This is a "living document" that will get edited or added to from time to time as new questions come up that we think others may want to know...
What is the difference between a Rally, Guided Tour, and Group Ride?
A Rally is a gathering of a larger group of riders (30 or more) where Appalachian ADV sets up a base camp and various ADV and ADV Dual Sporting loops for people to ride. Attendees have the ability to choose which loops to ride, sometimes self-guided or with a group. Generally we provide camping and some of the meals, have some type of door prizes/goodie bags from various sponsors, and occasionally some type of motorcycle-related presentations or training.
A Guided Tour is set up for a more intimate experience with a smaller group of 10-12 riders using either a single base camp or multiple camping stops. Attendees stick together in one group with the Ride Lead guiding the group. Routes are built and customized to bring riders an amazing ADV experience using various surfaces and into not-often traveled areas of the wilderness. The Ride Lead will bring you through beautiful scenery, historical sites, and small towns utilizing multiple terrain types including trails when applicable. Some meals as well as door prizes/goodie bags from various sponsors are provided.
For a Group Ride we find a great place to ride and invite everyone to head over there and camp, ride, and utilize the local small businesses for supplies. Group Rides are completely self-paced, self-guided. Bring some friends and/or find new ones at camp and go for a ride. We throw all the information you need on our website, including hyperlinks, to make it easier for you to come out and ride for the weekend. These are Pay-Your-Own-Way events where we want to highlight excellent riding areas and the awesome small businesses in the area that rely on or would benefit from motorcycle tourism.
What is an American Motorcyclist Association Sanctioned Event?
Appalachian ADV has been Chartered as a Recreational Promoter with the AMA. By Chartering with the AMA, Appalachian ADV stands with the organization to help protect motorcyclists' rights. When browsing our Events page you will notice certain events are Sanctioned with the AMA. Some Appalachian ADV events are Sanctioned to align with the safety and educational mission of the AMA, to follow the AMA's standards for event operation, and to help with promotion of our rides. Membership with the AMA is not required to attend our Sanctioned events but we do encourage you to give them a look and join!
How do you classify each surface type in your rides?
The different surface types Appalachian ADV uses for its routing includes on-road and off-road.
On-road surfaces include pavement, gravel roads, and dirt roads that are generally considered "maintained" (these can include easy-going 2-track). These are generally state, county, and township roads as well as forest service/fire roads that require plated bikes and "M" endorsed driver's licenses.
Off-road surfaces include drivable trails (i.e. Jeep trails or rough 2-track), off-highway vehicle (OHV) or off-highway motorcycle (OHM) trails, other dual sport-type trails, and are generally considered "unmaintained". Some of these types will also require plated bikes or trail passes from a forest service agency.
The conditions of gravel roads, dirt tracks, and the various off-road trails can change with the seasons and the weather. Paved roads of various disrepair should also find cause for caution. Appropriate mental awareness and the proper precaution should be taken when the various surfaces are wet, leaf-covered, or snowy/icy.
ADV Rider Classifications for mid- to large-bore motorbikes (non-loaded bike, i.e. no luggage):
Beginner is classified as someone who is newer to riding but gaining comfort on the street and rare gravel roads. The rider is still learning the fundamentals of street riding and is uneasy on the bike in the loose, unsteady surface of gravel (bike feels planted on the street but the transition to loose gravel and sliding tires still tightens the rider). Pace of riding is slow to average (speed of bike, amount of breaks, time needed for breaks).
Beginner-Intermediate is someone with several years experience and comfort on street, gravel, and dirt roads. Just starting to get into “off-road” style terrain such as less maintained gravel and dirt roads (mud, water puddles, ruts); short, clear, shallow, flat bottomed water crossings; varied off-camber turns & hills (shorter, low slope); starting to understand the physics of ADV bike manipulation (bike lean, body counter-balance, center of gravity, sitting vs. standing, tight turns, slow maneuvers, etc.); and more at ease on looser terrain. Maintained to unmaintained ratio still balanced towards street – majority of riding still occurs on easier terrain with jaunts into more difficult surfaces here and there. Pace of riding is average on maintained, slow to average on less-maintained.
Intermediate has experience on street, gravel, dirt roads of various conditions including drivable trails (2-track); gaining experience in off-road style terrain as noted above but with slightly greater difficulty levels (i.e. messier water crossings, longer/steeper hill climbs, rock gardens, muddy conditions including water holes and ruts, tight turns and off-camber turns, progressively better handling at slow speed maneuvers); physics of ADV Bike manipulation starting to click, rider execution failing less often. Rider has taken on OHM/ATV-type trails in short spurts as well as some rougher drivable trails/Jeep trails. Pace of riding is average. Maintained to unmaintained ratio more balanced.
