Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time


Why We Ride

We recently had a wonderful experience that we would like to share with you.  As you can tell, we have always been a big proponents of the community that is the motorcycling family.  For over 30 years, motorcycling has always held a cavernous place in our hearts.  To  us, it has been a means to explore, share, learn and enjoy.  As we’ve ridden, we met new people and made long term friends.

We’ve discovered that motorcycling is more than a “lifestyle”, “brotherhood”,  “fraternity”, “sorority”, or “club”.  To us, motorcycling is all about family.  There are no individual boundaries, barriers or divisions.  Just a large and open family that invites all into its waiting arms with no expectations or requirements other than enjoying travel on two wheels.

While there may be differences between family members as in all families, those differences are transcended by the larger community that is the motorcycling family.  We all have a common bond and we believe that the world is a little better because of it.

While the motorcycle family is quite encompassing as a whole, its role as a builder of family relationships is clear.  Families that ride together stay together.  They develop a bond made stronger by the sharing of the ride.  Kids hanging out at malls, or staring into electronic devices for hours on end is replaced by sun, wind, exercise and most importantly of all, communication between family members.  The very task of riding in itself brings us all together.

“How did the ride go?”  “What’s the track like?”  “Did you work on the bike this weekend?”  “Do you want to go for a ride?”  All these things bring us together and cause us to talk and share.  They constitute a bond that is nearly unbreakable and the more people participate, the stronger the bond.

So what caused me to write about the motorcycle family?   Frankly it was a film that all motorcyclists should see.  It’s called “Why We Ride” and it captures the essence of the motorcycle family.  Even if you or someone you know is not a rider, you should see this film.  You may just end up joining a new family.

Check out their trailer below.  It’s just part of the story.

Why We Ride is an independent film and as such, screenings have been limited.  They try to show the film where they can gain maximum impact; check their website for showings.  It’s well worth a trip to see this film.

Finally, we would be extremely remiss not to mention our friends Charles Sandoz and Jim Smith of Seacoast Sport Cycle in Derry, NH  who sponsored the showing, generously permitting about 150 of our motorcycle family to see this film.  Ride2ADV does not accept advertising, but we felt it very important that Charles and Jim get the credit for all they’ve done for our family.

Go see the film.  Take your family and some non-riding friends.  You may find that your family grows even larger, and that’s a good thing.

“Aren’t you afraid to die?”

I couldn’t have captured the essence of motorcycling any better.  The end of the video just reaches to my soul.

“Aren’t you afraid to die?”.

Arai XD4 vs XD3 Helmet

With the new Arai XD4 recently released and my trusty Arai XD3 now having four years of hard labor under its visor, it is time for a replacement.  One thing Kim and I won’t skimp on is a quality helmet.  So I’ve ordered a new XD4 and we’ll shortly have a review and report on how it stacks up against the old XD3.  With a significant price increase, we sure do hope it’s a lot better!

Arai XD4

There’s still a bit of snow around these parts of NH and VT, so we may be a bit delayed in writing the report, but this is an adventure riding website so how can we delay for too long?  What kind of journalistic integrity would that reflect, eh?  So stay tuned and we’ll be reporting in shortly…

UPDATE:  We will be out for a full day of cold weather riding tomorrow (Saturday April 7) so I will have my first impressions of the XD4 vs. the XD3 posted by Sunday.  Stay tuned!

When Opportunity Knocks…. Slam The Door?

Let me start off by saying I love KTM motorcycles.  The little Austrian brand that builds high quality, very sporty, enduro motorcycles capable of covering all matter of terrain.  Actually, you might even say I am a KTM fanatic.  But sometimes, even if you are a fanatic, you have to call out your “hero” and tell them like it is.  Well, I’ve had something on my chest for the last seven years and it’s time I got it off.  So here goes…

If you saw the motorcycle adventure movie “The Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman, you have to ask yourself, “What was KTM thinking when they refused to give two actors three motorcycles in return for the world wide movie promotion of their motorcycle brand as they ride their way around the world on a charity mission?  Could a better opportunity presented itself to KTM on a platter?

So let’s boil this all down shall we?  Two actors, one of whom is literally known throughout the world as the planet hopping, Jedi master Obi Wan Kenobi, along with a lesser known actor who provides comic relief, want to go on an around the world trip using your less than well known brand of motorcycle.  They will also be making stops along the way, helping children while using your bike.   In addition, to help them along during their journey, they will have some help.  Not one or two people, but an entire support team.  The support team will have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, a doctor, satellite communications and several other people with the ability to make border crossings happen via influential people.  Hmmm….  does that sound like an opportunity for failure to you?  KTM apparently thought so.

Oh, and don’t forget…  The whole journey is going to be made into a movie!  The kind of movie where the reality can be changed “a little”.  In movies, through the magic of film making, things happen that might not happen in real life.  Can an actor play a “Jedi Master” who reports to a two foot green creature who is even a more powerful “Jedi Master”?  In movies they can.  Can an alien land in a spaceship that looks like a Christmas tree, befriend a little boy and make his bicycle fly?  In movies they can.  Can an ogre make friends with a talking donkey and marry a princess?  In movies they can.  Can a KTM make an around the world trip with two actors and an entire support crew?  According to KTM management at the time, apparently not; not even in a MOVIE!   Jeesh!

By the time the Long Way Round movie was in production, KTM had already won 4 straight Dakar rallies, one of the most gruelling tests of man and machine on the planet.  Thereafter, KTM would continue its winning streak with an additional 7 Dakar wins in a row, a true testament to the KTM marque and the ability of its machines (as well as the men who rode them of course).  So why would KTM balk at giving up 3 bikes which would more than likely have been the far better choice for the trip as Charlie Boorman had suggested?  Could it be that they took the word of a single “consultant” and just outright refused on one person’s viewpoint?  How shortsighted and terrible.

After the Long Way Round movie and its successor Long Way Down screened, sales of BMW adventure motorcycles skyrocketed.  Even though the big GS’s were oversized and heavy, had breakdowns and were difficult to handle when the conditions got rough, many people just want to be like Ewan and Charlie and latched on to the BMW adventure bandwagon.  BMW must send Ewan and Charlie flowers every time the sales of the GS’s climb and I for one wouldn’t blame them.  They’ve created a marketing phenomenon with adventure motorcyclists.  Just mention the Long Way Round or The Long Way Down and people think BMW.  Congratulations BMW.

As for you KTM  well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson.  You make excellent machines that win gruelling races and competitions.  But in North America, almost no-one knows about you.   You’ve got to come up with a way to get people to know you and let them find out how excellent your machines are.  Maybe you ought to call Charlie and tell him you’re very sorry for the error.  You have new KTM 990s just waiting for him at his garage with panniers etc. ready to go.  Call Ewan and tell him that anyone can do the long way round easterly, it’s time to do it westerly and no highways allowed.  Period.  And while you’re at it, show off some of those sexy KTM accessories and even some of those non-KTM accessories so people know they are out there too.  They’ll only make people want your machines more.

KTM, I’ll always love your machines but the group of us here in the US can’t keep the flame alive by ourselves.  You have to help.  When opportunity knocks, don’t slam the door.  Please.   Charlie and Ewan already have too many flowers from BMW.