What's this have to do with motorcycles? No matter what reason you think you bought that motorcycle for - I have a theory that the real reason was because your mind was subconsciously trying to rekindle that sense of adventure.
Motorcycles are a way to explore. When you bought that motorcycle, you were looking to fuel that flame of adventure in your soul. It doesn't matter if you're in your 20's or 50's, an experienced rider or a brand new rider.
But, rekindling that sense of adventure just doesn't happen with the purchase of a motorcycle, much less a purchase of anything. So, here are five tips on how to become a better adventurer:
Plan less. I'm not knocking planning, it's usually necessary. But don't try to figure out everything beforehand. Pick one or two destinations, versus a whole weekend of hour by hour activities. Pick one or two cool roads and routes that you want to try, instead of every mile of the trip. Make sure you have more unplanned time than planned time. The worst that's going to happen? You might get a little bored. The best? Well, the possibilities are endless and damn exciting.
Take little steps. An adventure doesn't have to be a weeklong trip, a weekend trip, or even a day trip. Adventure and time aren't related. Ride your bike to work one day. Pick up groceries with your motorcycle (this has the extra benefit of saving money!). The point is you don't need a big span of time. Simply try to change your framework of thinking from "I'm going to have an adventure or explore something new," to "how I can try something different today versus what I always do."
Get Lost. People seem to have an intense fear of getting lost. I'm not sure why. What's the fear based on? That they'll run out of gas? Be embarrassed about having to ask how to get home? That the road will run out? Who knows. But, here's a fact: sometimes the best way to find something is to get lost. So, the next time you find yourself wondering what's down that little road you just passed, turn around and find out.
Share it with other people. To me, an important part of my personal life is to make memories. And, the best way to make memories is with others. Not only do you end up having someone that you can laugh about the experience with, but you inspire a sense of adventure in others.
Get uncomfortable. I thought about making this one "Don't Worry So Much", but the key is to make yourself uncomfortable, and worrying is part of being uncomfortable. So, actually, I want you to worry, because that's a sign you're getting out of your comfort zone. I don't know why, but our society has become a society of maximizing comfort and minimizing worry. I'm not so sure that's a good thing. If you haven't' bought that motorcycle because you're worried you might get hurt, do it anyway. If you don't like it, you can always sell it.
That's it. Try just one of these and I guarantee you'll feel a little stir in your soul. These tips apply just as equally to riding motorcycles as they do to living life in general.
I'll leave you with my all-time favorite poem, modified for the adventure seeking, motorcycle riding, explorer in us all:
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave
with the intention of arriving safely
in an attractive and well preserved motorcycle,
But rather to skid in sideways,
brake squeezed in one hand,
throttle twisted in the other,
gas tank on empty,
tires worn out and screaming
"WOO HOO what a ride!"
Enjoy the ride. P.S. Got your own tips on living a more adventurous life? Share them below!
Number # 3 is my favorite...the best adventures we ever had, was checking out a road we stumbled upon and wondering where it goes!
Tue Feb 3, 2015 at 6:39 PM
Great article!!! With the job that I do, every so often I have to go to the job site for a while. The last assignment was in southern Indiana for 8 months, but turned out to be for 19 months. Knowing I would be there for a while, I brought my HD Sportster 1200 Custom with me. This turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Since I was there by myself, I road the bike all the time to places I had no idea where they went. For the first few months, there were many times that I had to ask for directions home; it was great. Now that I'm back home, the riding opportunities are less since my wife rides very little, but I'm trying. I recently bought an Ultra Classic hoping that the improved ride will help get her riding. Anyways, I loved your article and couldn't agree more with the way you think!
Sun Jan 5, 2014 at 4:52 AM
Riding a bike to me is about connecting to our surrounding energy. Rather than blast through this world in a cage going a million miles an hour get on that bike and connect to the surrounding beauty that is part of your experience.
Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 6:32 AM
Liked your list of suggestions. I would only add that after 54 yrs of riding and 600K miles of getting the thrill & excitement-pick a direction & leave with a full tank. No reservations and no schedules-they only take away possibilities & options. Whether 1, 2 or 9 days/years, leave with an open mind and a thirst for a new road. When time or money is half gone make a 180. This has worked for me for a long time. When asked what was my favorite trip I always say the next one.
Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Exactly the same feelings and I completely agree with your tips. I believe & follow the idea of "Ride to work and work to Ride".
Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 2:07 AM
Good artice amd great comemts. Man, i've got to get a bike again.
Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 6:24 AM
Just came back from an impromptu ride today through the country back roads North-West of Sydney Australia. Got lost for a while but eventually found my way back to a road I'd been on earlier. Love the no map, no plan ride. This coming June I'm off to Cambodia to hire an XR250 and explore whatever takes my fancy. I'm now 48 and since 2005 I've taken off to a foreign lands and recorded my solo motorbiking adventures each time on a little digital camera. Some of the most vivid and rewarding memories of my life have been aboard a motorcycle smack bang in the middle of nowhere. Keep living the dream people, and if you haven't yet... do it NOW! http://blip.tv/openroad7
Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 1:40 AM
last trip was from sw pa. to nova scotia.I had nowhere I had to be and I had 2 weeeks to get there. My best trip yet! (4,082 miles).
Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 9:10 PM
This is the way i and my wife always ride and always have. I wont ride anywhere with people who have a trip planned out other than the first destination. From there it's game on where to stay, what to do! I've never been lost just on a scenic route sometimes =)
Sun Feb 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM
there's somethin' special about the feelin' i get when i map out a route thru unfamiliar country and find jewels along its path. keeps me wantin' to see what's over the next rise or around that next curve. nice cover photo
Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM
I absolutely love reading about everybody's adventures. Especially the women riders. I am 57 and took the motorcycle riding course 2 years ago. If I had known that riding was this much fun I would have done this years ago. It's in my blood....I'm sure of it. I have no sense of direction (can't follow a map)so I would have to say that every time I get on my "Ruby" the adventure begins. I usually ride with my husband. I took my 1st trip last summer from Winnipeg to Cranbrook, BC. Going through the Rockies was amazing. I kept my "Ruby" shiny side up all the way there and back. Talk about getting out of my comfort zone. It sure gave me a whole lot more confidence in my ability to ride. We are planning another trip this summer.....to Wisconsin. I'm so looking forward to it. Happy motoring and always ride safe! PS: My grandchildren think their Meme is the coolest. :)
Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 9:43 AM
Thank you all. Reading this artical and everyones input has rekindled a spark inside that I thought had gone out perminently. At 61 its time to see some of the dreams become memories. Be Safe!
Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 3:25 AM
Great article and advice. Ride the road less travelled. Explore, it's good for the soul. Ride Safe Friends!
Mon Jan 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM
Bought my first motorcycle at age 75. Have over 5000 miles on my 2010 HD trike. Planning a ride with my HOG chapter in 2012 to Arkansas. Love riding but the camaraderie with fellow riders is the best. We have become good friends and look forward to impromptu rides which have no specific destination. The trip to Arkansas will be my first long distance ride. Can't wait. Did I forget to mention I am a great-grandmother?
Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 2:37 PM
I just completed a 9 week 12,680 mile road trip. Some of was planned, but most had just a general direction. I would turn whenever I liked or when I saw something worth looking into. Sometimes I would be geocaching and wonder into new areas. Don't overplan your trip, alow for weather caused changes of direction, or a great road tip from someone that you meet.
Sun Oct 23, 2011 at 12:45 PM
I always tell my wife as long as we have gas and daylight, we're not lost! Try to avoid the freeways and take the road less traveled. And the road looks different from the other direction.
Mon Sep 26, 2011 at 11:31 PM
@Doc2nd2 - Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. You described one of the reasons why I always search for more of the less travelled route!
Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 6:53 PM
Wonderfull piece, I ride almost daily, weather permitting,(no ice or tornadoes) and you made me excited to ride home in the morning! My friends all know I ride and, almost every weekend, go on some kind of trip somewhere. Most have learned to not ask where I am going, but rather, where I have been. See, the answer to to the first is always the same, "Where ever my front tire goes, I'll be following it!" Pick a general destination and find "the other way" to get there. You will seldome be disappointed. Just make sure to stop for gas before you need to. I meet so many new people on my rides that I would otherwise miss out on finding if I rode to the red line on the fuel guage. Seems alot of folks like to talk to the rider that just rumbled into their sleepy back woods town,"where ya from" or "where ya goin to" usually opens the dialogue. And there is the occasional Old Fella who says, with a distant gleam in his eyes who laments "I remember ridin' when I was younger...."
Take time to meet these people,turn a kind ear and word toward them. I promise you will be in their minds long after your tail light has faded into the distance and the sound of your engine is just a fond memory.
Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM
@Felon - Well put... and tell me where your house is so I can avoid your driveway. LOL
Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 7:51 AM
Great article & here is my response:
(1)I am a planner, but they are always written in pencil! (2)An adventure can be a ride on your circular drive way, if your naked! (3)Love being lost, best way to explore new roads. (4)Our Web Rider group is always ready to ride! Then share those memories here on ORJ!(5) Don't like being uncomfortable, like things to be simple, as I am a simple man, but occasionaly I try to go places that you shouldn't take a Harley-Davidson touring motorcycle! I guess that is me leaving the comfort zone!
Tue Sep 6, 2011 at 8:42 PM
WOW! OpenRoadRider it's like you were able to put into words exactly what I was feeling. Great article, thank you!
Fri Sep 2, 2011 at 6:04 AM