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Old 8 Apr 2011
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well the whole thing is a personal decision, finding your self and change some parts of your live.... may our 40+ generation is just feed up with being pushed around for so long and like to "live"...

as the Hogfather is putting it:

and by that...
I have to recall "Bill Hicks" who I think brought it up to point... like this:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park.
And when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are.
And the ride goes up and down and round and round.
It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while.
Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride?
And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say,
“Hey – don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride…”
And we… kill those people.
“We have a lot invested in this ride.
Shut him up.
Look at my furrows of worry.
Look at my big bank account and my family.
This just has to be real.”
Just a ride.
But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that?
And let the demons run amok.
But it doesn’t matter because: It’s just a ride.
And we can change it any time we want.
It’s only a choice.
No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money.
A choice, right now, between fear and love.
The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off.
The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one.
Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride.
Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”
The trouble is that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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I think there is too much going on to put it all together.

I'll get flamed, but IMHO, buy a certain large motorcycle, the contents of certain catalogues and a copy of Chris Scott/Ted Simon/Lois on the.... to read on the plane before you pick up the hired bike for the organised tour is, by definition, a holiday/hobby. The fact that this has been labelled "Adventure Riding" has produced a back lash/counter culture.

The manufacturers have seen a massive band wagon and jumped on it. Certain must have brands now produce what I will charitably called road touring kit. If you have a real need for some items you still can't buy them. I made my own sidecar body, copied from what the Australians are doing because I really can't live with a Ural. No one will sell me something that'll do the Elefant rally as a five day blast.

The "counter culture" has caused thinking. I was a mobile TT advert for a good few years. My excuse is that this was pre-internet and as a new rider I only had the AMHB. Learning that you can ride a Harley to Mongolia and meeting people who have ridden Enfields RTW encouraged putting Knobblies on the Bonneville as a way of having my cake and eating it (the wife won't let me have a Tenere as well and I can't see us doing two up rides on a KTM, so the Bonneville stays). If you want a something away from what you'll see on ADVrider you end up making.

The net had also brought up small fabricators. Ten years ago there was simply no way to find the sort of chap who'd make you a long range tank for a Bonneville, it was plastic cans or sell a Kidney to buy a bike listed in that catalogue.

I'm surprised this is seen as a European thing though. The choice of bikes in the US is more limited and the small companies will surely be more ino Harleys? In Germany with the TUV and the likes, it must be harder to make something that just pick up a catalogue. Maybe the UK and US are just more noticable as kicking back against their Sportsbike/Cruiser culture amongst those who like shopping?

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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Adventure means "to see what happens"
Adventure arranged by sombody else, with an organised itinery is never going to be as big an adventure as figuring it out yourself.
Daring to go on something that is not acknowledged to be the most reliable, most perfectly suitable and kitted out bike, is always going to be more of an adveture also.
To some, going on something that is not "the best available", is unacceptable. Those of us who cannot afford to or,choose not to, spend huge money on some great bike, often also enjoy the added degree of adventure that our "unsuitable" choice of bike brings with it.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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What is the deffinition of 'Adventure Motorcycling'? I can't afford months off work and the financial outlay to venture far.

I tend to go for short (4 or 5 day) breaks to mainland Europe from here in the UK. All of them are an 'adventure' - sure there's no off roading, no political instability to worry about, no corrupt boarder officals to bribe - some of you may consider this real adventure, but for us humble gals/guys without the resources to globe trot, the thrill of getting a few nights camping and meeting up on the road with like minded folks can also satisfy the urge to travel.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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I think the main difference is that the travelers have become more narrow-minded and someone makes a lot of noise to prove various things.
If you go to remote places things are like they used to be.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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The big elephant in the room is of course the Internet

I did a UK to Cape Town trip in 1995 and it was just about the last of the pre Internet era trips

We went to the house of one dude who'd done the trip on a R80gs a few years previously and I read 1 article in Bike magazine. That was our research

We knew absolutely cock all before we left, no GPS, no mobile phone, Poste Restante letters, not a clue about anything before we left, just some maps and a compass pointing south. I do feel as if it was quite an adventure for me and my girlfriend.

Whilst everybodys idea of Adventure is different, the preponderance of websites makes it very difficult to go somewhere where one has resisted the urge to research it extensively on the net beforehand

And I think that takes a lot of the DIY out of it

But Adventure Motorcycling is just like every single other hobby/pastime - all life is there. Some berk spending £14000 on a 1200GS Adventure BMW and then finding that the weight limits the opportunity for exploring offroad isn't gonna stop anyone having a good time on a 34L XT600 (the point at which Adventure Motorcycles reached their zenith incidentally)
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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I'm sure this will be a lively topic!

I think there are both DIY'ers and um the other ones out there. Not sure if there is a surge of either side, more different strokes for different folks. On our way to Nepal we met up with both types. I wonder if the two camps don't split along the classic/romantic lines?

