Looking for a good motorcycle documentary then check out “The Ride- London to Beijing”. The series follows a novice group of riders who struggle to endure an epic motor bike journey from Western Europe to Northern China. The greenhorn riders are led by a Guinness World Record Endurance Rider, Kevin Sanders. The expedition is filled with adventure, challenges, and unforgettable landscape and is expertly edited and narrated. The 12-week story keeps one engaged throughout the series and leaves the viewer looking for more. The series could have used a bit more character development but that really is not the intended purpose of this kind of production. At the end of the day, the documentary gave insight into a challenging adventure and what it takes to accomplish such an exploit. I enjoyed this series a bit better than “The Long Way Round” because if feels more real and raw then the two-wheeled adventures of Ewan McGregor and his pal Charley Boorman.
The leader of this expedition, Kevin Sanders just seems to be the type of individual anyone would follow and has an ability to weight risk verses reward options that manage successes. It takes guts to lead a ramble of rookie riders through the terrain that was overcome by the group. I have been riding for 18 years and I would have been bloody petrified to take on some of the challenges that the riders accomplished.
They travel some hairy, muddy terrain on heavy expensive BMW Adventure Tour Motorcycles. One of these days, I would like to see a motorcycle documentary use a few inexpensive lighter weight duel sport cycles to achieve their objectives. I get that the BMW is a solid reliable tough bike to get the job done but is it more dependable then let’s say a Suzuki DR-Z 400? Even better, use a Royal Enfield Himalayan to do the job. One can buy 4 Himalayan’s at the price of a new BMW 1200 GS and they are easier to repair given their more simplistic technology. I am not saying the Royal Enfield is a better bike then the coveted BMW Adventure Tour King, but I do believe both can get you to the same places at much different price points. One may get you there much slower than the other, but it will arrive just the same.
At the end of the day, “The Ride- London to Beijing” is a fun watch which will help motivate you to start planning your next epic adventure. The series is not overly long which is great for those who have commitment issues. In fact, when it ended, I was left yearning for more.
A blizzard roars outside causing the house to creek with fear, the wind is relentless. My hope is that our pipes will not freeze this cold squally evening. With no electricity, I am on battery power and hope to put thoughts on paper before my laptop fades away. Just a few days ago the roads cleared enough to take my cycle for much-needed maintenance ride. It was a cold day, but that short trip on two wheels brought needed joy in the form of adrenaline to my mind and body. Winter never dies, it just fades away in Colorado. It’s mid-March, I thought the worst was behind us, but Old Man Winter is not done tormenting my soul. Motorcyclist are not bound by the rules of society or cultural norms, but a polar vortex will surely stop us in our tracks.
My hope was that the riding season was upon us, but I know now that my dream was just a fleeting glimpse of reality. Hope can be a wild beast to ride, but it’s a ride worth living. Hope drives us to find a better tomorrow and uplifts our spirits during time of need. Hope is one of the greatest motivational forces and is an immensely powerful force of good which can dictate positive action.
Another survival tactic that one can rely on is to dive into the situation fully immersed without dwelling upon the situation and its many negative characteristics. The Phrase “Embrace the Suck” epitomizes this theory of living. When you are in a situation where life is just bleak and miserable, and one does not have any control of external influences than sometimes the best track is to dive into the misery and let it become you. It’s about not wishing for a change in the environment but finding the good within it. If you are willing to open your eyes, most situations have something that one can be thankful for. “Embrace the Suck” goes deeper then that; one must be willing to fully commit to the situation they are in and put forth all effort to enjoy it without a logical approach of reasoning. It’s a mindset, a way to propel yourself forward by throwing yourself into the ugly reality and enjoying it.
Keep the rubber side down, the sun shall shine again as the new dawn approaches.
Yamaha has announced that the long-awaited and often hyped Ténéré 700 will be available for purchase in the latter half of 2020. For the last two years we have been hearing about this miraculous miracle on two wheels and we patiently waited for news on a release date. During a recent press conference on the matter, it appears that the long-awaited motorcycle won’t be available in the United States for a long while. This must be the longest over extended marketing plan of any motorcycle ever produced. I get it Yamaha, after putting a ton of resources into the design, testing and production of this coveted motorcycle, the last thing you want is a flop on your hands. With that said, I am not sure such an elongated marketing scheme is the answer. At this point, I will be looking to buy an electric scooter by the time the Ténéré 700 gets released due to old age and a bad hip. If you’re so worried about the success of this anticipated product then how about sell this cycle for an affordable price. It used to be that Japanese Manufactured bikes were a great source to find a quality product for a reasonable price. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the diligent preparation and hard work of the engineers at Yamaha will produce an amazing motorcycle, but the tea leaves point to the fact that most of us won’t be able to afford it. Now, I am a self-described frugal motorcycle owner, so what is high-priced to me may be reasonable to many others. The introductory rate in the United States has not been made official, but rumors put the cost around $11,000. I was having illusions of grandeur and dreamed the price would be under $9000.00. I am confident now that I will not be able to afford this adventure behemoth lap of luxury.
