SILENCE THE REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT GO ON AN ADVENTURE
It’s important to watch exactly how your world will not end if you decide to get up from your desk to ride motorcycles for a few days. I was so glad to spend some time dualsporting on my 2013 Yamaha WR250R “ADV LITE” recently that it’s hard to express. But since expressing it is my job, I’m going to take a swing at it…
I do love the bike and the solitary nature of putting on your helmet and interacting with the trail, but the best thing about these rides is the people we take them with. Riding in a group and sharing the struggles and victories and vistas is pure joy.
My new pal Joe Brown, editor-in-chief of Popular Science, came along for a dirt ride we call The Trek recently in the Sierra Nevada range south of Yosemite. At a prime moment watching others conquer the mud bog and slippery roots we just had, he said, “This is really great riding with other people, the camaraderie and shared experience. I love riding but I always do it by myself. This is so good.”
And this is exactly the reason Cycle World founding publisher Joe Parkhurst launched the first Trek in 1975 with a trip to Mike’s Sky Ranch in Baja for his closest friends and associates in the industry. It was a true trek—as in a long point-to-point ride—at that time, but the percentage of high-level riders in high-level places in the industry was very high back then. Times were also slower or at least less insistently electronically noisy. The Trek has been an annual invitational event for us ever since.
My first Trek in 1999 was at a place called Montezuma Lodge in Arizona not far from Sedona. We slept eight in the small cabin where I was bunking, I found out one of the nicest PR guys in the business cussed up a storm in his sleep, and I should say eight humans because the rodent population in our cabin sent the living-creature census way up. There was but one pay phone, and the nearest cell signal might have been in Flagstaff. Imagine trying to keep 80 people off of Instagram for three days in 2017! The final morning, Lyle Lovett, musician and avid rider, asked me if I’d like another cup of coffee on the porch. “Why, yes, Lyle, yes I would.” At the core, it is the shared experience and common bonds formed during the adventure that have built the lifetime friendships and professional connections I have in the industry.
It’s changed over the years along with communication, culture, and motorcycle technology, but the core shared experience is the same and carries the same value. It’s even more fun now that we can share it all on social media nearly in real time. What could be better than watching (or capturing) your friends crash into a mud bog or conquer a hard, rocky climb?
And while pretty much every part of the motorcycle industry is stressed right now and it’s easy to think if you just work a little harder it might help, you’ve got to stop a moment. You absolutely must remember why we got into motorcycling in the first place, and why we choose to work in the industry is probably more important to the long-term health of yourself and the sport you love. The best message to send about riding motorcycles is to passionately pursue seat time.
Another day at the office doesn’t make memories to last a lifetime. Yes, you have to pay the bills, but paying the bills isn’t the end in and of itself. I work so that I may ride and have adventures with good friends. I feel fortunate that those good friends are also my colleagues and co-workers.
Take a day off and go riding. Parkhurst would approve. In fact, he would insist.