riding the remainder of the Cabot Trail, we stop to visit some old friends and make new ones we hadn’t planned on. You can find it by CLICKING HERE, or by cutting and pasting the link below:
We hope you enjoy the latest.
Rode today from Gillette, Wyoming to Shell Wyoming. Route 14 traverses the Big Horn Mountain and it’s absolutely amazing. As good and exciting as any in Europe. Wow! Oh yeah, it’s over 1000 feet down on the other side of the guardrail.
Check out the GPS on my bike to see what the curves on the pass looked like.
Today we rode through Custer State Park and we can say it is all it’s cracked up to be. Significant twisties, deserted gravel roads and wildlife abound. Had a great time until we hit thunderstorms and headed for home.
We are about to head out on a long ride that may encompass many places and countries. We are very excited and will be leaving tomorrow, June 6, 2016. We will be chronicling our journey here on Ride2ADV.com as well as ADVRider. For the complete story and pictures from our travels, click HERE and you will be re-directed to ADVRider where we will be posting all the details of our journey complete with pictures.
We will also have a Spot satellite tracker that will update our position in real time. So if you want to see where we are 24/7, all you have to do is come to this page and click HERE or copy and paste this link
into your browser to see where we are.
We hope you’ll come along for the ride!
Those of us who ride off road and enjoy using the land for responsible recreation are a giving, caring, protective, volunteering lot. We do more for trail maintenance, upkeep and responsible use than most. Unfortunately, there are a few of us who do not fall into this category and abuse the land without thought. Because of this, governmental agencies seeking to “protect the land from misuse” often “fix” the issue by imposing user restrictions and charging user fees. They believe that they know what’s best for all of us, and that their methodologies are the only way to do so.
We know that governmental agencies while good intentioned, governmental solutions often utilize bureaucratic and administrative means to “save the environment” by onerous methods. One of the most recent in the USA is the National Park Service’s plan to limit access to these important recreational areas. The NPS is presently taking comments to their proposed action in limiting access to a well loved and important recreational area in Utah called “White Rim Trail”. This beautiful trail travels long the rim of the Canyonlands National Park Canyon and is an amazing beautiful natural resource that should be available to all.
To “protect” White Rim and the general area, NPS is proposing the following:
The National Park Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to require permits for all motor vehicle and bicycle day use on the White Rim and Elephant Hill roads in Canyonlands National Park. Requiring permits for day use on these increasingly popular roads will help the park better protect resources and the visitor experience in these wild and remote locations.
For the White Rim road, a total of 50 day use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 50 day use bicycle permits will be issued each day. Group size will be limited to three vehicles and 15 bicycles.
A total of 24 day use vehicle permits (including motorcycles) and 12 day use bicycle permits will be issued each day for the Elephant Hill road. Group size will be limited to three vehicles and 12 bicycles.
While we support the preservation of important recreational lands, the NPS’s proposal is not the means to accomplish it. Their plan will limit access to 50 day use vehicles (which includes motorcycles) and 50 bicycle permits. Each vehicle and bicycle must obtain a permit prior to using the land. Even more ominously, NPS will be limiting group size to 3 vehicles (and 15 bicycles). NPS indicates that no fee will be charged for the 2015 – 2016 season, but they make no such assertions for the period beyond.
We can’t sit idly by while the Government continues to encroach on our land. It’s not the Government’s land, it’s your land and my land. So please, pay attention to land grabs like this and the many others that occur not only in the USA, but around the world. Speak up and make your voice heard. Write your legislators and tell them what you think and want. Email, snail mail, call. Do Something! Otherwise, what was once your land and my land will become the land of the government.
So, start now. Even if you do not use White Rim, or ever plan to use White Rim and the surrounding areas, take the time now to have your voice heard by those who would limit your access. Click here and let the Government know what you think. If you need some fodder for your comment, you can cut, paste and edit the below:
I am are quite concerned about the additional restrictions the National Park Service continues to impose upon law abiding land users. While the National Park Service’s goals may be well intentioned, the users themselves should be responsible for the appropriate and safe use of the land. Additional user fees and restrictions on usage do not improve the land or the overall use of the land. Responsible User Groups in concert with public education provide more appropriate oversight of our important natural and recreational resources.
