Is it possible to have an “adventure” on a guided motorcycle tour? Is it really an adventure if somebody has done all the homework, planned all the routes, figured out all the stops, determined the best places to ride? All you do is follow the pre-planned route. Purists would probably argue that it’s not an adventure if you follow somebody’s route, enjoying the fruits of their labor and simply enjoying what’s presented in front of you. Others would argue that as long as you embrace the idea of adventuring you are indeed on an adventure ride.
So where do I stand on this issue? Firmly in the middle. There’s no doubt the planning your entire route, doing all the homework, planning all the stops, and managing all the issues that pop up require quite a bit of work. Perhaps that makes the ride more “adventuresome.”
Then there’s the other side of the coin that says if you plan everything, and there are no unknowns, there is no adventure. Maybe there’s a third side to the coin and that is riding on a guided motorcycle tour. In this case, someone has already done all the planning. On top of it, there are people on the trip that help you manage any issues that may pop up. Some might ask, “Where’s the adventure in that?”
I must admit I was one of those persons who believed that if you didn’t do all the planning and manage the issues on your own, it wasn’t an adventure ride. But with age, my stance has softened quite a bit. Frankly, as you get older, you often really don’t care about what people think. You don’t care about being “macho” and don’t need anyone’s approval of how a ride was executed. Whether you ride solo or travel with friends in a group led by a company that we paid to support our ride, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care because how we ride really doesn’t make the ride an adventure or not.
If you want to ride around the world with nothing more than a moped and soft luggage, great. But if you want to do a similar trip with a company who helps you get across borders, assists with mechanical fixes, and carries your gear in a support vehicle, that’s great too. It’s what you get out of the ride, what you encounter, experience, and learn along the way that is important.
Did you see new things and interact with new people? Perhaps you learned a thing or two along the way? Was the weather terrible, the hazards difficult, the mechanical problems tough, or the people bad? All of those things are part of an adventure ride and exist whether the ride is solo or with a paid group. In fact, one might argue that riding with a group is more of an adventure because you have to deal with a group of people in close confines, which itself can be quite an adventure!
So what does this boil down to? Adventure rides aren’t really just the planning or the execution of a ride in difficult terrain or conditions. When you step back and think about it, adventure rides are more about the experiences, aren’t they? Planning, riding solo or with very limited supplies and no support can be elements of making an adventure ride that is fulfilling for the rider. But one could argue it’s not the most important part. No, it’s what you do, see, and take away that really makes the trip an adventure.
Ultimately, it’s how you approach the ride that will tell you whether it was an adventure or not. Adventuring doesn’t just happen as a result of your planning. It happens as a result of the overall experience. Don’t let someone tell you that your ride was or was not an adventure. You are the only one that can make that decision. If you felt the excitement, if you felt the challenge, if you had some new experiences, then you had an adventure. The hard part is keeping all the excitement, challenge, and new experiences in your rides so that you can continue to feel the adventure.
So, can you have an adventure on a “guided” motorcycle tour? Sure, it’s what you take from it that will be the mark of the adventure. At, least that’s my take. Let’s hear what you think!