The ramblings of an adv rider
I am lucky enough to be an Ambassador for the Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) organization. Backcountry Discovery Routes is a non-profit organization whose mission is to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycles. Through education, advocacy, and promotion of responsible motorcycle travel, BDR seeks to preserve backcountry motorcycling opportunities for generations to come.
Each year over the past decade the organization has created ADV routes that are mostly off tarmac and remote, taking approximately a week to 10 days to complete. This year the route is located in the North East of the country, dubbed the NEBDR. The NEBDR will run from the New York/Pennsylvania border to the Maine/Canadian border hitting the New England states. Years past the organization has put together routes throughout the West Coast and Mountain States including Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Washington. In 2018, the BDR developed their first route on the East Coast called the Mid-Atlantic BDR, or MABDR, covering Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The GPS tracks for each route are provided on the website for free along with a ton of information. There are still more routes in development!
After a route is created the first official ride is filmed as a documentary and released the winter before the riding season. The documentary is then made available to the public at small venues and motorcycle dealers across the country. When the MABDR film was released I decided to attend a showing at Kissell Motorsports in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. After checking out their current stock of inventory, partaking in the free grub, and mingling with other motorcycle enthusiasts we were treated to the short film. Jack O’Connor of Pine Barren Adventures, one of the stars and comic relief of the film, presented the documentary and stuck around after the showing to answer questions and comment on the route. Jack’s expansive knowledge of the Pennsylvania wilderness won him a spot on the planning team and his guidance helped make that section of the MABDR top notch. Both expert-only sections are contained in the Bald Eagle State Forest of Pennsylvania and, in my opinion, a majority of the best terrain is in the PA Wilds.
I have ridden sections of the AZBDR, UTBDR, and COBDR but ran the MABDR in its entirety when they released the GPS tracks in 2018. The organization puts a lot of time and effort into creating these routes and it shows. The routes are beautiful, covering some of the best wilderness a state has to offer. Tired of researching to find places to eat, motels, and/or campgrounds? BDR routes are set up with suggestions for all the above and include them in the free downloadable GPS tracks as well as on the official Butler Motorcycle Maps. They also try to highlight local mom & pop businesses to help boost local economies in rural America.
The routes are set up in sections so if you can’t get enough days off work to complete the route you can always pick up where you left off at a later date. They are also great to use when planning a trip but you want to hunker down and explore a specific location. We did something like this when I hit up sections of the COBDR, setting up a base camp in Ouray and hitting the COBDR intertwined with some of the other great southwestern Colorado terrain.
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