From my own tendancies I prefer DIY for several reasons. Firstly its a stubborn self reliance thing - I was never great at delegating something which I know I could do myself. This of course leads to a complete lack of time

Its a nice (and simultanaously petrifying) feeling to be in another country far away from home sitting astride a bike you setup yourself. Knowing it inside out is also invaluable if (when?) it goes wrong. Not least of all is the money aspect - I'd sooner have another 2 months travel than a set of factory made panniers.

In Iran we had the realisation that the perfect travel bike would be a Honda CG125 (clone) with carpet bag panniers. Light, reliable, simple, economical, cheap and doesn't attract any unwanted attention.

Thats not to say I don't have my little weaknesses, that little multifuel stove was just too tempting...

Belfast to Kathmandu on a Diesel motorbike 2010/11 www.suckindiesel.com
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Adventure Motorcycling is an inner journey

The essence of AM for me is rooted in psychology

I think in the western world we have things very easy and there is no real challenge in surviving day to day by and large. There is little challenge in the 9-5 way of life and to make matters worse there is little purpose other than to make money.

We were brought up with the attitude of working hard and deferring one's enjoyment until retirement. In recent years people are discovering the fundamental error of this as their retirement funds are taken by politicians and financiers.

It is my belief that modern society has developed into a nanny state and the number of pointless rules and regulations are turning us into robots or simply labour units for exploitation. Our ability to be responsible is being eroded and along with it our sense of individuality. Some of us are not comfortable with this and intuitively know something is wrong. I believe that adventure motorcycling is a manifestation of this disatisfaction.

AM allows us to remove ourselves from this 'comfortably numb' environment and wake us our senses. It provides unknowable challenges in alien environments that permits us to get some real measure of ourselves.

Fear of the unknown is a huge factor and one that stops many people getting underway.

it is understandable that we want to carry as much stuff as we can in order to deal with every possible situation. More gear, less fear. However, I believe that you get less from your trip when you bring more insulation (and I include money and insurance in this).

Those who have been out there and done it, all say that you don't need all this stuff, but hey ho, some things you have to learn for yourself.

To my mind the DIY'er is a person who strives to develop their abily to overcome all obstacles through their own skills, knowledge and judgement.
And like modern day Francis of Assisi's they rely on help from strangers when they are in trouble. This is undoubtly one of the hardest things for us westerns to do because of our egos.

AM is not unlike a rite of passage that enables us to know ourselves better. It sharpens our senses and provides us with a better understanding of the world we live in and the other people sharing our planet.

We live our lives rather than merely existing in someone else's.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
For example - the powder coated steel rear rack and peli case top box that I made for my XT is IMHO, the best top box for my needs that I have ever seen by several country miles. I quite simply couldn't have bought something as good off t'internet. This is just one example - I bet anyone who makes their own kit could give plenty of similar examples.
This is a sentiment I can understand, but DIY on kit is great if you have the time or skills. Sometimes though, and especially where you have neither, you have to accept that you're going to have to pay to get your bike and yourself ready. I work long hours in the hope that in two years time I can do my own trip. I've never been much good at making stuff, and as I'm now into my 50s, I'd be surprised if that changed overnight In the meantime I can only plod away at getting both of us ready.

When does one become an adventure traveller/motorcyclist? What are the qualifications?

A few weeks ago I set out from Newcastle upon Tyne and rode 1045 miles over 6 days. It wasn't that far in terms of riders on this Forum, the duration of my trip wasn't that long either, and I didn't even get out of the country. However, for me, who until then only gone on weekend trips to one place and returned, it was the first time I went self sufficient for an "indeterminate time" (I could have stayed away longer were it not for work), I moved at least 100 miles almost every day, I stopped en-route for some of my meals, and spent at least one night under canvas, having taken all that I would need to have camped for a few weeks.

I accept that in terms used by many on this forum, it was peanuts, but, it was a great adventure to me, and has given me some good lessons for when I make my own big trip. And if I really want to cheer myself up I just remember that in those 6 days, and with my trip estimated to take one year, so I spent one 50th of that on the road, and I rode about one 50th of my target mileage
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by deenewcastle View Post
I accept that in terms used by many on this forum, it was peanuts, but, it was a great adventure to me,

Nicely said. Adventure is a bar set by the individual, not by society.

Before anyone gets cocksure about who does and who doesn't qualify as 'adventurous', they should remember there's very few of us who have done anything that plenty of people haven't done before. And there will always be people who make us look like lightweights!


Fridtjof Nansen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Well, what a fantastic range of responses here!
Have read hardly anything I'd disagree with, and don't really know where to turn now.

Other than, yes, for Africa, I did FAR too much planning and preparation and took TOO much stuff.
I don't think I'd ever do a 'package organised' tour, but think myself a bit lucky that I had a career as an engineer, so feel no need of such a package. Others may not find themselves in that situation and need an 'escort' or 'backup'. But so what?

