Getting There is All the Fun

Sep 04, 2013 View Comments by

Getting There is All the FunWhile it is not exclusive, a fairly significant amount of the riding I do is off-pavement. This hasn’t always been the case however. My first motorized two-wheeler was a 1978 Honda CB550. Acquired in a trade, I had never actually ridden a motorcycle before. So, naively, (I was still a teenager at the time) I threw my leg over the seat, told my buddy to jump on back, and off we went. Thankfully we made it home. Since then I have logged many miles on more than a few “street” bikes, only on occasion wandering down a gravely, unpaved road.  In 2003, at the suggestion of my wife who grew up bouncing around her grandparent’s land on a 70s era “Yamahopper,” I picked up my first dirt bike.

Since I was officially doing this backwards (most riders I know started out on small dirt bikes and progressed to larger road bikes), I opted for something I could handle in the rough stuff.  Enter one well-used 1984 Suzuki DR200. On it I spent most of that summer exploring two-tracks and fire roads in the Huron National Forest (about two hours north of my home). It took all of about 10 minutes before I was in love with being able to explore off the beaten path, using the pavement mostly as a means to get to the next trail. I did learn quickly that riding off pavement means more than dealing with gravel or washboard; in Michigan it also means sand, lots of sand. At first it was quite intimidating (okay, truthfully it still is at times), but eventually I learned how to ride the challenging tracks and not fall down (too often).

Still a lover of pavement, I began the quest for something that was equally at home both on and off road and with the rise in popularity of the “Adventure Bike,” I knew that I wasn’t alone in my desire to navigate by way of the roads less traveled. In 2005 I picked up my first “Beast,” a 2004 Suzuki DL650 otherwise known as the Wee Strom. While she was a handful in the sand, we traveled many a road (paved and unpaved) before I sold her in 2008 for, you guessed it, another DL650. In 2012 I moved to the Triumph Tiger 800. While I prefer the smaller DRZ400 for the tougher terrain, the larger bike is my choice when the route includes longer stretches of pavement.

Since I began to look to the backroads as my preferred route, motorcycling has taken on a whole new perspective. Not just getting from point A to point B, but truly enjoying the ride and becoming more a part of my surroundings. Away from most of the cagers and one with my environment. Getting there really is all the fun.


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About the author

I've been called a "Free-Spirit", "A Lost Soul", and "A Wanderer" for as long as I can remember. I prefer to think of myself as a Traveler. Most at ease when I am in motion, two of my favorite things are arriving somewhere new, and heading off for somewhere yet unexplored.