The Art of the Ride Report - Planning, Tips, Opinions, Discussion

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by dave6253, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    Jeathrow Bowdean,

    Thanks for your insight and nice compliments.

    I'm just a normal guy and quite uninteresting in real life. I'm an introverted loner that is very lucky to have found a good woman to put up with me.
    I'm passionate about motorcycle travel and have tried to improve my photography since I'm not talented at telling a story with appropriate words.
    I'm happy Adventure Rider has survived to have a place to share, since my family and friends, for the most part, are tired of seeing my photos.
    I've made a conscious decision to not conform to any standard of what most people consider normal in photography. I'm gonna keep doing what I like.
    Some will enjoy it and some will hate it. I am happy to hear some of you guys enjoy it.

    Since I like to share, this is a small sample from my 2 reports of 2012.

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  2. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    For me a good ride report is not a showcase for photographers. It's said that a picture speaks a thousand words but, honestly, I'd much rather read about the challenges, the joy, the experience of your ride. What worked, what didn't work, what you loved but also what you hated.

    To that end I keep a diary, nothing complex, I keep it accessible and I (try to) use words to describe my journey and use pictures to support the words, not the other way around. Where I stopped for lunch, what I had, who I met, anything unusual I saw. I don't use it all, but I pick out highlights.

    I also find it helps to write to someone, either to myself, an SO, family, someone - for me the audience influences the style.

    Focus on maintaining honesty - it can be really easy to add some poetic license, to add frills, to "smooth" it out, to forget the crappy days when you wanted to quit, or when it rained all day so you stayed off the bike etc etc.

    Don't waffle :p we don't want to hear about every tent peg, but we do want to know about whether you camped or stayed with friends. Try to avoid repeating yourself too much - you know what I mean, keep the writing succinct if it's not unique,

    Use a spellchecker (I tend to use gmail's spellcheck) and try to avoid, or return to correct, the more obvious grammatical errors. These can really detract from a report.


    Read other riders reports, pick out what you found enjoyable in them, what resonated with you. And what you didn't like. Use those dislikes and likes to help frame your own report.

    Above all, remember that the only way you can go wrong is to not post at all.
  3. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    hey inmates.

    I finished my rode report and it is a good effort as a newbie both in adventure riding as well as adventure writing. I followed this thread and have read many reports. My photography could never compete with Dave's but my $100 dollar camera did OK. I hope it turns out well, it does have a tragic sort of ending. I share myself, exposed and raw I reckon.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=841561

    Take a look and let me know what you all think. Comments on the rode report re very welcome. It was a lot of work to do it sort of proper.

    Thanks - ATEAM
  4. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    I liked it, a reasonable balance of text vs pictures, told the story of the ride. A couple of comments - I'd stick to the default font offered by ADV, that larger, bolder, font you've chosen sticks out like a sore thumb IMO.

    And "donned" not "dawned".
  5. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I do have to wonder what "limits" there are on being one's self in a ride report. I am someone who thinks a lot (doesnt mean im good at it), and I cant see doing a ride report without adding my thoughts.

    The problem is, my thoughts are fairly technical and sometimes terse (or "academic")- its how I keep things straight in my own mind. I have been told in other threads that my style of writing is "pompous" and basically not welcome. I like to expand on ideas a lot (by using parenthesis). I seem to illicit anger from some people even though I dont attack them, and why should I even write a ride report in that case? I dont want to cause issues- I just want to be myself and people can take from that what they will.

    My trip to Alaska this year is really a mixture of a passion for motorcycles, a passion for traveling, and a passion for trying to learn what makes the world tick. Human "society" beyond just the people themselves is nothing but a complicated beaver dam- we take existing materials from the earth and make them into motorcycles, gasoline, plastic, beds, houses, etc etc to suit us. We spend time submitting to labor to get money which gives us a means to have these things above, and so a cycle is formed. We judge each other based on what we get, on how much we get, etc. Not to ramble on, but thinking about things like the above is part of what a motorcycle trip is all about for me- am I really allowed to be that me here? Is a ride report supposed to be what the readers want author be damned, or is the report supposed to be first and foremost about the author audience be damned? :ear
  6. RockyDS

    RockyDS Lost in the wilderness

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    I think as the author you get to choose.

    But don't be suprised at negative comments if you choose the audience be damned approach.

    Also, whatever you do, you cannot please everyone and keep in mind that human nature being what it is, an unimpressed reader will be more motivated to complain about your efforts than an impressed reader will be to praise them.
  7. Ghostyman

    Ghostyman Been here awhile

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    LA face with the Oakland booty
    Terse
    1 : smoothly elegant : polished
    2 : using few words : devoid of superfluity (a terse summary);

    You are not terse. Brevity is a virtue. Avoid bloviating, unnecessary parentheses, and words like "bloviating." Don't describe your writing as academic; it sounds pompous. Use fewer semi-colons.

    Try to understand your writing voice. You probably do not come across the way that you think you do.

    Finally, write to the intended audience. Yourself or other inmates. Your choice.
  8. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    GSF1200S,

    You are always welcome to post any type of motorcycle ride report you want. Keep in mind this thread was started to explore and discuss what works to make reports better. It is my studied opinion that most of the time wordy, blog-like reports don't go over very well. Especially when the subject matter departs motorcycling and delves into politics, opinions, philisophy, ideology... However; there are some great writers here that can fill pages of captivating tales. I've been turned off by many reports with to much long-winded deep thoughts or opinions opposed to my own. While I would just tune out and ignore the report, many internet users aren't so kind. Be prepared for the flames.
  9. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    As I said, im not necessarily very good at it- good catch. Totally wrong use of the word. Semicolons are a great way to connect ideas- why remove them? I get what youre saying and im not really arguing.