NPS’s proposed actions continue to restrict access and impose fees which do not support the rights of the users. I consider NPS’s proposal to restrict access to 50 motorized vehicles per day and no more than 3 vehicles to a group is overly restrictive and does not further the goals of protecting the land. Please do not restrict access to the lands that belong to the people. NPS’s proposal, while well intentioned, restricts and reduces access to the lands that ALL citizens are entitled to enjoy.
If you don’t take action now, your right to ride will continue to shrink. Thanks for taking the time to read this and more importantly, make your voice heard by commenting using the link above. For a brief look of what it is like at Canyonlands National Park, check out the video below. Don’t lose your access!
With the 2015 Dakar Rally recently completed and the final results published, I could do little more than marvel at the skills, endurance and mental strength of the riders that had completed the entire rally. One hundred sixty-one motorcycle competitors left Buenos Aires on the 4th of January 2015 and only seventy-nine arrived at the finish line once again in Buenos Aires nearly two weeks later. That’s means that more than half the field of highly skilled, motivated and driven riders were not able to make it to the finish line.
Of the 161 riders that entered the event, only two were women. Both were able to finish meaning for the women, there was a 100% success rate. Finishing 9th overall, Laia Sanz was the highest woman’s finisher in the history of the Dakar. As you can imagine, Laia is not new to the off road world and her racing resume is impressive. She is a thirteen time Women’s Trial World Champion and ten time Women’s Trial European Champion in Outdoor Motorcycle Trials. She has also formed part of the Spanish Female Team in the Trial des Nations, winning it five times (2000, 2002, 2008, 2010, 2011).
In 2010 competed in the Women’s Enduro World Championship for the first time. And also in 2011 participated, for the first time, in the Dakar Rally winning the Female motorcycle category and finished 39th overall, position that she managed to better this year.
The other female motorcycle competitor was Spanish rider Rosa Romero Font. Wife of Dakar winner Nani Roma (A Dakar champion on bike cars) Rosa finished 52nd overall at the age of 45. This was her 4th Dakar and her first finish.
In this intensely physical and mental challenge, these two women riders were able to compete with the men and finish better than most of the starting field. Yet they drew very little attention from the media on their accomplishments. You have to wonder why. They compete on the same level as men, often on “inferior” non-factory machines. This year Laia was on a factory sponsored Honda and was able to provide the highest women’s finish in the history of the Dakar.
Her result may beg a question. “Should there be separate divisions for men in women in the Dakar, or is it better to leave the Dakar as it is?” Would having separate dedicated divisions bring more attention to the women of the sport and perhaps more female competitors for the future. Would creating separate divisions create an unnecessary rift between the men and women competitors and over inflate the women’s finishers performance in light of the current small female fields?
I don’t have the answer, but would like to hear what you think.
Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time
Recently, Kim and I were having dinner at a small roadside café in the tiny town of Woodstock, Vermont. We enjoy it because it’s small, has a nice atmosphere and is a place where we can bring a bottle of our own wine and enjoy a meal. It was near closing time and the café was getting ready to close when a pick up truck pulled up and a couple got out. The owner of the restaurant met them at the door and told them that she was getting ready to close, but could make them a light dinner before she did so.
The couple said that they were just looking for some takeout dinner and ordered from the menu. During this time, Kim and I sat at our table and finished our dinner. Our bottle of wine had a little more than a glass left so we offered it to the couple who had walked in. The man of couple accepted the wine, introduced himself as Frank and thanked us. We told him it was our pleasure and after some very brief pleasantries, we paid our bill and left.
The following week, we were back at that same little café. The owner told us that the couple had purchased my book, “Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe. Where To Next?”, that they were long time riders and that they had a part in resurrecting the iconic Indian Motorcycle Brand. I was pleased that they had purchased my book, but I felt a little angry at myself for not reaching out to them to chat more before we headed out the door. We shouldn’t have been in such a rush.
Here’s where we get into the part of the Motorcyclist’s connection. Just a couple of days later I received a comment on R2ADV from who else but Frank. He thanked us for the wine again and suggested that we meet as a couple sometime. I immediately responded and told him that we’d enjoy getting together again to spend some time talking about motorcycles and motorcycling. We made plans to meet at the same café the following weekend.
