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.
Incredible Museums should be cherished and loved; Motorcycle Museums should be memorialized. I would call Barber Motorsports Museum a Two Wheeled Shrine of epic proportions. Plan a trip there if feasible and make it a priority.
A few days ago, I got my cycle out for a short jaunt. It was a sunny February day and the snow had melted and there was no ice on the roads, it felt safe to ride. Given the melancholy bleakness of winter, it felt like a hot summer August day. Weather can be a matter of perspective. I went to school in Buffalo, NY where it rained and or snowed 6 days of the week. Snow drifts the size of houses are a normal occurrence in Western, NY and the snow will last from November through March. This Sunny February day felt like the Bahamas but the reality was that it was about 40 degrees.
It felt good to ride again. I recently did a bunch of maintenance on my ride and she felt nimble and ready to pounce. As I was rounding a corner, I saw a golf course sprinkler system watering the greens. There was a brisk westerly wind pushing tiny droplets of water away from the golf course and onto the road. I automatically knew that given the temperature outside that the mist accumulating on cold tarmac would translate into a caustic situation. The fact that I was riding on a brand new front tire did not help the situation (Always Be Careful on New Tires). I was already in the curve and without thinking, I tried to upright my bike before going into the wet pavement because I felt that it may be ice. I am not right often but this time I was, that golf course sprinkler mist turned that corner into black ice carnage.
As soon as I hit the patch of water, I felt my tires sliding out of control and that is when my brain went into slow motion. It’s like you’re thinking in normal speed but everything in your environment is moving at a snail pace. This has not happened to me since Iraq. In combat situations, sometimes things just slow down. Do you remember in the movie Saving Private Ryan when Tom Hanks is on Omaha Beach on D-Day and everything just goes in slow motion, that is what it was like.
The funny thing is the first thought in my mind was the safety of my new Bell Helmet. It’s such a gorgeous helmet and the thought of it bouncing off the road chipping paint was just to horrific to contemplate. Then I thought of wanting steak and eggs with white toast, eggs done over easy fashion. Then I pondered my wife’s reaction, she would be so angry at me. I imagined being in a coma and having my wife lecture me for 43 hours straight on the dangers of motorcycling. Trapped in a coma listening to anti motorcycling propaganda sounded almost as bad as damaging my new slick painted retro lid. My last thought I remembered was hoping the dogs would be ok outside if I did not make it home till my kids got back from school. The beasts are inside dogs and it was a little chilly and hoped they would not be cold.
Then as soon as it happened the cycle righted its self and I was off the ice driving safely forward. The moment lasted less than a second but it felt like 4 minutes.
After further reflection, I am not sure about my contemplative priorities while getting ready to crash on the motorway. Luckily the crash never happened but it makes me think that we could all be only one second away from a life changing moment. Cherish the time you have on two wheels when you can get it and always let your loved ones know how much you care for them.
I don’t fear crashing as much as I fear not being able to ride.
Have you ever noticed the fact that motorcyclist tend to be individuals that normally diverge from the status quo. When everyone else goes straight down the road of life, motorcyclist travel a different path. We tend to have eccentric demeanors. Our focus is not laser pointed unless were deeply entrenched into a journey on two wheels. What we lack in focus we gain in individual perspective. Motorcyclist may lack money and fancy houses but we have awesome stories of phenomenal substance.
Motorcyclist have a profound appreciation of life outside societal norms. We tend to believe in hard work and dedication to family but our minds drift through the surreal in search of harmony and bliss. The ride is not just about speed and adrenaline, it’s about searching our senses and our environment in a quest to find what is real in this life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wondrous views and the remote sense of fear as I take that curve a little too quick but it’s more than that. It’s about finding our own path and dictating our own terms in a world where individual thought is discouraged. Our continual search takes us all too a different spectrum of our environment. Our quest will never lead us to the same answers, were just too darn individualistic to share that same route.
I have been working so much lately in an effort to do what is right for my family. I have no issue with my job but sometimes I feel that maybe it takes me away from what is real about life. In Denver, we have a huge homeless problem. Some of these folks are surely caught up in despair and bad luck. The gruesome cycle of poverty is no joke and I feel fortunate that I am still able to work and support my family. With that said, every once in a while as I pass a person I think is homeless and they look at me and I swear THEY THINK, “you look at me like I am homeless but you’re the one I pity. I may have no wealth or monetary substance but you are living a life of real poverty.” I never want to be homeless. I write this while camping in the mountains of Colorado in January. Its bloody cold out, my fingertips feel like little rocks as I type away at the keys. My hands and digits are stone cold and I shiver as my toes ask warmth but there is none to be found. I camp in the cold typing on my laptop knowing that I have a warm home awaiting me after my winter camping festivities which provides me eternal security beyond recognition. Homeless people do not have this option and this simple tragedy keeps me awake at night. Wow, I never want to be homeless and cold with nowhere to go. Most homeless surely do not want to be in their predicament and are looking for solutions to meet their immediate needs. I grieve for these individuals and hope they can find warmth and security. As bad as being homeless may be, is it possible that a few people choose to be homeless? We live such complicated lives and through simplification of our environment our minds become less cluttered with problems and worries. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” I believe that there are a few individuals that choose this life style. These few persons, give up everything in their search for an answer. It’s an ALL IN Approach in their path to find knowledge. This is a journey I never want to follow but I respect their conviction and courage.
One of the best books of insight I ever read was a novel called Siddhartha. It’s a spiritual word fest of enlightenment. When I was younger, this book answered many of my questions about what makes an individual truly rich. I still very much respect this book for its wisdom but I have found in my declining years that answers of this magnitude can never be answered by a book but must be answered by the individual seeking guidance in the matter. The answers are all relative and change with every individual. I believe that books will never truly answer our questions but are needed to help us find wisdom so we can answer those questions ourselves.
Wow that was a tangent, I think I finally have succumbed to hypothermia. My toes are now numb and silenced. My hope is that I may be able to thaw them in my car. My fingers are now in a frozen state and lack the manual dexterity to hit the correct keys. It’s their way to punish me for writing in the snowy cold mountains in the middle of the night without any heat. One last thought, I do believe that there is something about riding that helps us open our minds to answers and wisdom. Maybe it’s a Zen Like state comparable to meditation that our minds transcend to while riding? All I know is that mind works differently when riding in a positive way and for that I am thankful.