Seeing It vs. SEEING IT: How Do You Tour?

Feb 01, 2014 View Comments by

Seeing It vs. SEEING IT: How Do You Tour?It’s interesting how widely varied the preferred daily mileage of touring motorcyclists can be. Some folks don’t consider it a day unless they’ve rolled over five or six hundred miles of tarmac, while others are perfectly content to cover a hundred miles as long as it’s engaging. I strongly favor the latter train of thought myself, opting to leave an area knowing that I’ve seen enough of what was there to make some memories.

I generally have two distinctly different types of days while touring, the first of which is simply churning out miles on the interstate to reach the beginning of the “real” tour. I’d love to take two lane roads from start to finish, but I seldom have time for that luxury. I’m sure there is some decent interstate riding to be found, but I usually deem the super slab experience to be far too generic for my taste. It’s something I choke down like bad tasting medicine in order to arrive at a worthy destination in short order.

The second type of day is what I regard as quality touring, when I leave plenty of time in my schedule to stop at any attraction that presents itself, visit local coffee houses, and take breaks to walk around the historic sections of towns. I frequently spend at least as much time off the bike during these days as on it, and while the “gotta keep riding” voice in my head used to begin clamoring as soon as I parked the bike, I refuse to listen to it now. While fantastic roads occasionally take center stage, it’s frequently the stops that define the tour when it’s all said and done.

Snapping pictures of five “Welcome to Wherever” road signs per day is about as low on my priority list as something can be. I’d rather devote a week in one corner of a state, knowing that I’ve seen the area when I leave. If a place doesn’t hold a lot of promise I can always move on to greener pastures, but when I find them I like to graze until I’m full.

I’m aware this mentality is at odds with some touring riders, and I’m curious as to what constitutes a good touring day for other folks. How important is daily mileage to your tours, what type of roads do you enjoy, and how much time do you usually spend off the bike?


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