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.
Check out Invigorations for a few more things that were a great influence!
Then one day he showed me a Craigslist post of a beautiful blue Suzuki V-Strom 650. "This would be a great bike for you." Gabe could barely hold in his excitement.
The wife opens the garage door one night after work and notices a strange, bug-like reflection staring back at her. She wobbles in the door (oh, did I happen to mention that she was very pregnant with our son?) with a particular look on her face. "What the... where did... you idiot... what is happening right now?"
To back up just a bit, that strange bug got into my garage by shear will of my new riding partner. I had never owned a motorbike, nor did I have the appropriate endorsement on my driver's license. The only two wheels I had previously piloted were bicycles and the rare, very rare, scooter. Gabe helped me check the bike over, ask the owner the appropriate questions, and he even volunteered to take it for a test spin (a selfless act, I'm sure). Once the decision was made and finances ironed out, I then got to watch him pilot my new Wee Strom back to the previously mentioned garage. Luckily, he escaped before the prego wife's return from work!
After attaining a temporary endorsement, obtaining the appropriate ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time), passing the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course (which gave me the coveted "M" endorsement), and learning the appropriate techniques of picking up a heavy bike, Gabe and I started exploring on two wheels. Each trip we would venture out a little further and put rubber on more gravel. He would ride behind me and give me little critiques during our breaks. I would also follow him and mirror his style. He showed patience when I first started to use a GPS to both create routes and document trips (a lot of trial and error in the beginning!). I couldn't of had a better riding partner and mentor.
Eventually as our riding experiences progressed the next logical step for us was to come up with a name for our motorbiking partnership. Boys will be boys, even older gentlemen such as ourselves! Neil Peart would post articles on his website and in one of those posts he mentioned the word "shunpiker". Gabe and I researched the word a bit and liked what we saw, but it wasn't enough on its own. Besides, it seemed that the RV'ers out there also liked to use that one, so we needed something to set us apart. After going round and round with it, Gabe eventually suggested "Latterday Shunpikers". That has a nice ring to it...
Latter Day - fancy term for present day. Dictionary.com states it as, modern or contemporary, especially when mirroring some person or thing of the past.
Shunpiker - we found a couple different explanations of this one but there were two that we gravitated towards. If you break the word down to "shun" and "pike", it simply refers to the act of avoiding turnpikes and using the back roads. Taking the scenic route. We did stumble across another reference that discussed the historical use of pikes on private roads where a toll was required to pass. Certain groups, aggravated at the need to pay a fee where there once was none, would shun the pike and find an alternate route around. Bingo. This term also always reminded us of that one scene in Blazing Saddles with a pike in the middle of a wide-open prairie.
So there you have it, Latterday Shunpikers. Eventually we decided that we were going to be a 2-man MC (i.e. motorcycle club) and we started to call ourselves the Latterday Shunpikers Adventure Motorcycle Club (LSAMC). Can it be an actual MC with only two members? Why not...
Fast forward to today and there are a few more guys that I ride with and they are all considered Latterday Shunpikers to me. My new website, Appalachian ADV, is an extension of the original LSAMC and will be the new platform to spread the word about the joys and hardships as well as the character building aspects that Adventure Bike riding can provide. Stay tuned for more riding stories, pictures, and videos of the original LSAMC as well as all of the new memories we will be making with Appalachian ADV!
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