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.
Riding teaches you to see. Not only the beauty of the land but the side streets that you would normally pass when driving the cage, the trails that go unnoticed by the mundane commuter, the possibilities of exploration in our local communities and in distant far off lands. Discovery is in the eye of the beholder and can be found where you least expect it. There is a basic human desire to explore, to seek out adventure, to put oneself into a position to feel those sweet senses of adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. Struggle is necessary. Who needs synthetic highs when your mind and body are fully capable of delivering ecstasy with the proper motivation? These things can be found in your back yard or anywhere on the globe, and my favorite adrenaline junkie delivery system of choice has two wheels and a motor.
Why am I doing Appalachian ADV? It is nice to ride, a great excuse to get out, but it’s bigger than simply enjoying the art of motorbiking. A divided country needs multiple mechanisms that bring people together, find a common ground, common bonds. When people experience the shared adversity of ADV Dual Sporting it gives them an opportunity to relate, stripping away the political BS, humanizing each other. Make-shift teams with the goal to have fun, appreciate nature, and work towards getting the group from one obstacle to the next. We must find commonality before we can heal as a nation or as a globe, in any way we can.
We can have differing opinions or views but when a group works together to accomplish a goal, something special happens. Think of a sports team, the military, or a business. Success occurs when you strip out the BS, find a way for the team to focus on the same goals, be open to new or different ideas, and respect our differences. Team sports are such a big part of human society. What draws us in is watching the collaboration of a group of people with diverse backgrounds and differing opinions come together to fight for a common goal. Every member of a team does not believe in the same god, the same politics, the same whatever. But they do believe in the greater good for the squad and will work together to accomplish their team goals.
Successful teams know how to bring that diversity together, find the individual strengths and synergistically blend them into a winning formula. All the while, respecting differing opinions and if not attempting to understand each other, having the willingness to not be an asshole. Life is not “my way or the highway”, it’s about balance, compromise, and compassion. We should not be enemies; we are people with differing opinions (remember those?). Respect the differences and use them to make the team stronger.
When piloting those two wheels across our landmasses you see the humanity of the land’s people, the good side of the world. People of differing creeds, differing ways of life, and differing motivations that are willing to help motorcyclists in need. If you have ever watched The Long Way series or read the many books on adventure travel it is apparent that there are many good folks out there willing to help someone in need. If you ride long enough, eventually you will have the opportunity to see this firsthand.
I have been stranded on the side of the road in a busy area and not one soul had stopped to check if I was in need of help. On one side of that I understand the risk someone must take to stop for an absolute stranger or throw their entire life schedule out of whack. But then you have several experiences that go the other way, helping you see that there are more good people than bad in the world.
My best example is when I (of course) unintentionally ran my V-Strom into a four foot ditch in the middle of nowhereland Allegheny National Forest. Some of the ANF forest service roads can have extremely light usage so I was pretty sure I would be camping on the side of the road that night, with what was starting to feel like a broken foot. Lo and behold a truck comes past and stops to check on me. My saviors swing in to save the day, two good-natured locals literally lifted my 450 pound V-Strom by hand up and out of its earthy cage. Luckily the bike sustained only plastics damage, a broken mirror, and a blown fork seal. Having to heel shift home over a four-hour ride was interesting and yes, my foot was broken. Without the kindness of strangers, a bad situation could have been worse…and I have since picked up a Zoleo GPS Communicator (my review of the Zoleo hyperlinked) so I am never alone.
A basic fundamental of humanity is the antithesis of good vs. evil. Although a majority of humanity has good intentions there is always an asshole in the crowd, guaranteed. With this, you will also see the ugly on our earth. Where people take for granted their local surroundings, discarding their used-up rubbish on the shoulders of forgotten byways. Sabotaging the beauty, sacking their own natural wonders. It is easy to take for granted that in which you live your daily life, but the motorbike brings the mundane to the forefront and reminds you that we should be taking care of our dwellings, both man-made and Mother Nature made.
Motorcyclists should be stewards of nature as a very necessary aspect of ADV Dual Sporting is nature itself. The point of Adventure motorbiking is to get yourself out into the woodlands on the paved, graveled, and/or dirt thoroughfares of our ancestors. To protect our access, we need to make sure we don’t take Mother Nature for granted and show appropriate respect. If you do believe in a god, do you think he/she/it would want us to trash their creation?
Motorbikes are a good way to rebuild confidence in your fellow man and the sport provides the capacity to share the experience, regardless of race, country, or creed. It allows the ability to use this motorbike platform to bring people from different walks of life together to find common ground, a common ground that our two wheels can share. Many times, bringing people together who otherwise wouldn’t have known each other, even when they live in proximity. This motorbiking sport has even made interstate and international connections possible thru social media, motorcycle shows, and various rallies. I see similar desires and practices in comrade motorcyclists like Glen over at Tenere Across The USA; Bryan with Moto-Recon; Jethro with My Motorcycle Adventure; Brian with Infamous Adventures; Drew from Red River Scramble & Moto Adventurer Unscripted; Mike & Tambra from Cross Adventuring; Matt from Life's Journey at 50; Chad with Wailin’ Wayne Weekend & Motorcycle Memories; Dick and the whole crew at Street Track n' Trail; and the many other folks I've met either at our events, at Wailin' Wayne, and through our social media! It has been an amazing by-product to find others who share a passion to leverage our love of motorbikes to help build a better world.
There is no ageism when it comes to ripping. Who says that you are too old to push your limits? There will come a time when we won’t have a choice, but we must continue to fight Father Time until that bike won’t stay upright any longer. To do so, you must stay mentally prepared and physically fit if the desire is to keep those wheels spinning. The fountain of youth is staying young at heart and at brain. To help keep a mind youthful take care of your body and spirit with proper nutrition, exercise, flexibility, balance, and by doing the things you love. These are the weapons in the battle of ageing. To a certain extent, being old is a decision. My decision is to keep going until they start throwing dirt on the box. How about you?
When it comes down to it, we really shouldn’t put so much emphasis into political leanings; we should care more about humanity, the greater good, decency towards our fellow humans and planet. Getting people off their phones for a while and into the saddle will do the world some good. Instead of surrounding yourself with negativity in the Twittersphere, surround yourself with the goodness of nature and fellow riders, go for a spin and remind yourself that there is more to life. Have fun and take chances, open yourself up to the wonders of the world, take risks and gain some rewards.
We must continue attempting to find pathways that lead to positivity, freedom, fulfilling basic human desires for exploration and adventure, finding and creating new experiences, man & machine conquering Mother Nature (if only for a moment), soul searching, brushing away the BS to clear your mind, challenging yourself, playing in the woods like when we were kids, sharing the motorbiking experience with others, a sense of community, a diverse community…
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Life is too short… Have Fun, Take Chances
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