Kim and I arrived a bit early and soon Frank and his wife Barbara arrived. For a while, we had the basic chit-chat about where we lived, what we did and what we liked about the town of Woodstock. Before we knew it, we were talking about motorcycles. Frank and Barbara told us some excellent stories about riding and how motorcycles had been a part of their lives for a long time. Frank told us of how he used to pick Barbara up on the motorcycle when they were dating. Soon, Barbara wanted to ride and Frank was the one on the back seat. The only problem was that when they came to a stop, Frank had to put his feet down to keep the bike upright. He also said that Barbara was an accomplished rider and recounted the time that he was on the back and awoke when Barbara was passing a tractor trailer at full throttle. Clearly, motorcycles had been a part of their life for a long time.
The more we chatted, the more we learned about each other. They were cruiser oriented pavement riders and we told them that we were more gravel and adventure oriented riders. Frank has been and still is a captain of industry and enjoyed several years resurrecting the Indian Motorcycle brand chartered in Springfield, Massachusetts. Barbara invests in and improves real estate as one of her many projects. She also led the Indian Motorcycle cross-country ride from the original Springfield, Massachusetts plant to the new one in Gilroy, California before Indian was sold to Polaris. We on the other hand led significantly more mundane business lives. Frank and Barbara were more comfortable wearing leather on their rides, while Kim and I were more comfortable in cordura and Gore-Tex. They enjoyed the quiet and solitude of riding without communications, their minds free to roam while they enjoyed the sights and sounds of the road. We on the other hand prefer to have electronic communications so we can keep track of each other and perhaps chat a bit about what we were seeing and feeling.
So as we talked about motorcycles and the places we had ridden, it became clear that although we had different riding styles, we were united by motorcycles and riding. It didn’t make a difference that they were more pavement oriented and we more gravel oriented. It didn’t matter at all. What mattered was that we all had a love of motorcycles that supplied a bond unfettered by any of those other life constraints.
Before we knew it, a couple of hours had passed. In fact, we connected so well that Frank asked us if we’d like to see his bikes and take a tour of his garage. He didn’t have to ask either of us twice and we both almost simultaneously said yes! When we arrived, Frank opened the door, and what a sight! Lined up neatly on the right hand side were about twenty bikes. Filled predominantly with Harleys and Indians, the space gleamed with chrome from both new and old machines. There were new Harleys and classic Harleys. There were original classic Indians and Indians that Frank and Barbara had resurrected from the ashes of the old company. There was even an old Indian side hack with a working hot dog stand attached. Seeming somewhat out of place was a red Moto Guzzi screaming to be released to the road. It is one of Frank’s favorite rides and if I owned one, it would be one of mine as well.
So as we stood there in Frank’s garage, I thought about how lucky we were to meet people like Frank and Barbara. A chance meeting had brought about a new friendship united by motorcycles and riding. We learned more about the pavement world and we shared a bit about adventure riding. It was a great experience for the both of us (I hope).
So don’t let the differences between types of motorcycles become a dividing factor. Use it as a uniting tool and learn a little more about what your fellow riders are all about. So Frank and Barbara, our invitation still stands. If you want to get a taste for adventure riding, we have the space and the bikes to give you an introduction. We hope to meet you both again, perhaps on the gravel?
I received an email the other day from a Kiara Wilson of Motorcycle House (www.motorcyclehouse.com) a few days back. She had seen our site and asked if we were interested in doing a review of some of their riding gear. They would make the gear available for free if we would agree to review it on our site giving our honest opinion.
I did a precursory check of their website and found that much of Motorcycle House’s gear is cruiser oriented, so I initially declined adding that we don’t really use cruiser gear and therefore couldn’t give an honest opinion.
Kiara suggested that I spend some more time on their site and browse through all their items and let her know if there was anything we would be interested in reviewing. While I was browsing, Kiara suggested that I might be interested in the Thor Phase Jacket. So I checked it out and it seemed to be a nice piece of enduro gear.
I reinforced the fact that I would give an honest review and that there were no promises that the review would be positive. But I did promise that the review would be honest. I also let her know that it was the middle of winter in New Hampshire, so I likely would not be able to give a full riding impression until things warmed up. Kiara agreed to all of this and as such I agreed to do a review of the jacket. Before I knew it, a Thor Phase Jacket arrived at my home.
