A windy gravel road led the #TankTenere700 through the wilderness and into a forgotten thoroughfare. The rough track following the contours of the land, snaking to and fro...up and down. An embedded slab of rock grants the rider an opportunity to fly for a moment, off its ledge and into a banking turn. A leaning power slide keeps them on track and in line for the next rock garden enjoyment. As the track descends off the ridge and towards the valley floor the ruts from recent storm water drainage provide more excitement. Nothing like an unmaintained dirt road to provide a rider an opportunity of #ADVDualSporting.
Embers danced through the darkness as another log was thrown onto the fire. Laughter filled the cool air, working in rhythm with the crackling of the warm blaze. The flickering flames lit up the reflective strips on the tents, hidden in the dark pine forest surrounding and engulfing the group. A few of the ADV motorbikes sat in the circle telling silent stories to their riders, of adventures and wonders of days past. Riders playing interpreter for their quiet friends, sharing stories of their journey into the Allegheny.
The rider digs his knee into the tank as the bike leans into the turn, the uneven trail testing the nimbleness of man and machine. The previous waterlogged mud pit leaving the Tenere 700 awash in slippery sludge, his knee finds the friction of the R&G Tank Traction Grips. The rear tire flings earth as the bike power turns through the uneven terrain and continues to follow the ebb and flow of the Bald Eagle wilderness.
The Mercenary and his valiant T7 Steed charge out of the Battle of the Darkness only to find themselves on a new battlefield...
The Moon’s Army of Darkness fell upon the sky...
I was moving in slow motion, drifting slowly into the abyss. The thin layer of snotty mud covering the hard packed surface was no match for the knobblies. It didn’t help that I was heading downhill and the off camber angle was increasing. The Tenere 700 weighs in at 450+ pounds and if it wants to start going somewhere, it’s just gonna go, or is it? I dab my right leg on the upper camber, push down on the peg with my left and slide the rear down in towards the trench then bounce my arse off the seat while goosing the throttle… The T7 growls to life, freely slinging mud aided by the R&G Tidy Tail. I feel the sweet bite of the rear rubber as the #TankTenere700 pulses forward to regain my position on the thin flat spot atop the off camber trail.
Back when I first launched the website I put out an article called “Glossary Of Terms” which included 22 motorcycle-related words and phrases and my take on them. Some are commonly used in the industry and some specific to my experience as a motorbike aficionado. As I have built up Appalachian ADV the moniker has sparked new terms with the help of my Sweep rider and fellow route scouter OGB, a bit more specific to our style of riding and moto-camping. So I thought I would share a few new ones and see if we can add new terminology to the motorcycle lexicon.
After our first “No Maintenance” dirt road the group was properly warmed up and ready to pilot their various ADV bikes through more Ohio River Valley terrain. A short challenging off camber trail climbing in and out of the woods followed by a scenic gravel road then a nice twisty two lane paver leading into another no maintenance dirt road and onto the next off-road challenge spot… this would be the pattern of the day and is the pattern of Appalachian ADV’s signature style, ADV Dual Sporting.
The summer is upon us. Time to get out there on your two-wheels of choice, enjoy the wind in your face, and feel the freedom of the road and/or trail.
And there the tree laid, blocking our intended path… quite the unexpected surprise. Our bikes were barely warmed up, it had been less than 10 minutes since we left camp. The crisp June morning had us layered up but within a couple minutes of hand saws and dragging fallen timber, a bit of a sweat now accompanied us. I couldn’t have planned a better start to the Brush Creek Daytripper Rally, an opportunity for this random group of people to bond over some hard labor with the bikes resting on their kickstands. Usually at an ADV rally the bikes share in the effort but their chance would soon come.
There are many reasons we choose to ride a motorbike… freedom, travel, hanging out with friends in a shared activity, to get away from something, just damn fun… but everyone kicks a leg over for their own personal reasons. For me it is more than just having fun, it’s about meeting new and diverse people, challenging myself mentally and physically, learning new skills (riding and maintenance), exploration and adventure, and allowing my creative juices to flow in the various forms of storytelling, photography, videography, and route development.
This bike made me a better rider overnight...
