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  #46  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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There seems to be [IMHO] three kinds of motorcycle travelers .
a] The young person on a strict budget ,eager to get out and see a bit of the world.
b] The older person who has raised a family and now has enough time and money to do extended trips .
c] The inveterate traveler ,for whom traveling is a necessary part of life ,or indeed has become a way of life.

DIY will ,more than likely appeal, to groups a and c .
The person most likely to read articles in a glossy magazine will be in group b .
Magazines are reliant upon advertising and ,like it or not ,companies like Touratech don't want to see articles slagging off their highly expensive tat.
So be kind !
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  #47  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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And of course, it's a lot easier to be a DIY biker if you're lucky enough to have a decent sized garage/workshop, a good set of tools and a bit of know how.

I'm very lucky. I inherited a very large, pretty well stocked garage from my dad (aircraft engineer and classic car restorer).

Imagine buying all the tools, equipment to build your own if you didn't have it already ?? It would cost a good few £££££.

Lot's of people living in apartments or small houses. People having to work on the street or kitchen table are going to find it MUCH more difficult.

I have to admit, I wouldn't do half as much DIY if it wasn't for my workshop.
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  #48  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
...doing everything yourself gives you a far greater sense of achievement. I think people like to choose the level to which they 'DIY' - they do as much as they think their own skills allow them too and feel all the more pride in their acheivement. There is definately a feeling of satisfaction from home made kit/doing it on the cheap/ choosing your own bike (rather than what MCN tells you what you need). You will ofetn hear a DIY Adv-tourer telling you with pride how his home made panniers cost $8.50 and took a weekend to build - but you'd never hear that from someone who bought TT's off the shelf. Imagine - "Yeah, and I did my entire trip with these panniers - they cost £1000 and were adequate. Pretty proud of that..."

However, for some people that isn't important. They simply want to ride their lovely expensive bike in interesting places. There's nothing wrong with that. DIY is perhaps just an added dimension - something more you can take from the experience. If x = adventure motorcycling and y = DIY, then x on its own simply = x. But x + y = z. And z = DIY adventure motorcycling, which (for some people) is so much more than x.
Well, I'm one of those people that have a hard time understanding this fascination with "DIY"...that's great if some people get some sort of satisfaction out of spending a weekend building their own panniers, but for various reasons (explained below), I'd much rather spend a couple of hundred bucks to get something off the shelf, and spend my time riding or doing something else.

I live in Moscow and have neither the skills, time, garage, or tools to fabricate a bunch of stuff on my own, and morever, have no desire to, and money is not really an issue. I know what I want, and generally there is an acceptable commercial product; if not, I will do without or jerry-rig something that works.

I have some TT stuff, and some stuff by a variety of small vendors, I don't really care about the source, as long as it is functional and not crazy expensive. I'm not interested in showing off what I made in my garage, really not interested in your opinion of me or my bike whatsoever. I like to travel on my bike to wherever I want to go, and I don't see DIY as any kind of "added dimension". That weekend you spent in your garage making your panniers? I was probably out riding.

That's great that some people like tinkering with stuff like this, but to imply that you are somehow better for it is a bit much IMO...
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  #49  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Another dimension of 'What is diy mc travel?':
There's been talk about people who create and prepare their bikes and gear themselves, and also talk about people who travel 'off the cuff' (for want of a better term). The two are often quite far removed from each other.

Some people who build their own paniers 'etc' go quite over the top (imo), and are quite obsessive about having every thing/feature they could ever need and having absolutly the best possible. This to me is just a different side of the same coin from people who spend hours flicking through touratech catalogues 'etc' searching for the best kit money can buy and having every 'adventure motorcycling' accessorie they make. The difference between these two groups is only about the bike and gear, and the actual style of travel can often be quite similar.


To my mind the concept of 'diy advmoto' some here are getting at is more the ethos and style of the travel, not about whether you built your own bike and luggage. Thusly I don't see why buying ready made gear in any way excludes one from being a 'diyer'. It's hard to see someone on a brand new beamer with all the touratech clobber fitting this, but someone who just bought a bike and some basic motorcycle luggage and set off could well be.


In someways diy is about striving for independance, and in someways this can end up lessening a travel experience because it will reduce your interaction with people in the places you're travelling through.

/Edit, one last thing:
What's more adventurous, or even more 'DIY'; The traveller who takes a tent and a camping stove, and spends every night camping in the wilderness cooking their own nosh. Or the person who doesn't even have any camping equipment, and spends many a night in dodgey small hotels and guesthouses, and even in people's houses when it's offered or when desperate, and whom eats every day from dubious local cafes etc. The reality is that most travellers seem to do a bit of both however.
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Last edited by Nath; 10 Apr 2011 at 12:26.
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  #50  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
On that African trip I did a lot of 'people watching'. 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.
Very interesting, and very true I think.

