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Old 07-03-2010, 04:34 PM   #1
dave6253 OP
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 3,028
The Art of the Ride Report - Planning, Tips, Opinions, Discussion

Do you want to learn how to make your Ride Reports better? I do.

Regardless of how pretentious the title of this thread is, I'm no expert. I am a huge fan of Ride Reports and have written a few short ones. In an effort to improve my abilities I have studied what seems to work and what doesn't. I've asked myself, what makes a Ride Report really good and what skills can I improve upon to make my reports more interesting to readers?

I've found that other inmates also want to learn. I frequently get questions from inmates on this subject both in my reports and by PM in response to my reports. Last week an inmate told me he was planning a big trip this fall and really wanted to learn how to document it. While I like to answer these questions I wished there was a thread somewhere to discuss these subjects more in depth than in an impromptu reply.

I plan to write about several subjects based on my observations, experience and the questions I've received. I encourage anyone wishing to do so to jump in with their own advice or questions. I'm sure there any many differrent opinions. I welcome them all, just keep it civil.

These are the subjects I'm considering of so far:

Rule 1; Bring the Passion
Planning and Practice
Basic Photography
Do I need an expensive DSLR?
How do you get those moving shots?
Post-Processing Photos
Writing Skills
Videography
Sharing GPS Tracks
Creating Route Maps w/ Bing or Google Maps



Rule 1: Bring the Passion

Most of us are on this forum because we are passionate about motorcycle travel. Yet some ride reporters are better at expressing that passion in their reports. If you simply post a few average snapshots and a short blurb about where you went, your report will likely not generate much response. If on the other hand you are able to express your passion for motorcycling the readers will likely pick up on this.

Most reports are made up of some storytelling/details of the trip and photographs. The best reports generally have great writing AND good photographs. Many are also starting to include video and at least one inmate has included sound (tsiklonaut). I say generally because some of the absolute best reports have great writing and bad photos (example, Vermin) or great photos and almost no story (example, Frank likes to ride). These two reports demonstrate that being really good at one skill can overcome the lack of the others. Both of these reports reveal a passion for motorcycle travel and makes the reader remember why they love to ride. Is there any doubt when reading a larryboy report that he means it when he says "I would sell my soul to feel this passion".? My personal favorite report that has it ALL: Angola, it's not like they said.

I read alot of comments from inmates that they prefer reports from locations they want to ride, on the type of terrain they prefer, and on the exact make and model of bike they prefer. If this is true then why do reports like this or this go absolutely viral? Personality, Writing, and Passion. Improve your writing and/or photography and readers will enjoy your report regardless of trip duration, terrain, or motorcycle model.

Try to express your passion for motorcycle travel a little better in your next report.


I placed this thread in Trip Planning because the Ride Report is something we should plan for before the big ride.


Planning and Practice

Ride Reports require some forethought. There's alot to think about. What equipment to bring, cameras, video recorders, notebooks, voice recorders? How am I going to remember the details of each day? How often should you plan to stop for photos? What sort of photos do I need to tell the story?

I would really recommend practicing by writing a few short reports before you take off on your first long trip. This is especially true if you plan to report from the road (Something I don't even want to consider). Writing a ride report is rewarding, but is much time-consuming work.

Someday I'm gonna take off on a long adventerous journey. I will be prepared to tell the story well, because I've practiced on my little 3-10 day rides.

I am routinely thinking of the Ride Report while out on the ride. I am constantly wondering how to describe what I just experienced and Oh, I really need to get a photo of that for the report. I would be the worst riding partner, because I stop so often for photos. You can never come home with too many pics, but try telling the story when you rode 500 miles and took 3 photos. You'd better have some good writing skills. Out here in the West the scenery probably changed entirely 500 times in that 500 miles.



I realized my creative writing skills are never going to be great. Therefore I have worked hard recently to learn how to improve my photographs. I am not, and never will be, a professional photographer. The hard work has paid off and I've started getting the most feedback regarding the subject of photography. Next up I'll try to explain some simple tips to improve your shots for documenting the ride.

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