I clearly understand that if you want performance and quality that price will be at a premium and honestly, I have always been ok with that. When one looks at the Adventure Touring Segment what options does one have for a motorcycle over 400 CC’s that can get you off the beaten path. Now that the Kawasaki 650 KLR has stopped production the only other option is the Royal Enfield Himalayan. I love my Himalayan, it’s a true bike for the salt of the earth but its lack of top end speed has its limitations on the highway. Beggars can’t be choosers but highway driving on major US Interstates can be tricky when lacking power to navigate traffic at speed.
About a year ago, I gave up my cruiser so I could explore not only pavement but dirt, trail and mountain pathways. I have not second guessed this decision, in fact I can genuinely confirm that my love of motorcycling has never been more robust. With that said, I do miss the modest cost options for motorcycles in the cruiser segment. In 18 years of riding, I owned several motor bikes and never once had to stretch my wallet beyond reasonable necessity to afford a fun exciting ride. Of course, Adventure Touring Motorcycles that can have the chops to wrestle the dirt and trails will by their very nature cost more, but I wish there was some sort of economic compromise that could be an option. In 2020 Royal Enfield will release a 650 CC version of its Himalayan and I also heard rumors that there may be Scrambler Version of its Continental GT. Both these models may provide us Adventure Riders with a few choices which I am grateful. The question I have is, why is Royal Enfield the only Manufacture giving the American Public a cost feasible Adventure bike over 400 CC’s?
If there is no time to enjoy a new motorcycle because I need to work two jobs to afford it, then there is no point of buying one in the first place. I will stick with my Himalayan where despite the lack of top end speed, I can conquer any trail I desire and still have money to buy gas and lunch while tearing up the dirt.
Just published my latest article in Motorcycle Times Magazine. I dwell upon my time spent in Paradise, California after the horrific fires that devastated that wonderous little town. The National Press may have lost a focus on what occurred but I think of that community every day. If you cant pick up a hard copy of the magazine, you can read if for free on line. Just click on the website below and go to the March/April 2019 Edition and look for my Column, Twotiretirade….
Arizona can be that early winter destination you are looking for. I have been immersed in cool nights, warm days and have even seen a few clouds drifting, as if on vacation in the arid desert sky. Sedona is the place that sticks out the most from my travels through Arizona. It is nestled in a mountainous, mesa filled topography that makes one feel like they are roaming upon ancient sacred lands. There is a certain feeling or vibe that emanates from the ground that induces pure thought and elusive peace. It’s just a great place to dwell upon thoughts long lost. The residents of Sedona call this energy, “vortexes” and after speaking with them, I found that tourist travel from throughout the globe to visit Sedona to bath within the energy that dwells in this majestic place. I spoke with my sister the day I visited Sedona. She asked if our father who has long since passed away would have liked the place? I immediately replied that I had a feeling that he visited Sedona at one time and thoroughly enjoyed it and suggested that he may have traveled through Sedona while hitch hiking across the country when he was a young man. It was just a feeling that was within my mind, not based upon any previous conversation I had with him. Her reply back to me was that both times she visited Sedona, that she felt that my father was along with her for the journey. It was just a spontaneous conversation that occurred between siblings via a text but now that I dwell upon it, both our feelings on the matter give that conversation substance and made my visit to Sedona that much more special.
Was able to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge AZ. There is not much left to this ancient Hohokam Village but what remains is rather impressive given its 700 year battle against the relentless desert sun. Visiting sites like this give me pause to dwell upon the many footsteps that have tread upon the land throughout our human evolution. It is unfathomable to comprehend the amount of skill, ingenuity, and complete dedication to survival it took for these industrious people to not only survive in such a hostile arid climate but thrive.
I am always so proud of myself when I go to IKEA and buy a pre-fabricated table and successfully put it together. The Hohokam Peoples, hunted where animals did not dwell, grew crops where water did not exist and built a village with little to no natural resources other than dirt and tenacity. Portions of this historic settlement still exist as a monument to those who have refused to give up even when all seemed lost and hope was beyond reason. I can’t help but to think of the words of Winston Churchill who said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
So I have been riding a ton in the back country on National Forest Roads. Such awesome rides can be found in the dark green wilderness. No doubt these rides are great and I love some of the strange random sites I have seen. One such site was during a pre-dawn ride in the back country where I came across a car hanging out on the side of the road (the car was actually hanging off a big ledge on the side of the road). It was kind of crazy and reminded me of a scene from a horror movie. To this day, I am not sure why that car was in the middle of the forest. Here is the photo below: