10 years ago when my good friends Simon & Lisa stayed with me, I was a young and eager adventure rider wanna-be. So of course, sounding like that little dog in the cartoons “Gee Spike! Watta ya wanna do now Spike??” I harassed Simon to go for a ride. Although he was kind enough to oblige me, I remember Lisa’s voice shouting at we pulled away “Don’t you dare brake that bike!”.
We rode around Capitol Forest and even did some single track, I was having a great time. Some of the track got so tight, we had to turn around, and we were actually spinning our bike around on their pistons.
Fast forward 10 years and here I am traveling the world on my motorcycle. I am amazed at how may people I run in to who ride that want to go ride trails or forest roads with me. Initially I was happy to partake. But, Lisa’s voice came thundering into my head (As her voice is usually thunder to begin with) “Don’t brake that bike!”. Yes, Greg, don’t break your bike. Otherwise you are fucked sideways all the way to Sunday.
There is a difference between “Adventure Riding” and global travel. I’ve spend many weeks exploring the Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR’s) throwing much caution to the wind and trying to get my bike as dirty as possible. Water bars are excellent jumps and carrying luxury items were standard. (fing’ Kermit Chair). It’s play time, and if shit goes wrong, it’s a minor inconvenience. Out here, however, it can be fatal to your dreams.
Out here, your bike is your lifeline. It is your vessel in the ocean and you best not put a hole in it. Maybe, for some with disposable incomes, this mentality never come to fruition, but when you are trying to stick to $45.00 a day, it’s critical. Every stoke of the piston is money burned. Maintenance is critical. Oil changes are not to be put off, and cleanliness is a must.
Another aspect is the off-road / on-road traveling. I’ve been asked many time about all the off-road tracks I’ve taken on the trip so far. And the truth is, 90% of the off-road I did was in the Untied States, when I rode the Continental Divide Trail. But, that was the destination; The CDT. Outside the borders, it’s about what ever the road offers you. Yes, you could find off-road tracks that will take you to places you want to go, but again, the big picture, is what you’re doing to your bike worth it in the big picture?
Yes, I could have taken the dirt roads from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. It would have take two days and over several mountain ranges, but the destination is Escondido, not the dirt road leading to it.
Off-road trekking is a matter of what is offered that gets you to your destination. So far in Mexico, most roads that have taken me to my destinations have been paved. Even the famous road to Batopilas is now paved. You might have to now circumnavigate several dozen land slides, but paved non the less.
So someday, if I return to the land of “Adventure Riding” I’ll throw caution to the wind and have some really fun play dates. But for global travel, it’s not all fun and games.