Motorcycle riding schools don’t teach you this stuff
I like riding alone. Especially when I’m in expedition mode: way off the pavement, picking a route through the back country towards some lake or ghost town.
And I like riding with friends even more.
But most of the time, I’m by myself out there….
Be honest: do I smell?
I think more riders would hit the trail with me if either, (a), I showered more frequently, or, (b), they had the skills necessary to take their dual-sport and adventure bikes on long off-road trips: equipment selection, bike preparation, route planning, navigating, camping — you get the picture.
I want to change that. I want more riders to feel confident tackling multi-day trips in the dirt. So I’m sharing my own practical, proven techniques and systems for adventure riders.
This isn’t about teaching you how to ride your bike off-road; there are already lots of schools that do a great job of that. In fact, I’ve created a list of dirt and adventure riding schools. Those guys are the pros. Attending one of their programs is certain to teach you something valuable.
Adventure Ride Guide will teach you something else: the techniques you need to put those riding skills to good use, way off the blacktop.
These are techniques I’ve learned through experience out there, off road, through trial and error and hours in the saddle in the middle of big blank spaces on the map.
Your bike belongs in the dirt. And so do you.
I’ve talked to many riders who want to enjoy epic trips like mine.
But they say they don’t have the knowledge or confidence to get off the beaten path.
Skilled riders, some of them more capable than I am, tell me:
I don’t have camping or wilderness experience.
I don’t know how to start planning a motorcycle camping trip.
Specialized equipment is just too expensive.
Once I get my gear on the bike, it’s too heavy to manage off road.
I’m not a good enough rider.
That list is probably why I meet those riders, on their GS1200s or their V-Stroms or KLRs, on the pavement.
“I could never do what you do”
I’ll be rolling onto the pavement somewhere in…let’s say, Idaho…dirty and grinning. A guy riding past on a sweet Triumph Tiger waves and pulls over to ask where the gravel road goes. He’s a great guy, friendly and genuine, like most riders.
After I tell him I’ve been out in the mountains for a few days, the conversation usually goes something like this:
“I’m an okay rider. But I could never do what you do.”
“Really? Why not?”
“Well, I’ve never done that much camping and, like, wilderness stuff.”
“You know,” I say, “that’s easier than you think. You just need someone with experience to get you started.”
“Well, I’ve read lots of stuff on the forums…but it’s kind of overwhelming. There’s so much information, and I’m not really sure what to focus on.”
I nod my head. “Yeah, I get that.”
“Then when I pack up my gear for a road trip, it looks like I’m ready to go around the world, and my bike handles like I’m doubling a sumo wrestler. I’ll probably just stick to the pavement. Maybe take the occasional gravel road….”
It kills me
‘Cause he’s a great guy, and he’s got a bike that could take him almost anywhere he wants to go. I’d happily ride with him for a couple days, and I know I could learn lots from him, too.
But then he waves again, and turns back onto the pavement.
While I turn up the old logging road to Fourth of July Lake….