Intermediate-Expert, also noted as Upper Intermediate has gained experience on most surface types and rider execution hits the mark a majority of the time or the rider can recover from a missed execution on the fly a majority of the time (bike does not go down). Along with surface types noted, rider has also gained some level of experience on single-track (easier-level as compared to a dirt bike). Pace of riding is average to above average (take into account some difficult terrain should be and will need to be taken at slower speeds). Maintained to unmaintained ratio is balanced to an off road lean (the routing itself may be balanced but the off road sections can be longer, more difficult, &/or not spread out as far).
Expert level can tackle a full day with rare to no maintained thoroughfares; can set a pace of average to fast but can slow crawl and balance the bike through ADV Bike manipulations noted above. Still falls once in a while!
A few notes in reference to an ADV bike loaded with luggage: newer riders will need to learn to accommodate the differences in their bike when loaded down with multi-day moto-camping gear loads specifically in overall weight, handling, tip-over angle, added width, braking distance, suspension, etc. A whole other aspect of motorbiking must be learned when starting to camp and live off the bike for multiple days, especially when tackling rugged terrain (i.e. Allegheny Backcountry Adventure Loop Intermediate-Expert Guided Tour that tackles OHM trails with loaded bikes). Generally, packing less than what you think you'll actually need, balancing the load/where to put stuff, accommodating for the widening of your bike due to panniers and not hitting things such as gas station pump protection poles or trees/obstructions when hitting tighter trails. More below on moto-camping for Guided Tours.
What are some of the expectations of riding gear for participants?
Riders must wear a full face helmet with eye protection (can be built into helmet) and sturdy motorcycle boots at a minimum. We also highly recommend the use of gloves and a full set of body armor (i.e. knee/hips/elbow/shoulder pads, chest protector, back protector). Appropriate and a full line of armor helps mitigate some of the risks of ADV Motorbike riding. Remember to also dress for the weather, utilizing layers and/or waterproof gear.
Are there any recommendations for setting up my bike before an event?
Bike protection required for Intermediate to Expert level rides (recommended for Beginner) is a skid plate. Other highly recommended bike protections includes crash bars, sturdy hand guards such as Barkbuster, collapsible mirrors, radiator guard, engine case covers, headlight guards, etc. Appropriate bike armor helps mitigate some of the risks of bike damage and potential mechanical failures when out on the courses. See our review of the T7 that also lists all of the bike protection items that we used to build the #TankTenere700!
A minimum 50/50 tire is required for all levels but we strongly suggest a more dirt-oriented tire that includes some level of knobblies if you will be tackling Intermediate to Expert style rides. You will have a better time on the courses, especially on the off-road style tracks. Not all 50/50 tires are the same! We think the most important equipment on an ADV bike that is riding dirt/gravel roads & off road/unmaintained terrain is the tire. The tread pattern and air pressures are what makes getting through rough stuff easier (or harder!). Appalachian ADV recommended tires include MOTOZ GPS/Tractionator/RallZ, Dunlop D908 Rally Raid, or the Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross AX41. If you are unsure about your current set up for an event, contact Kane@AppalachianADV.com for any questions.
Any recommendations on specific camping gear for Guided Tours?
Keeping your bike load light is ideal so we recommend backpacker-style gear or gear specifically made for ADV riding. This type of gear is generally made with ultra-light materials that pack down small and tight. MotoCampNerd.com is a great resource with products that are perfect for ADV Touring.
The basics for camping include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. As noted, ideally light and packable. For these items I personally use Nemo Equipment: Dragonfly Bikepack Tent, Riff Down Sleeping Bag, & Fillo Backpacking Pillow (inflatable layer plus a memory foam layer). For the pad I use the Klymit Static V2 Ultralight Inflatable. I'm a side sleeper so the spoon shape bag and 2.5 inches of loft in the pad work well.
There are other nice to have items that may not be absolutely necessary. Some supply a level of comfort, some make a task or operation easier, and others may just take up space and weight but are rarely if ever used. A camp chair is nice but not 100% necessary, depending on the camping location. If you opt for a seat, just remember small and light that packs tight.
A knife, multi-tool, and/or hatchet are always handy when camping and generally take little space. SOG has quality knives and tools and I found the Voodoo Hawk Hatchet to be of good use. Small enough to fit in a pannier and is relatively light with multiple uses (splitting wood, hammer handle for tent stakes, etc.).
Fire starters, butane lighter, small hiking cooking gear, a micro-camping stove, and small camping fuel canisters are good additions if you plan to cook or heat water at camp.
Compression sacks are ideal for extra clothes and can be used as a pillow or extra loft for your Fillo. Same premise here, you probably won't need as many clothes as you initially think. On longer rides, I will carry a couple single-use size detergent packets if things start to get funky.
The most important item, COFFEE! For our Rallies we will provide this cornerstone of civilization each morning. For Guided Tours and Group Rides, we recommend being prepared to fend for yourselves on days we don't specify meals are provided. That means a small heating source and our recommended go-to camp-friendly Coffee Blenders. They offer small tea bag-style and pour over craft quality coffees.
