OX12… a soloist amongst family

At first arrival to Overland Expo, I was overwhelmed at how much the event had grown.  What felt like an intimate community last year, had turned into a BMW GS rally that I hadn’t received the memo for…

Yet by the last day, and after meeting so many great people, Sandy and Terry Borden (www.adventuretrio.com) said it best, it’s a weekend where “We’re not weird here.”  There is a family created away from home.  A place where like-minded adventurers, vendors, and enthusiasts come together for a weekend to share ideas, projects, tips, merchandise, and a lot of inspiration whether it’s for the first mile of the journey or the 100,000th.

I spent most of my time in Motorcycle Village, where RawHyde (www.rawhyde.com) had upped the ante in GS culture.  Those guys take the 500+lb BMWs anywhere and show everyone else how to do so too.  The Rodeo (which I kept finding myself at, yes, to drool a little) was held each day to show off what these big bikes can do.  I test rode the R1200GS…and then the F800GS and then the F650GS… and then the R1200GS and didn’t want to give it up (thank you Lance!) but alas, back to my KLR I went.

While I was sitting at Nicole’s booth (www.ruggedrider.com) an older guy pointed to her yellow suzuki DR-Z 400 and stated, “that’s the only reasonable bike here.”  Not wanting to start an argument, even though I completely disagree, I responded with, “It sure is a fun bike.”  He proceeds to tell me that he doesn’t understand these big adventure bikes… how it is not an adventure if you can’t ride it on narrow single track.  It was disappointing to hear his narrow-minded view of discrediting the bulky bikes as being adventuresome just because you can comfortably ride to dirt trails and then proceed into the forest.  I don’t want to have to trailer my bike like he does. It’s like saying it’s not an adventure if you take a cruiser (Carla King…you are awesome for riding the only Motoguzzi there) or sportbike (like fellow wanderluster Bill) and spend time on the asphalt.  They are just different types. If we all waited for the perfect vehicle, most of us would never have left. Ride what you have.  Adventure is where the heart is…the motorcycle just gets you there.

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7 thoughts on “OX12… a soloist amongst family

  1. Not to sound condescending, but who’s is calling who narrowminded with regards to bike size and means of getting to “adventure?” You don’t want to trailer to the forest, and he doesn’t want to ride to the trails…you both have different impressions of what adventure is, and what risks it involves. I’ve ridden trails deep into the backcountry into places where adventure definitely began, and ended, and we made it back…but those same guys think that riding a motorcycle on the street is crazy and a death wish. Similarly, there are plenty of people with KLR’s or GS’s or KTM Adventures that never venture off the pavement, and yet still call their trip or ride an “adventure.” Perhaps you could have pointed that out to him, by asking what he meant by “adventure.” After he gave his answer, he would probably have asked you the same question…

    And while I love my KTM Adventure and have taken it all over the place on the street, to work a few times a week for years now, as well as on a lot of singletrack where it didn’t “belong” in CO and NM and AZ and everything in between – it is not a single cylinder dirt bike and never will be. There is a lot of adventure in a small bike, a light bike, and without 100 lbs of camping gear and clothes and survival supplies strapped to it. You can easily get yourself good and lost five day’s walk from anywhere on such a machine, just as you can a heavier or bigger bike. Even an underpowered CRF230F is a hoot and gen get you into plenty of trouble without ever breaking 50 mph.

    “The machine does not isolate man from the great problems of nature but plunges him more deeply into them.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    That quote is true of all of them, cruiser, beemer, DR-Z400 and even smaller ones alike. It’s just a matter of what you deem “adventure.”

  2. Wow…I’m sorry that you had that take from reading my post. (Are you sure you read all of it?) I was disagreeing with his statement that it is the ONLY reasonable “adventure” bike there. I never discredited or needed to question his idea of adventure, or the cruiser’s or the sport bike’s or even the pink scooter that was there (pic added – don’t know how much single track it has seen though)… To reiterate the last words of my post “Ride what you have. Adventure is where the heart is…the motorcycle just gets you there.” (So, how is it you think I am being discriminatory? Aren’t we saying the same thing?)

    I was giving my opinion of HOW I LIKE TO TRAVEL…I have big bike lust. I ride with guys who trailer, their little bikes as well as their big bikes. We all laugh, since comfort is in the ass of the rider after all, but we generally have one thing in common… excitement about any kind of motorcycle. I am not here to convert more people to ride big bikes. I just want to inspire more people to take an adventure, whether its for a couple hours or couple months.

    At the expo, being surrounded by everything from massive overland vehicles to home tinkered motorcycles just goes to show anyone can (and does) adventure with any means possible and I respect it all.

  3. Well said on all fronts Alison. Looking forward to meeting up on the trail soon. We leave on our GDR trip in 2 days! Be well….

  4. Alison, i couldn’t agree more. I learned long ago while mountain bike racing not to judge others sense of adventure or equipment choices. When I first started racing I thought people who did 100 mile rides were weird. Then people who did 100 mile races. Then 24 Hour team races. Then 24 Hour solo races. Then one day I woke and I had done many of the above on single speeds, full suspension, hard tails, 26″, 29″, etc bikes. I did 3 day epic adventure races across Costa Rica. I woke up and found my lust for harder races at higher altitudes. I binged on the self induced suffering and pain and learning about myself and who I am.

    For some it will be a 125 and for others it will be a 1200. It’s all good if it has 2 wheels and gets us out there experiencing the world. And it’s still good if it is a plane that gets them there for a different kind of adventure. Our version of adventure is just that, our individual version and not to be judged by others.

    • Thanks for relating to the story. It reminds me of something I said after my Alaska trip…and now look where I’m headed! (might this be a never say never moment?)

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