28 April 2016

The Heart of Adventure

I am sitting at my cutting table at work, fuming about a post on Facebook. Yaaaaaayyyy...Facebook. The truth of what I am fuming about has nothing to do with Facebook, of course, but an attitude that seems to permeate everything in life. The idea that "the only right way to do it is the way I do it" can be found everywhere. I certainly run across it in the work I do, but of course I come across it in the world of motorcycling.

To be more specific, a man posted to the GS Giants Facebook page. The GS Giants are a like minded group of adventure motorcycling riding individuals. Though GS is in the name, and most posts revolve around GSs and GS riders, we don't exclude anyone. This is the content of his post--

"Sorry to say it, but I'm bored listening to commentary about farkles and seeing pics of folks fucking-up stream beds. And the lack of posts from people who actually go anywhere in the world besides a campout is pretty disappointing. They're called adventure bikes for more than marketing reasons. So, I go back to my old 1990 GS Paris Dakar and hope for the health to resume my travels. Adios, Happy Trails!"

Some people's responses defended his or her adventure they were currently on somewhere in the world. Some responses defended an individual's attendance at a campout as being his or her own adventure. Some posted pics of farkles, some called him pitiful, some called into his question his political beliefs, and one man suggested he exit the group and begin one of his own called, "we are the best of the best adventure riders." I, of course, did nothing originally. I ignored it, thinking he had every right to believe what he wanted about the true definition of adventure.

Then, like a grown-up, I posted a picture of me flipping off the camera with both hands.

Here is the reason behind my reply. This is the dictionary definition of Adventure: ad-ven-cher --noun-- an exciting or very unusual experience.

For many people--particularly those who have just come through a long, snowy winter--a March Moto Madness campout, even if in one's own backyard, can be an adventure. For a working mom, an afternoon riding the back roads around home and stopping to watch a moose in a pond can be an adventure. Anything can be an adventure to any person, as long as he or she chooses to view it as such.

Are we all to stop calling ourselves adventurers because we don't go out into the far flung reaches of the world? I call Bullshit on that idea. Occasionally, I stop writing this blog, thinking I haven't gone anywhere exciting, or done anything adventurous. But, then I remind myself that my rides around my home state are as exciting--hey, wasn't that word in the dictionary's definition--as my big adventure to Alaska, or one of my big rides to and from California. Going out and working with a bunch of women on a Sunday afternoon to get them feeling comfortable riding their bikes off-road is an adventure to me.

So, I guess that guy's idea of adventure only includes hardcore dudes slogging through Mongolian sands or across Eastern Russia on the Road of Bones like those two dudes in that documentary. You know the one--where they had a cameraman who rode everything they did while filming, and had a full support crew. Whatever. I watch that and laugh every time someone whines or cries in his helmet. But, I still recognize that as an adventure.

If you are a hardcore, experienced rider, riding around the world and venturing off to foreign lands on your bike labeled for adventure, I'm going to ask that you keep in mind everyone adventures in a different way. Remember where you started from, financial or familial limitations you've ever had, and that desire deep in you to simply have fun on your bike.

I'll leave this off by telling you about my adventure last weekend. I flew to California and had the opportunity to do some coaches' training out at the RawHyde facility. When I got there, they had forgotten to set aside a bike for me and all that was left were 1200s. I swung my leg over and could just get the tips of my toes down. As my friend, Dusty, looked at me with doubt in his eyes and asked if I'd be ok, I said, "Yep! I'll be good." Then I rode the rest of the weekend, doing skills and drills with a fantastic group of people from all over. I may not have put thousands of miles on, or gotten myself all wadded up in a deep mud bog, but I had a great adventure never the less.

And I'm looking forward to so many more!

My weekend adventure ride!