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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #61  
Old 11 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
Eh?! Where did I imply I was better for it?

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...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.
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PS - That weekend you were out riding? It was probably p*ssing it down here in Scotland!
I know I quoted you, but my post was actually a general reaction to some of the posts on this thread, although I did interpret your statement that DIY riding is "an added dimension - something more you can take from the experience" as meaning that you thought that making your own stuff makes riding a more complete experience (ie, x+y rather than simply x), which I don't really agree with.

I can't say that I was offended, more puzzled really. And your comment about the weather brings up a good point, that all of this is very situational...someday when I have more skills, time, tools, space, and stormy weather, it is very possible that I'll be beavering away in my garage as much as anyone...
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  #62  
Old 12 Apr 2011
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I feel a kinship with all people who adventure on the road no matter how many wheels under them, peddle or power.
Simpler riding is dictated by the countries you travel through.
Asia lends itself to "diy", as small bikes are the norm. Less fuel, insurance is kept under the magic 150 cc limit . (This is written as an extra on travel insurance, mainly to accommodate the hiring of scooters at tourist spots. I know I'm stretching a friendship here, but there are no distance limits on many policies.)
A small bike can be sold at the border, if having troubles, and purchased on the other side. Also in case of an accident the bike is not a logistical pain. Its how the locals travel so there are always ways of travelling around trouble spots.
But with a small bike you have to be brutal in weight you carry, so you do get inventive.
I ,like many new here, have come from the backpacking world where I may have seen many who post here enjoying their freedom, that is advertising in its own right for my (cough) new found sport.
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  #63  
Old 12 Apr 2011
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Lois,
Great meeting you (and Austin) in San Francisco last month.

Not sure about other countries, but I think that there is a simplicity "fad" happening in the US these days--in part simply from a longing for a more engaged and simpler life (in a world where constant electronic distraction/communication and work are the norm), and in part simply due to a value shift effected by the crappy economic situation. Motorcycle travel gets caught up in that.

As for me, my first adventure moto trip was in 2006--all of 10 days around the western states, as I recall. I prepared by making a sheepskin seat cover, getting a side of leather and a saddlebag pattern and making myself a set of saddlebags. Lined 'em with trash bags for rainy days on the road. Bungeed a canoeing drybag up top, got a handful of paper maps and some camping gear, and off I went.

I survived (getting caught in a snowstorm in a mesh jacket was quite something), but as soon as I got home, started slowly acquiring fancier gear that wouldn't leak, rust, or break so damned easily. On my last cross-country trip, I was riding through an apocalyptic thunder and hailstorm, completely lost, in South Dakota, thinking, "gosh, I'm glad for hard panniers--I'm free to worry about imminent death from a lightning strike, without fussing over whether my gear is getting wet."

There's also group of very DIY, punk/leftist activist folks in the US who travel widely on the thinnest of shoestrings--networking and sharing travel expenses and putting each other up, sleeping under bridges when necessary, using secondhand or homemade gear. They aren't going back to basics, since they never left. Most are bicyclists; two of my acquaintance are motorcyclists, and one rides an old Ascot 500 with homemade bags to within an inch of its life. A few of them are friends, and I admire their courage and adaptability and minimalism; certainly I've learned a great deal from their style of travel, but my own psychological makeup needs a bit more gear and resource use to make it fun for me. Still, their tales of breakdowns and hitchhiking on the Dalton Highway, going to metal shows held in coal mines in Albania, being blown off the road in Montana, and sleeping in caves in the Pyrenees are great stuff, and proof of lives well lived.
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  #64  
Old 12 Apr 2011
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The only non DIYers are those that choose an organised tour. For some this is a very good option as it's a good way to make the best use of your time off.

Everyone else is DIYing to some extent. We have always been very organised on our trips in terms of the bike and luggage although everything is home made and all the modifications to the bike are our own doing. Other than that we have a destination and a vague route in mind but the rest is made up as we go along. On our trip to Cape Town we met some bike travellers several times and you cou see them changing as they went along from being on a 4 month trip to becoming long term travellers picking up work where they could etc. and others again who just couln't wait for it to finish so they could get back to their comfortable European lives.

The Adventure bit for me is going further than you've been before and seeing new places and meeting new people for the first time. I was always surprised at how different my experience was from what I'd read in guide books. There are some that find it's the escape from their previous lives that they were looking for and they become long term travellers and there are others who just don't like being outside their comfort zone.
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  #65  
Old 13 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
I know I quoted you, but my post was actually a general reaction to some of the posts on this thread, although I did interpret your statement that DIY riding is "an added dimension - something more you can take from the experience" as meaning that you thought that making your own stuff makes riding a more complete experience (ie, x+y rather than simply x), which I don't really agree with.

I can't say that I was offended, more puzzled really. And your comment about the weather brings up a good point, that all of this is very situational...someday when I have more skills, time, tools, space, and stormy weather, it is very possible that I'll be beavering away in my garage as much as anyone...
That's cool. I was worried my post had been misconstrued. I understand the sentiment - there inevitably creeps in a kind partisanship and snobbery between some members of different sectors of an otherwise homogenous group. I have no time for that nonsense - I like to ride with anyone - my riding buddies come from the full spectrum and I'd hate to think that I was guilty of looking down on someone whose approach was different to mine.