I opened the box and was surprised at the contents. My first impression was positive. The quality seemed good, but the engineering of the jacket was what impressed me. The front of the jacket had two 12 inch long air vents complete with waterproof zippers. These types of zippers are more expensive compared to the normal zippers. The pulls are good sized and you can open and close them with a gloved hand. There was none of the “stickiness” that waterproof zippers sometimes have. The main zipper of the jacket is not waterproof but it does have an inch wide flap covering it with Velcro to hold the flap over the zipper. For normal riding it should do a good job of keeping the wet outside where it belongs. The back of the jacket has a similar 15 inch air vent zipper.
Inside the jacket is a mesh inner liner to help move the air around your body and keep the outer shell of the jacket off your body. There is also a an inner pocket lined with fleece big enough for your smart phone/music player. It even has a flap with Velcro to hold your ear bud cord in place. Nice.
An interesting feature are the zip off sleeves. So if it’s really hot out there and you are comfortable riding without the additional protection sleeves provide, they can be quickly removed and replaced when things cool off a bit.
Near the cuff of the left sleeve is a small 6 x 4 inch zippered compartment with a clear cover. It seems to me that this would be a good place to store your license or other motorcycle documents. This is perfect if you find yourself in one of those aww, sh!# situations where you have to produce documents.
The cuffs are also adjustable with a zipper and Velcro tabs to set the adjustments. So on those hot days with the sleeves on, you can also open the cuffs and leave them wide open for some cooling airflow.
In the back of the jacket is a built in ditty bag that could hold perhaps some light tools, a tire tube and similar gear. It could even hold those zip off sleeves. The compartment also contains a belt so that you can fold up the jacket into the compartment and wear it like a bum bag. This is a great idea for those “off the bike” times.
So all in all, not yet having ridden with the jacket I am pretty impressed. It seems like a good piece of kit and I am anxious to try it out.
Does the above mean that there isn’t anything I don’t like about the jacket? No, but my concerns are quite minor. This is a Thor piece of gear and has roots in the Motocross world. As such, the graphics are a bit much for me. The jacket itself is black, but there are some graphics applied that I could do without. It also has some sewn on rubber bits with the Thor logo on it that I don’t care for. But other than those niggles, I’m a pretty happy camper with the jacket and the fact that Motorcycle House made the gear available to us for free.
Stay tuned for a riding impression and video when things warm up.
I don’t generally write about podcasts, but lately I’ve been listening to a podcast that stands heads and shoulders above anything I’ve heard in the past about adventure riding. Adventure Rider Radio (www.adventureriderradio.com) has had my attention for weeks and it’s time that I let everyone in on my little secret.
Adventure Rider Radio’s host Jim Martin not only is the commentator, but also produces a high quality podcast filled with interviews from well known and not so well known adventure riders. In fact, I was quite surprised to listen to a list of guests that included:
- Simon and Lisa Thomas (aka 2RidetheWorld)
- Grant Johnson from Horizons Unlimited
- Simon Pavey (Dakar Competitor and Instructor to Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman)
- Sam Manicom (author of 4 world wide motorcycle adventure books)
- Austin Vince (round the world rider and producer of the films Mondo Enduro and Terra Circa)
Obviously, interviews with people like these is entertaining and with the thoughtful questions posed by Jim, the interviews are nothing short of spellbinding.
All in all, Adventure Rider Radio is a treat to an adventure rider’s ears. Do yourself a big favor and listen to one of the many podcasts. It won’t be the last one you listen to. You can download the podcasts at iTunes or via RSS feed at the Adventure Rider Radio site (www.adventureriderradio.com)
Give Adventure Rider Radio at try, you’ll come away impressed!
Ride2ADV is pleased to announce that we have been published in the September/October issue of RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel magazine. This article tells the story of our travels through the island nation of Iceland. A place of diverse and exciting landscapes. Within a day’s ride, you can see ocean, mountains, glaciers, volcanos and icebergs. Off road sections provide amazing riding with differing surfaces of gravel, sand and lava.
Digital copies are available now, with print copies available at newsstands nationwide starting next week. If you’d like to purchase a digital copy now, click here.
We hope you enjoy the article and pictures. Several depict Kim’s riding prowess.
Mike and Kim
Ride2ADV along with their faithful companion Mr. Cotton will soon be riding the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (CODBR). From the 4 corners of the US where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah merge all the way to the Wyoming border. There are sure to be lots of exciting gravel roads/trails to ride. We will be posting as we travel so if you want a taste of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery route, be sure to follow the R2ADV site for real-time updates and photos.
