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.
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!
Here you’ll find all sorts of things that Kim and I have found to enriches our riding experiences either on or off the bike. We’re not talking about gear to use while your riding, but things you might enjoy while you are riding, or perhaps while you are taking a break from riding.
In any event, we hope that all of the things you’ll find listed in this section will be food for your riding brain, enriches your adventure soul and increases your riding pleasure.
We hope you enjoy.
Mike and Kim