Matt
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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!
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  #66  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
......members of different sectors of an otherwise homogenous group......
Thats funny, I was thinking about this in the shower this morning! A while ago MCN did an article on adventure motorcycling with a mildly amusing attempt at creating categories of rider. I don't remember what they were exactly but one was the 'lone wolf'

I guess as any community grows it fractions and you get more distinct groups forming within it - is adventure biking going to go the way of us defining each other by what we ride, where we go or why we do it? Is this something we should be trying to shape or just let itevolve of it's own accord?
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  #67  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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The reason I chose to ride a motorcycle was the high profile coverage of adventure motorcycling that took place a few years ago. I am of course talking about the Long Way.... productions, which I enjoyed watching.

Now, I cannot afford a big adventure motorcycle with all the fancy attachments; nor would I buy one if I could. Reason, I find large motorcycles dreadful to ride, and Touratech don't make bits specific for my bike!

So I am left adapting my own motorcycle, a 125, for the small trips I have done so far. One day I would love to buy a mid weight duel-sport bike with factory fitted panniers, but that isn’t going to be soon. This does not mean I am unhappy with my choice of bike and its arrangements at the moment, it’s just my preference.

I think a lot of hate is being directed at GS owners because of Ewan & Charley's programme; to people on this forum adventure motorcycling is a close to heart subject, and to see it displayed on television in such a way made a lot of people unhappy; perhaps it was an invasion of privacy.

I believe the DIY approach is more a fact of confirming oneself as a 'true' adventure motorbiker in some deep psychological way, similar to the chap at the end of the bar who drinks real ale and is therefore a 'true' pub goer (only people from Yorkshire will get that comparison!).
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  #68  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by tommysmithfromleeds View Post
I think a lot of hate is being directed at GS owners because of Ewan & Charley's programme; to people on this forum adventure motorcycling is a close to heart subject,
Yes, I think you are right, and it's not fair. People have been riding BMWs round the world for donkeys years for one reason - they are very good motorbikes.
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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!
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  #69  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
Thats funny, I was thinking about this in the shower this morning! A while ago MCN did an article on adventure motorcycling with a mildly amusing attempt at creating categories of rider. I don't remember what they were exactly but one was the 'lone wolf'

?
I read something similar. It's like this stuff is written by their advertising sales people. They decide to do yet another 600 supersports 4 way ride off. Advertising sales guy points out that Sports-Touring riders will be put off, so they do a side bar on how well throwovers fit and stick an advert for Oxford Luggage underneath. Then of course advertising sales guy gets an enquiry from a race school, so you get another one pager tagged on about how your CBR600 can have a slipper clutch and tyre warmers. I'd even wonder if the task Lois was given at the start was triggered by Touratech etc. wondering why their sales have levelled off?

In real life, I'd bet we'd struggle to find an R1200GS riding Touratech advert who hadn't stuck a bit of velcro inside his pannier lids to hold something or at the other extreme an Enfield riding Max Mad lookalike who hadn't thought about buying the odd SIGG bottle holder. The "categories" have to be blurry.


I don't think we can use the pub analogy in isoltaion. If Ewan and Charlie are drinking Peroni with a squeeze of lime in the wine bar round the corner while half of us are in a canal side boozer sampling the "Sheep Killer Ruby", I can find you riders who drink nothing but filtered rain water and others who'll only touch stuff made from real sheep. I know, I went to MZ club gatherings

Andy
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  #70  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Is that a 'they are' or 'they were' very good bikes? The old R80 GS and the like are great machines, solid, bombproof, dependable - but I've heard nothing but gripes from the owners of the new generation machines! Unfortunately the classic R80 GSPD is like hens teeth now and commanding very high prices in any condition
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  #71  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
Is that a 'they are' or 'they were' very good bikes? The old R80 GS and the like are great machines, solid, bombproof, dependable - but I've heard nothing but gripes from the owners of the new generation machines! Unfortunately the classic R80 GSPD is like hens teeth now and commanding very high prices in any condition
This thread was overdue for the requisite BMW bashing, so thanks for checking that box.

Actually, I think you'll find that many R1200GS owners, including on this forum, find them to be excellent and reliable machines--I know I do...

And when I rode across Russia a couple of years ago, the sole bike in the group to break down was a R80 GSPD, all of the "new generation" bikes did just fine.
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  #72  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
This thread was overdue for the requisite BMW bashing, so thanks for checking that box.
You're welcome! Was just reading the thread about the F800 GS as an adventure bike, may have jaded my view. I guess the stories that get through are always the nightmare ones - the 'bike did fine and no problems, support from BMW was good' reports don't make good reading! TBH the only people I know in Sheffield with 1200GS's are bike instructors so that must speak well for them
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  #73  
Old 14 Apr 2011
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My mates got a BMW 1200GS. Had it for a few years, ridden it thousands of k's and the only 'breakdown' he's had was when he filled it with diesel!

Sorry, - I just like telling that story!
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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!
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  #74  
Old 15 Apr 2011
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Hypocrite that I am I'd secretly quite like a GS (as would many beemer bashers!) - the main thing that irks me is you see so many going around fully tourateched up and they never go further than a weekend in Wales.... in the words of John Lennon - I'm just a jealous guy
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  #75  
Old 15 Apr 2011
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Henry, you're more than welcome to buy my 1150 with 105,000 miles on the clock if you're after a more 'rugged' GS look Absolutely bugger all wrong with it but then its never done any hardcore commuting...

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
Hypocrite that I am I'd secretly quite like a GS (as would many beemer bashers!) - the main thing that irks me is you see so many going around fully tourateched up and they never go further than a weekend in Wales.... in the words of John Lennon - I'm just a jealous guy
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