We’ll be using a Spot satellite tracker so you can watch us travel read time with position updates every 5 minutes. The map will become active Saturday, June 21, 2014.
With the publication of my first book, Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? I learned my first lesson about being an author. I quickly learned that I needed to grow a thicker skin. As many of you know, for the first five days of the book’s publication, I offered the electronic version free to everyone who would like a copy. A few hundred copies were downloaded and I eagerly awaited the first review. It took a few days, but the first one appeared from Jennifer H-W “allweathers”
As I started to read, I immediately knew that the review was not a good one. In fact, it was a scathing and deeply venomous one. I’ve inserted the entire review below:
“I feel a little bad about this review because the author comes across as a nice man but he cannot write. It is patently obvious from the beginning that he is totally out of his depth. Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess. What is more, he waxes lyrical throughout about the ‘adventure’ he and the saintly Kim are having on their motor cycle trip through Europe but this is NOT an adventure. This is a high end tourist visit, they stay in the very best of accommodation and eat in high end restaurants and barely experience the true nature of the various places they visit. I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.”
My heart sank. Could my book really have been that bad? Prior to its publication, it had been read by a few friends and each of them said that they had enjoyed it. So how could several people pre-read the book, and when published, generate such a negative and personal review?
My initial feeling was one of hurt. I had spent much time and effort writing the book and it had taken a significant part of my life. The next feeling was anger, particularly when the commentator personally ridiculed Kim. She doesn’t know Kim and the personal verbal attack was way out-of-bounds. In closing the commentator felt it important to state that the price of the free book was too expensive.
After reading the comment, I spent a couple of days being quite down. I felt like the review was inaccurate, as well as personal assault on Kim and me. I wasted a fair amount of time dwelling on the topic but then it dawned on me. I was indeed wasting my time worrying about the first review.
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion and this person was entitled to hers. But as I re-read the review, I could see that she was writing not about the book, but about herself. She seemed like a jealous, angry person who was attempting to prove their worth to the reading community. But in leaving a review such as the one she left, she made it clear that she hadn’t really comprehended the book and was more intent in leaving a negative review than in providing the community with a helpful summary.
Some of her stated facts were wrong “they stay in the very best of accommodations” is an incorrect statement as we spent several nights places that were far from the very best. For example, our night outside of Rodez in a third floor, 6 X 8 un-air-conditioned 90 degree room with music blaring until 2:00 AM was certainly not the very best of accommodation. But it certainly was a safe place to lay our heads for the evening.
Accordingly, what I took from this part of her review was that my story telling attempts to relay the best about the particular person, place or thing had been accomplished. She apparently keyed on these descriptions and transposed her dislike of these good things. In her mind, clearly you can not have an adventure if you are not feeling pain or discomfort. Suddenly she seemed to be a very sad person.
Her verbal attack on Kim, referring to her as “saintly” once again seemed to point to her sadness. To take the time to distinctly single out Kim as “saintly” seemed to me to indicate that someone special was missing from her life and her lashing out was an indication of jealousy.
It also seemed she knew that she was going to be over the top with her review and felt it necessary to point out that she was trying to be fair. Her words were. “Painful is the only word I can use, I am still completely perplexed as to why I finished it, I wanted to be fair I guess.” If she really wanted to be fair, she would have been factual and left out the barbs. But no, she felt it important to include them to prove her own superiority. Sorry Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, writing a “review” and filling it with personal barbs does not make you a superior commentator, it just makes you seem lonely and angry.
Lastly, she felt it important enough to indicate, “I got this e-book through Amazon for $0.00…..and that was too expensive.” Well Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers”, I am sorry that you apparently feel that way, and that you spent $0.00 for the book. That was the lowest price I could offer. Now that you’ve read Mr. Cotton Wanders Europe: Where To Next? you will not have to endure such misery again.
In closing, I sincerely wish Ms. Jennifer H-W “allweathers” a happier and less angry life. I also want to thank you for teaching me a lesson. Going forward I promise to have a thicker skin, and take each review for its true worth.
If you’d like to know a little more about us, check out the article in today’s Sunday Manchester Union Leader. It was fun to be interviewed and even more fun to see it printed!