My own tale related (a little bit) to this:
When I decided to go on my trip to Mongolia, I was entranced by the thought of travelling through Russia and Kazakhstan et al. How exotic, how adventurous. Some time later and I'm now married to a Russian who grew up in Kazakhstan, and the thought that simply travelling through Russia or Kazakhstan is 'oh so adventurous' now seems laughable.


We noticed that people who travel tend often to show a distorted view of the places they've visited, in their blogs, photos and tales to friends. Making them seem more exotic, more dangerous, more adventurous than they really are And also simply 'more different' to our western way of life than is the reality. Noticed this loads. Even the revered Austin Vince is/was terribly guilty of this in his dvds.
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  #51  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
That's great that some people like tinkering with stuff like this, but to imply that you are somehow better for it is a bit much IMO...
Eh?! Where did I imply I was better for it?

If you read my post properly you'll see I've been as careful as possible not to say any such thing. Did you see this bit? -

"However, for some people that isn't important. They simply want to ride their lovely expensive bike in interesting places. There's nothing wrong with that."

Or, where I qualified my 'scientific formula' here: "DIY adventure motorcycling, which (for some people) is so much more than x."

I said, in what I thought was pretty basic language, that for some people it adds an extra dimension. For some people it doesn't. Its all good!


In my next post (two posts later) I was even clearer:

"For you DIY-ing would be a waste of your precious time. Absolutely fair enough.

I would say (IMHO) that the DIY-er places no less value on their time. But, because the (for example) manufacture of home made panniers is an enjoyable end in itself, the time spent on this is NOT a waste of time.

Most Adv-Tourers live in first world societies where the (say) 20 or so man-hours spent on building home made panniers would not really be that difficult to find. But for some it would be a pointless waste of time, for others it is an interesting and rewarding challenge.

There is no right way or wrong way - just your own way."



I always to try to discuss things as levelly and even handedly as possible, without implying that my way is the best way, my bike is the best bike or anything like that, as I'm well aware my way probably isn't the best way and my bike (given the fruitless afternoon I've just spent tinkering with the damn thing!) probably isn't the best bike!

The thread is about DIY adventure touring. I genuinely don't understand why you would read such a thread and then get offended by people trying to explain what it means for them.

Cheers,

Matt

PS - That weekend you were out riding? It was probably p*ssing it down here in Scotland!
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*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!

Last edited by Matt Cartney; 10 Apr 2011 at 20:28.
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  #52  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
T.
Magazines are reliant upon advertising and ,like it or not ,companies like Touratech don't want to see articles slagging off their highly expensive tat.
So be kind !
It's OK Dodger, I AM kind! This article is not about slagging anything off, it's a discussion about different philosophies to our hobby/way of life. It is not fuelled by an agenda - everyone can do what makes them happy as far as I am concerned - but lately I am seeing a move towards more lo-fi travelling and that is of interest to me, so I assume it will be of interest to the readers of the mag. Let's hope so!
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  #53  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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... - but lately I am seeing a move towards more lo-fi travelling and that is of interest to me, so I assume it will be of interest to the readers of the mag. Let's hope so!
Hey Lois, when you say that you see a move towards more lo-fi traveling, what is the basis of comparison you look at?

I mean, is it the same amount of folks, who have traveled in the past in one way and now choose a low-cost, simpler approach?

Or, has the number of overland motorcycle travelers increased, thus added to the pool of people and the tendency of new-comers is going low-cost, simpler?

Are you looking at demographic changes over the years, i.e. age, income class, etc.?
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  #54  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Nath View Post

We noticed that people who travel tend often to show a distorted view of the places they've visited, in their blogs, photos and tales to friends. Making them seem more exotic, more dangerous, more adventurous than they really are And also simply 'more different' to our western way of life than is the reality. Noticed this loads. Even the revered Austin Vince is/was terribly guilty of this in his dvds.
I can't say I've noticed this but I would add the following two observations:
1. Places become less 'hostile' as you get to know them better
2. I heard an inspirational story last year at Enniskillen (Ireland meeting -sorry can't remember his name) where the guy was travelling alone through Morocco and felt fearful of the locals in the small villages he passed through because they had a menacing look about them. As he travelled on he remembered being told that "you get what you project" and so changed his attitude and noticed a totally different reaction from the locals in the next town. He further observed that as he was chatting merrily with them they stopped talking when more travellers were passing through and had the same hard looks that he found intimidating initially.