On that African trip I did a lot of 'people watching' (it was a slow trip compared to many I read about here). And I found, wherever you go on an 'adventure journey', you meet lots of ordinary local people who are also doing journeys, along the same roads and routes that you are travelling. And to them, it's all workaday routine, how they earn their livelihood. Many of them use simple small motorbikes, Chinese or Japanese, or bicycles, and carry more on them than you'd ever see a car carrying in the west.

So after about 9 months, with another 4 to go, I slowly came to the conclusion, this isn't an adventure at all. I was just mimicking, albeit for longer distances, what many local people do in the places I was travelling through.
But I had much greater freedom than them. I could stop as and when I pleased, go different places as I pleased, buy daily stuff in stalls and shops without worrying if I could afford it. Really, it was the ordinary African people I was meeting who were having the adventure in their lives, not me. I was just travelling, as slowly as I could, through their lands, experiencing through meeting them what an adventure it was to live their everyday lives in these places. Just an observer.

That's the conclusion I'm slowly coming to, although I'm still trying to work out what it really all means.
That is, to experience the adventure that people outside of 'the west' have in their lives, while I ride through, on 21st century machinery, with space-age tent, too many spares, being able to afford as much petrol, food and water as I could possibly want, and a piece of paper that flies me straight out if I fall to some tricky local disease.

Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
And there will always be people who make us look like lightweights!
Fridtjof Nansen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yes, I'll add to that, Cherry-Garrard's "The Worst Journey In The World", which I read in my 20s. (Still in paperback). It left me realising that for ordinary folk like me, the best we can probably do, is go "adventure chasing", in whatever way, and enjoy all it has to offer!
TTR250 - London to Cape Town
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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There are so many examples of DIY

Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
Nicely said. Adventure is a bar set by the individual, not by society.

Before anyone gets cocksure about who does and who doesn't qualify as 'adventurous', they should remember there's very few of us who have done anything that plenty of people haven't done before. And there will always be people who make us look like lightweights!


Fridtjof Nansen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That was my thoughts Matt while reading through this thread; for another example anyone could do a lot worse than read "a short walk in the Hindu Kush" by Eric Newby (it is not just about walking).
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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I live in the USA, and am taking of on one of those adventure trips on a small, cheap bike with a $20 tent and ruffle on the back. From the people that I speak with, most want a bigger bike with all the kit. They will also (probably) never actually leave the country. Its similar to everyone buying big SUVs or trucks with knobbie tiresto go buy groceries.

It seems most Americans who are thinking about small bikes have already gone on a long adventure trip or had a serious open minded chat withsomeone who has. Sadly we are not always open minded. And we like big bikes.

Given what I saw at Overland expo, big bikes with shiny stuff as an industry is doing quite well. I have friends who are setting their bikes up to look just look the pictures in the magazines. They also have no intention of actual adventure travel, or even off roading.

Two brief stories - remember that couple after the last session Sunday?

As I was packing the twoGS riders next to me were complaining a) the expo onlyseemed concerned with "romantic trips," they had been interested in 2 or 3 week roadtrips in the USA, and b) discussing whether they should stop right away towash thedust off their bikes or if they should wait until the next day when they got home.
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Hi Lois,
great question. I can tell you that for me doing things myself are a way to balance the ready made- throw away lifestyle in which I feel forced to live in. In other words I believe that there is an inner push to keep my brain-manual connections alive. I enjoy figuring things out and then fixing them. I think in a world overloaded with stuff and information readily available at any moment and low cost one might feel less and less useful by subscribing to the trend of mass consumption of cheap and throw away goods. I just like to know I can make things last and more importantly that I know how to figure how to do so.
Anyways, my two cents.
Where is the magazine available, I haven't heard of it!
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Old 8 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Lois View Post
From talking/emailing with various travellers lately I'm getting the feeling that there's a growing movement towards keeping things small and simple - 'less is more', 'back to basics', 'make do and mend' (and any other useful sayings I can think of).

Has anyone else noticed this? Is it significant? What is the driving force behind it? Is it just a reaction to consumerism, is it related to the economic situation, is it a symptom of a wider social movement towards simple living?

So I guess my query refers to that ethos being applied to motorcycle travel - making your own luggage, keeping things cheap, small, secondhand etc.
Hi Lois,

In my humble opinion, many hobbies or activities go through these oscillations.

Technology pushes the boundaries, initially making things better but then eventually excess technology takes you away from the essential core of the activity (which is probably what drew you to it in the first place).

This is true in activities ranging from backpacking to climbing to paddling to adventure motorcycling.

However, the pressure from technology is an ongoing issue and will likely never go away as companies have money to make and frankly most consumers like new gadgets.

Within these broad trends, are micro trends where small groups of enthusiasts try to fight the wave and get back to basics.

Usually these folks are older, more experienced, and importantly remember a time when it was more basic.

So I would think that "back to basics" is really just a point in time in the lifecyle of some motorcyclists and travellers. For the vast majority of adventure tourers, they will likely never get to that stage.

At times though, there will be greater awareness and dialogue on the issue, and it seems that now is one of those times. This is a good thing, but if it was really a movement, then we would all be switching to pedal bikes

Happy writing and riding.
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