For a long time I thought that a motorcycle adventure should entail me riding the long way round, down, or up a continent, having new experiences, exploring unbeaten paths, with waist deep river crossings, meeting new people and cultures, doing my own road side repairs, sleeping in a tent along a forgotten dessert or jungle road, etc.
Even though I’d love to do this one day and am actually planning for it when my kids are a bit older, I believe my view of adventure has adjusted over time. Sure adventure can be all of the above, but until my life allows it, mini adventures will have to do!
Life getting in the way
I’m definitely not alone in this. Most of us have a normal job with a limited amount of vacation days, and/or a family with young children, and/or can’t afford to quit a job and ‘live on the road’ for a year or so.
There are those that say “If you really want it, you can make it happen”… and I agree! If I really wanted to I could leave my wife and kids alone for a year, or even bring them along, home schooling them on the road. There’s always a way… I know… but for me… those ways are not something I chose. I chose to wait until my kids are older. Until that time I will stick to mini motorcycling adventures.
Motorcycle Mini Adventures – the definition
So, what are those ‘Motorcycle Mini Adventures’ really? I guess it depends on the person and on the stage of your life. For some, a mini adventure might be a few weeks or even 2 or 3 months. For others, like me in this stage of my life, it will be a few days. With this in mind, I’d like to offer this definition of a Mini Motorcycle Adventure:
A motorcycle trip of at least 2 days and 1 night, not requiring a permanent lifestyle change.
So, if you need to sell/rent out your house or quit your job, it’s not a mini adventure! If you just need to take a few vacation days, or even a sabbatical of 2/3 months but returning to ‘normal life’ after the trip, it would qualify as a mini adventure.
Enjoy the adventure, even if it’s mini
With this definition in place we get to the reason of this article. I want to convince you to think different about motorcycle adventure. I want to convince you that even a mini trip is an adventure and you should enjoy it just as much as a big “real” adventure. To do that you need to shape your adventure to your life and your situation. Here are 4 examples of mini-adventures according to my definition above:
Moto Mini Adv – example 1: Long way round, down and up
Who doesn’t know Ewan and Charley’s adventures round, down and up the world? Even though these are quite long (2 to 3 months) adventures, they did not entail a permanent lifestyle change for Ewan and Charley, and thus, in my book, are mini adventures. Yes, they did say goodbye to their families for those 2 months and had some crazy experiences and adventures, but after the trip ended they returned back to their normal lives.
Of course the average Joe does not have the fame, contacts and money to do a trip in this fashion: with a support vehicle, all sponsored bikes and gear, etc. But that’s just an excuse. You can do a 2 month trip on almost any budget…. and that’s my point. Yes it’s long, but not lifestyle changing long. In fact, I’m planning to do this in about 5 years when my kids are more self sufficient.
Moto Mini Adv – example 2: Riding Solo
Riding Solo is a series on Youtube by Sterling Noren. He rode from the south to the north of the US and back in about 4 weeks, but you can easily see how this kind of mini-adventure could be shortened to 2 or even 1 week, covering less distance. Riding Solo is about riding and camping, but if you don’t like camping you can of course also do this with hotel/motel/hostel stays, depending on your budget.
What I like about Riding Solo compared to the ‘Long Way’ series is that Sterling is just a regular guy like us. He left home one day on a very long round trip… and came back a few weeks later. With some preparation, taking some vacation days and sacrificing some ‘home-front-credits’ (in other words good collaboration with your spouse :), anyone should be able to do this once every two years or so. Perhaps not 4 weeks, but 1 or 2 weeks should be doable.
Moto Mini Adv – example 3: Organized Trips
If money is not the problem, but time is, have you given organized rides a thought? They are expensive, but they take all the planning and preparation out of your hands so you can use your precious time on pure riding and enjoyment.
There are many motorcycle tour companies out there and they offer many destinations and options depending on your budget and wishes: Rent a bike vs take your own bike, with a guide vs self guided with navigation, including overnight stays vs self arranged accommodation, close to home vs fly and ride, etc.
Moto Mini Adv – example 4: The Weekend Trip
Who can’t get away for just two or three days? Leave on Saturday morning, ride for max 300 miles / 500 km, stay the night somewhere and then head back on Sunday after breakfast.
I’ve been doing this a few times lately. Mostly camping, but also hotel stays are fine. It’s just so easy to do. The most challenging part is coordinating with my wife 😃, but once that’s done the planning and packing part is easy as pie.
What does your mini adventure look like?
So… these are just 4 examples to give you an idea of the range of possibilities. What does your Motorcycle Mini Adventure look like?