There are many subgenres of motorbiking that cover a diverse selection of bikes and riding styles. On one end of the spectrum you have the street bikes: crazy custom choppers, twisty killing sport bikes, comfortable traveling baggers, the speed king/queen track racers, etc. Going towards the other end you have the dirty bikes: enduro madmen and madwomen, flat track sliders, dual sport wanderers, the single track loons, the various other 2-stroke powersporters, etc. Then you have the newer ADV style, short for Adventure. ADV attempts to live in the best of both worlds, merging aspects of street and dirt riding. Ride comfortably on hundreds of miles of interstate, drag a knee in the twistys, kick some gravel around, and venture into the wooded 2-tracks off the beaten path.
I regularly listen to music when on the bike with the help of my Sena Bluetooth system, but the cell phone has now taken place of the cassette and CD. Shuffling through the library takes no effort, pick an artist, a few albums, or shuffle the entire catalog. I argue that it is still worth the effort to take the time to hand pick specific songs for an overarching theme that you want to capture for your ADVenture. Whether it is an easy-going street ride matched with a selection of The Blues, a back country ADV fest with a Rock & Roll sound, or an off-road bonanza with a little Outlaw Country… set the mood and let the rhythm of the music sync with the rhythm of the terrain, the brap of the engine, and the recoil of the suspension.
The Mix Tape. A certain dedication was required along with an ear for melody. Putting together a selection of songs that flowed together and fit on both sides of that cassette took much time and effort…
To be fair, elderly comes down to a number, an implication of being feeble. It doesn’t really take into consideration a person’s state of mind or physical abilities. At 70.7 years old, Gabe may not have been the oldest to tackle the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route (MABDR), but it was an accomplishment, nonetheless. Especially after our last trip down that way a few years earlier went haywire. Gabe took what looked to be your run-of-the-mill slow speed fall on a George Washington National Forest two-track and ended up with a broken tibia that needed a cadaver part, a plate, and a few screws… we shall call him FrankenGabe!
Route development could be considered an art form. It takes a bit of a creative mind and an adventurous spirit to patch together an enjoyable ride. Creating a route that follows the curves of the track, the elevation changes of the terrain, and through the beauty of our world can be done by just jumping on the bike or by careful and meticulous planning. For me, a little research before going out has proven to be well worth the effort. You come up to an interesting looking dirt road, but where does it go? I have taken it on a whim and found excellent terrain, but I have also found myself on someone’s front yard. When taking the time to do the homework, I already know that dead end doesn’t go anywhere. However, I do know taking the next intersection leads to an unmaintained dirt road following the ebb and flow of a creek, climbs to a ridge line, and brings you to a scenic vista.
Sometimes that creativeness and desire for adventure can get you into sticky situations…
And there the bike laid, stripped of all gear and Farkles. I heard the Wee call to me, “don’t leave me here alone in the woods!” In order for me to rescue it, I had to go rally the troops. The three of us could not muscle the bike the rest of the way up the hill by ourselves and luckily we didn’t have to… we were at an actual Rally. The 5th Annual Wailin’ Wayne Weekend (WWW) to be exact, based out of New Straitsville, Ohio nestled in the hills of the northern section of Wayne National Forest. Surely someone would be interested in pulling a well beaten 2005 Suzuki V-Strom DL650 out of the trails of Monday Creek.
It all started in 2011. A buddy that I worked with at The Ohio State University Medical Center had a Beemer and loved to share his riding stories with me, the non-rider. He would share magazine articles from BMW Owners News, BMW MOA Magazine, RoadRUNNER, and the American Motorcyclist Magazine; the writings of Neil Peart (the drummer of Rush fame who was also an avid motorcycle rider and author) and Piet Boonstra (old school enduro rider and author); and any other motorcycle related article or book he could find to throw my way.
A few opening ramblings…
First off, as of this writing I ride a well-worn Suzuki V-Strom 650. The Strom is the first motorbike I ever purchased, and all its scars prove it helped me learn how to ride (at least that’s what I tell myself!). My V-Strom model is the older generation, not the more off pavement-oriented XT models the OEM started producing in 2015. I will list some of the things I used to beef up my older Strom model from an excellent street-oriented ride to a true ADV beast. I’m sorry, I have to say it… The only gripe I have on the new models is why did they change the headlight configuration?! It was unique! Everyone could tell a V-Strom by the look in its eyes when it was coming at you, those tall, pointy, side-by-side, angry bug-like eyes. They changed them to an over-under configuration along with a new extended beak, which both look similar to a few other ADV bikes…but I digress, back to my initial subject.
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