    I would never really describe my writing as academic- i would say technical. Does that make sense? I have been accused of being academic, and I suppose thats because my writing is more mechanical and not as emotional. Sure, I express emotion like the rest of us, but to me emotion and logic are two different things that need to have a balance.

    Youre definitely right- I certainly never intend to sound superior or whatever because I know im not, but for some reason I have been accused of that here. I definitely need to think about this more. I have learned so much and enjoyed so much reading the RRs posted by others, and id like to contribute to this world in some way.
  10. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I see. In that case, I guess ill keep my opinions and ideas to myself. Maybe ill maintain a blog separately and stick only to motorcycles, humor, pictures, and the like. I appreciate everyones advice :1drink
  11. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    My ride report was focused on the ADV audience. However I drafted the RR for my personal satisfaction. I tried to make my report the way I like to read reports. If you want to write a report for the ADV inmates, then use logic on what is popular and well received. But me thinks politics is a delicate subject. As Micheal Jordan responded when asked if he was a democrat or a republican. His response they both buy my tennis shoes. So you may exclude 50% of your readers by expressing political opinions.

    This posting made it worth while.

    Don't give in so easily.

  12. Mr_McBride

    Mr_McBride 'The Cartographer'

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    Dave6253, thanks for this post. And thanks to everyone else that has added their input and ideas. I am finding everyone's input inspiring.
  13. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    I took a short writing class. Not enough to make me a "writer", but it gave me some information.

    Teacher kept saying "Add some emotion". "Be descriptive" "shorten the sentence" "Is that sentence necessary" Add and subtract, sort of contradictory, but that is what it takes.

    I think opinion is good in a report ""In small doses"". I skip hyperbole and long disertations on preparation, but really like reading how people are feeling when they view great scenery or have a spontaneous moment.

    Good reports have character, whether with brevity or verbosity.

    It takes practice. Write what you would like to read. Take pics of stuff that catches your own eye. The report should be an extension of yourself.
  14. Mr_McBride

    Mr_McBride 'The Cartographer'

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    I always like to hear the writers opinion about any gear or products they developed an opinion about during the ride. I like to hear both the positive and the negative. I say this because I think one's quest for the right tools for any trip is never ending. I find myself constantly evaluating new 'stuff' to see what works better for me.

    Something else I see from time to time that I would like to see more of is how others choose a specific route and why. Did you use GPS routes? If so, how did you build your routes? There are many ways to do this and everyone's process varies.

    One thing this thread has really helped me with, though, is the discussion about photography tips and links to photography sites. This is something that I would like to become better at.

    Please, everyone, keep the tips coming.
  15. Merlin III

    Merlin III Mean SOB

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    For me, some negativity is an integral part of a good report. IMHO, too many reports are like a commercial travel log where everything is fine and beautiful. There are a few Central America-South American reports currently in progress that depict some of the poverty as well as the beauty of those areas. They also, in passing, give us at least a few hints about the civil wars and genocides that still mark the faces of many of the inhabitants.
  16. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    I agree, and it's part of the reason why I usually skip the writing and just look at photos.

    Too many ride reports - and travel writing in general - are written by people wearing their rose-colored glasses as they go on their big trip. They are unwilling to admit that place A is a tourist trap, place B is not nearly as remote as they make it out to be, place C is actually pretty Blah and full of trash and looks 100x better in photos, and place D is full of touts and sketchy people. In every story, we read about locals living like locals in poor wooden shacks, but we rarely read that those same people watch USA television, follow the latest Britney Spears songs, and know the latest celebrity gossip news better than you do.

    On top of all that, we are left with the impression that people in country X are all subsistence farmers with a hard life and no future. But reality is often different. You can go to many African countries to find quite a lot of people living the mirror image of your life, with the exception that they're Black. :) You will find people that watch the same TV shows, have similar jobs, play Xbox, eat at McDonald's, have very similar houses, and ride their Trek bicycles for fun on the weekends. The differences are increasingly smaller and smaller as the world develops.

    If it's truly a remote area with an isolated people, I want to read about it. But I also want to read about the BS double-pricing at a hotel because the rider is an outsider, I want to read about the hard up-sell someone got because they saw he were a foreigner, and I want to read about all the BS government fees and permits to enter a park/region. I was pretty surprised that entry to Victoria Falls is $30 during the day and $50 during the night, a shitty park in Zimbabwe is $25ish entry, that Nepal charges you $100+ per day government "permit" to visit whole regions of the country, and that Bhutan charges you $250-$300/day to be in the country even though they are one of the poorest countries in the world. Things like that...

    When we read most of these reports, we only get a small part of the big picture. Often, exaggerated, and sometimes outright false.
  17. ADV Fool

    ADV Fool Been here awhile

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    Geez, lighten up a little will ya! If you read the RR or just look at the pics it really doesn't matter. The fact is people take their time to do them for their enjoyment and we who choose to view them get our own different levels of enjoyment. I have favorite styles and even writers but again those are "My tastes." Me, I'm too damn lazy to write a RR so far, to much work but I do appreciate people that do them.

    I'm sure now that I've voiced my opinion there will be those who disagree and that's fine.

    Signed, RR reader. . . . . .
  18. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Returning likes on redemption road.

    I call it the "truth", a story worth telling is true...good/bad and everything between. The truth offends some people and draws in others.

    I'm human and at times I behave poorly, I don't hide it, I post it and hope that I grow from it, if somebody else can learn from my mistakes all the better.


    Ride report tip...come up with a good title. Try to be a little more creative than using your own screen name and destination as a title, "larryboy rides Death Valley with his old lady.", won't interest anybody. Every song has a hook, make the title your "hook".
  19. ADV Fool

    ADV Fool Been here awhile

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    Amen. . . .
  20. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    I'd read it. :D :wave

    Keep the tips coming.