During a brief visit home, I was invited to co-host an ADV talk – a sort of a presentation on adventure travel, motorcycles, and rally racing. It basically involved me and another ADV moto gal being interviewed by someone on stage, talking about adventures and bikes, while the audience enjoyed our stories and had beers. Towards the end, there was a Q&A from the audience, and we got all sorts of great questions.
Quite a few of them, however, sounded almost passive-aggressive: “yeah, RTW travel is all good and well, but you’re not doing it on a large adventure bike, so are you really challenging yourself?”; “what about that guy who rode across frozen Lake Baikal with temperatures below forty Celsius? Why don’t you do something like that?”; “so, you only do soft enduro, huh”.
Guilty: I am not, indeed, riding RTW on a GS 1200, I would never ride in temperatures below forty Celsius (in fact I try to avoid sub-zero temperatures altogether, even if it’s just one degree below zero), and no, I don’t do hard enduro on my DR650, mostly because it’s a DR650. No, I don’t place among the top ten, or even top hundred, at rally races, nor do I shine in extreme distance challenges. Mostly, when I think about it, I just potter around with an occasional rally race or chase here and there.
It seems to me, though, that a challenge needs to involve some kind of a reward. It needs to expand your current limits, it needs to be difficult, it needs to test you – but it needs to offer some sort of joy in the end. Riding a large capacity motorcycle that’s too heavy for my liking, crossing frozen lakes, and doing Iron Butt does absolutely nothing for me. It’s not to say that those things or challenges aren’t awesome; for plenty of people, they obviously are. For me, though? I have zero emotions towards them. It’d be like doing competitive eating or trying to become great at soccer: on its own, the stuff’s great, and it’s enjoyed by hordes of enthusiasts. I’m just not among them.
It seems to me that we, as a community, still have certain standards or beliefs of what’s cool and what’s lame in the ADV world. Which bikes, off road trails, and remote locations make you a “kosher” or “real” ADV rider. For a lot of people, if it’s not a GS, it’s not even a motorcycle, and if it’s not a RTW, it’s not really a journey.
I wonder sometimes, why are we so hard on each other and ourselves. Isn’t adventure riding meant to take the pressure off, not pile it on? What’s your take?
Featured image: Pixabay