Adventure Riding: What's it to You?

Adventure Riding: What's it to You?
Adventure: A bold, unusually risky undertaking or hazardous action of uncertain outcome.

"Where’s Kurt?” I ask, as Disco pulls his bike up beside mine.

“I passed him a couple miles back. He won’t be riding that KTM anytime soon. His rear wheel spun clean off the hub.”

This is supposed to be a 50-mile backcountry trail ride near Dover, AR. Just before Disco showed up, Devro said we were two hours ahead of schedule. I wish he had kept that thought to himself. I turn my Beta 525 RS back into the dense woods and hit the gas. This could be a long day.

My mind is busy engineering a plan as I scamper over rocks, ruts, a few fallen logs, and a couple of creek crossings. How will we get Kurt and what remains of his bike back to civilization? This trail is no place for a pickup, and the bike won’t move. Or will it? What began as a typical “good ol’ boys” dual sport event appears to have the makings of an adventure ride.

The concept, under different names, is as old as the 1885 Daimler. In its current form, “adventure riding” has been argued, defined, cussed, and discussed since Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor rode their BMW R 1150 GSs around the world along with fixers and a film crew back in 2004. Call it what you want, but they started an avalanche among the dual sport community. Suddenly, hoards of those stubby, knobby tired two-wheeled behemoths, with saddle heights more suitable to an NBA power forward than an average Joe, were being outfitted for world travel.

Adventure Riding: What's it to You?
A big adventure.

Motorcycle manufacturers chimed in with various renditions of the adventure bike, and they grew taller, more powerful, and more complex. These new machines were hastily accessorized or “farkled” (a contraction of function and sparkle), which surfaced about the time adventure riding emerged. Aftermarket providers have evolved from metal benders stamping out skid plates and ammo-can boxes to creative geniuses building finely molded, laser-cut works of art that protect every conceivable component against mud and rocks. And let us not forget the frustrated mechanics needing to service them.