Sometimes, it feels like most of the epic adventures have already been done… but what about the whackiest ones?
Reading The Bear’s delightful article on the early adventurers the other day, I couldn’t help but nod when I came across one of his photo captions: “These days, pretty much everyone has been everywhere”. This certainly hit home; it does feel like everyone’s been everywhere, and what once felt like epic, one-off expeditions, nowadays, riding from Alaska to Ushuaia or London to Syndey surprises no one…Unless you’re doing it on a monkey bike dressed as a snail while raising money for charity – but even then, the volume of motorcycle adventures documented on blogs and social media will quickly drown it out.
With infrastructures developing around the world at a crazy rate, roads being paved, WiFi connection now reaching the deepest corners of the Amazon and the Okavango Delta, and instant access to so much information out there, motorcycle adventures aren’t what they used to be. And naturally so: nothing is permanent, and adventure riding is changing, whether it’ll be in the direction of electric bikes, pure minimalism, or simply comfortable cruising.
But the thirst for adventures isn’t going anywhere, and perhaps, once the pandemic is over and we can travel the world freely once more, we’ll be going for the weird and wonderful instead of the epic and action-packed?
A British team of crazy travel designers, the Adventurists have long realized that “adventure” means two things; discovery…and discomfort. Here’s what they say about their Morocco Monkey Run, a trip on 90cc bikes they offer for the fearless few:
“Taking on mountains and deserts on a motorbike designed for a child is a recipe for disaster… Glorious, pant-wettingly brilliant, destiny-shaped disaster.
There’s nothing quite like the sensation of a monkey bike between your thighs as you thunder, slowly, along dusty tracks with no idea where you are. People will definitely laugh at you. But not to worry, you’ll be having too much fun to care. You’ll grin like an idiot. And probably cry a bit when it inevitably breaks down.
This is The Monkey Run. A massive adventure on a tiny motorbike. Join like-minded fools cramming in two parties, a test driving day and 700km of overland chaos into a week that’ll feel more like a month”.
Not quite the adrenaline level you’re looking for? Not to worry, there’s also the Rickshaw Run, a journey across the Himalayas in a “marginally modified lawnmower”, the Kraken Cup if you feel like building a sailing vessel out of a mango tree and racing it in Tanzania, and the Mongol Derby if you’re serious about going old school and racing horses across the Mongolian steppe.
The Garbage Run
Most of the inmates here on ADV Rider have heard of Nathan “The Postman” Millward and his Sydney to London odyssey aboard a Honda C90; now, you can actually go and ride with Nathan on one of his Garbage Runs. Vaguely planned out routes with plenty of room for improvisation, lots of camping, and no set pace – if that sounds like your kind of adventure, shoot Nathan an email and go forth: Land’s End awaits.
The Untamed Adventures
Think Europe is overcrowded, overcivilized, and over-easy for real adventures? Think again. Central Europe and the Balkans still have a few pockets of true wilderness where the riding, the camping, and the breakdowns are as authentic as they come – especially if it’s happening in the Dinaric Alps of Croatia. Organizers of the Dinaric Rally, one of the gnarliest enduro events in Europe, also offer no-frills, tears, and sweat off-road adventures in Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. “We are not your tour guides, and you’ll need some serious guts to ride here” is a promise on the website of the Untamed tours; having (barely) finished the Dinaric Rally myself, I can attest to the fact that these guys do not mess around, that there will be suffering, and that it’ll end up being the most awe-inspiring motorcycle adventure you can experience in Europe.
“I want to ruin two weeks of your life”, entices Ed March’s website when you click on “tours”. Known for crazy monkey bike builds, round-the-world misadventures, and stubborn refusal to take adventure riding seriously, Ed March sometimes takes people out on tours in Vietnam and Mongolia. If wandering about a place with the wrong gear and a constantly breaking bike is your idea of fun, drop Ed a line and drop off the grid for fourteen glorious days of chaos and mayhem on two wheels.
Would you go on any of these adventures, and is it time to swap the epic for the whacky yet?
Images: Egle/Dinaric Rally/Pixabay