I guess my point is that your reaction, and consequently your experience, is subjective and depends on a whole raft of factors -lots of which are within your control -if you are aware of them.
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  #55  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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We in the USA get a week or 2 off per year. No time fore nice long trips. And the USA is big and in Canada and Mexico and you are looking a huge area to ride in.

As far as DIY it is alive and well as seen with rtwdoug a basket case bike and a old bag used for RTW.

As for me much of the time a DIY job is not worth time or money, cheaper and faster to go to a store and pay for it. But I have had my share of little DIY for moto trips. But my next bike I am working on is a old oil burning 1978 Yamaha dt125.
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  #56  
Old 10 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by T.REX63 View Post
Hey Lois, when you say that you see a move towards more lo-fi traveling, what is the basis of comparison you look at?

I mean, is it the same amount of folks, who have traveled in the past in one way and now choose a low-cost, simpler approach?

Or, has the number of overland motorcycle travelers increased, thus added to the pool of people and the tendency of new-comers is going low-cost, simpler?

Are you looking at demographic changes over the years, i.e. age, income class, etc.?
It's probably a bit of both but most notably I am hearing people who bought a big bike and lots of kit/gadgets for the their first trip come back saying they will be taking a smaller bike and less stuff on their next trip. Have also noticed a move away from technology - people choosing to take less electronic gear that needs charging or that ends up breaking and needs fixing. In other words, just simplifying the experience.

This is not some scientific study, I hasten to add! Just my observations from people I meet at bike shows, my talks, on the road, by email etc.
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  #57  
Old 11 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Lois View Post
... . Have also noticed a move away from technology - people choosing to take less electronic gear that needs charging or that ends up breaking and needs fixing. In other words, just simplifying the experience.
...
Less is more! Given those parameters, to a certain degree, I would fall into that category as well. I have definitely cut back on a lot of stuff compared to previous trips. I have changed to less, but higher quality and functionality.
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  #58  
Old 11 Apr 2011
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There is the technology cycle involved here:

1980's: You go into the then Soviet Union, people at home expect intermitant post cards and the Post Resant system works given enough time.Phone calls require a trip to a government department, no one expects you to make one except maybe from a hospital bed or police cell.

Late 20th/early 21st Century: People at home expect e-mails and frequent phone calls. In the rough end of Kazakhstan you might find a cafe or friendly business with dial up or a phone that will call outside the country, but having your sat phone and lap top makes things easier.

2011: Every McDonalds between London and Tokyo has wifi that your mobile will link with. The local newsagents sell pay and go's.

Only during the spread of technology do you need to carry as much stuff. Same can be said for bikes, there can't be many mechanics in the world now who havn't seen a fuel pump, but that's another topic.

Andy
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  #59  
Old 11 Apr 2011
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There's been a wealth of responses so far, and I dare say my responses will, therefore, add little. But I have 15 mins to spare so why not?

Adventure motocycling now has a higher profile, and so more people have taken notice. Some like the look, some like the lifestyle, some like both. As a result companies are making more and lots of it costs £$€. Those who lack the money or prefer to channel it elsewhere will need to adapt what they have. So the difference between what one person buys and what one person builds becomes very obvious.

Lois' basic question was, as I understood it, is overlanding by bike moving toward a more simplistic way of doing things.

IMO, no.

As has been said, the adventure segment has grown incredibly and so now there is a whole gammet of styles and approaches.

"Back to Basics/DIY" is only one of those and, I think, has always been there.
It is probably the oldest form simply because those who fancied overlanding way back when, lacked the marketed products and infrastructure we have now: so what choice was there but to make and make do?

This "keep it simple" approach has simply been overshadowed by the big money machine that has picked up such momentum.

Perhaps now it is just getting more coverage, as the novelty to many of Adventure biking wanes, and some publish their journeys whilst others make a point of distancing themselves from the more mainstream approach, fearful of being tarnished by association!

Personally, I hope to build my own bike for the job as it seems every option out there compromises what I want, so I will be doing the DIY bit more. Similarly, I am no engineer so it will be "kept basic" by necessity, not choice!
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  #60  
Old 11 Apr 2011
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I've forgotten the name of the book but in the 50's someone in the UK who was having trouble adjusting to life being les exciting since WW2 ended converted his series I Landrover into an amphibious one from scratch, then sailed it to South America, drove all over the place, then sailed it back. That's the very best DIY adventure I have ever heard of by a clear mile, and was done over 60 years ago.
Maybe it's not the spirit or ethos that is growing, just the ability to find out about other peoples trips has got so much better (dare I say it the ability to blow ones own trumpet has gone up!!). Without places like HU I would only have managed to bore a handful of friends and family with my 'tales of daring do', normally starting with 'when I was in backwoodistan' and loud groans from all present
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