If you have any other questions or want any specific recommendations please reach out to Kane@AppalachianADV.com. A copy of our "Riding Checklist - ADV to DS to OR" is attached below for reference. To note, not all items on the checklist are utilized for every ride. Depending on the type of ride and the season, we will mix and match items on the checklist to take along for the journey. Let us know if there is anything not listed that you have found helpful.
Do you have any recommendations on physical fitness or exercises to get ready for your Group Rides, Rallies, and Guided Tours?
I believe physical fitness, healthy eating, and rest are imperative not only to improve your motorcycling but your quality of life. When it comes to ADV riding there are more rigorous demands on your body than your everyday street cruising. The terrain calls for the rider to stand in an attack stance for long periods and move not only your body but physically shift the motorbike around more often than a straight street rider. It is more likely with ADV riding that at some point during a ride the bike will take a fall, requiring the rider to physically lift the bike from horizontal to vertical. If you are tackling one of our ADV Dual Sporting rides then the demands for physical fitness are exponentially higher. In general for any of our rides we recommend a physical fitness routine that includes strength, stamina/conditioning, and balance. If the difficulty level of the ride is higher, we recommend more intensity in your workout routines but generally being in decent shape will help with all skill levels. Appalachian ADV believes physical fitness (strength, stamina/conditioning, and balance) to be one of four cornerstones to safe and enjoyable ADV riding. The others are motorcycle skills training, mental preparedness, and appropriate crash protection for the rider and the bike.
I have attached a workout routine that I have been utilizing over the past couple few years, developed over the 30+ years that I have been active in weightlifting and physical fitness. Just like many things, the routine has been inspired by many different programs and styles of workouts including powerlifting, body building, endurance training, yoga, etc. etc. etc. Review the routine and check with your physician before starting any physical fitness routine.
How is cell service where we will going? Will there be WiFi? Is there a way to communicate with my family while on the ride?
In a few words: spotty, unlikely, and yes. ADV means to get us out into the wilderness and somewhat "off the grid". Cell coverage will be sporadic and some small businesses we utilize may have WiFi but I would suggest being ready for minimal communications.
Appalachian ADV recommends that participants carry cell phones as well as a Zoleo or similar GPS Communication Device. When on a Guided Tour, the Lead Rider will carry a Zoleo GPS communication device which allows for two-way communications (Text-to-911, direct GPS text communications in emergency situations). Predefined general messages can be sent via GPS to an email address of each Riders’ choice, if desired (i.e. a message stating we have departed camp in the morning and a message stating we are done riding for the day).
Does Appalachian ADV have rental bikes?
At this time, we do not offer motorcycle rentals but it is something we are looking into for the future. If you are interested in riding one of our events but need a bike, we suggest checking out Riders Share.
Can you expect the rally/tour to go smoothly with no issues?
Not all the time! We have put in hours upon hours, miles upon miles to plan out each event and we do that to help mitigate as many issues as possible. ADV means adventure and with adventure there is a touch of the unknown. The weather, the road/trail conditions or blockages, potential mechanical issues, or any one of a myriad of troubles could come across our path. But with risk, comes reward. We started this thing to give people the opportunity to have an experience, to meet a group of fellow adventure seekers, and work as individuals on a team to get us through each day. Sometimes the issues are the most memorable part of an adventure.
Can I ride two-up with my partner on a Guided Tour?
That question depends on the Tour and the experience level of you and your pillion. We do not recommend two-up riding on our more difficult Tours but please reach out to Kane@AppalachianADV.com to discuss options prior to purchasing your tickets.
Can I ride two-up at a Rally?
The more the merrier! Each person must purchase an event pass.
Booze, what are your thoughts?
Sure, but never when we are riding. Save it for the campfire.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
If participants are unable to attend an event and desire a refund you must contact Appalachian ADV to request the refund at least four (4) weeks prior to a Rally or at least six (6) weeks prior to a Guided Tour. A 10% administration fee will be assessed to the refund amount.
A 50% administration fee will be assessed if cancelling between four (4) weeks and one (1) week prior to a Rally.
A 50% administration fee will be assessed if cancelling between six (6) weeks and three (3) weeks prior to a Guided Tour.
If within one (1) week from a Rally or three (3) weeks within a Guided Tour, a 75% administration fee will be assessed.
Contact via email Kane@AppalachianADV.com or through Facebook/Instagram messenger to start the refund process.
What is Appalachian ADV’s business philosophy?
Make no mistake, I'm trying to sell you something. An adventure. An experience. Something memorable and rewarding that is worth your time and effort. A series of real life moments designed to break down barriers, remove you from your comfort zone, enjoy the world and your surroundings. We want to enjoy the wilderness with fellow adventurous people that span the American and Global spectrum that may actually think a little differently than you, than me, than our normal orbit of folks.
My goal is not to get rich off of ADV. My goal is to make a living, cover the costs of my efforts, and provide my new friends with an amazing adventure that will bond them to their motorcycle, to the other riders, and to the experience.
Have a question you don’t see here? Email Kane@AppalachianADV.com and we’ll get an answer for you and maybe throw it on here for the next person…
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