A Back-Roads Summer

100_4734Living in a rural community in Kansas, it’s not hard to travel the “back-roads.” After all, you have to take these quiet highways just to get anywhere. In about twenty minutes these two-lane roads around home can get me to any of the neighboring communities while throwing in a little bit of scenery along the way. Sure, in some parts of Kansas you can see the next towns elevator or water tower in the horizon, or maybe it’s wheat fields and sunflowers for miles. I truly can find the beauty in this being from Kansas and all. But as I travel these roads almost daily on my way to work or running errands, sometimes I just let it roll by without taking it in. We bikers always talk about taking the long way home or we listen for someone to speak of an interesting road they were on that we have yet to find. I have found that if you have the same predictable pattern of where you ride, these roads become stale and a bit boring. Sure the seasons change and that will give you a different perspective, and we all know every little bit helps.

But what would happen if we just reversed the route in which we take? How about taking the long way to work? Hey, I’m a creature of habit, and the long way home after work always leads to, well… home. But what about taking the long way to work? Sure, it can be done. I just have to get up a little earlier and be mentally prepared for wild animals and unfamiliar corners that sneak up on you. Who knows, maybe by changing my route to work I can convince myself that this back-road is a new, untraveled road that I can tell my friends about. Of course by changing my route, those that I regularly see on my way home or to work will wonder where I’m at, while the new route will bring brand new people to wave at and curiosity will make them think a biker has moved into their community. Just like the family that lives near the train tracks, after a while you don’t hear the train. My new route will have people thinking a train is coming! Come on, my pipes aren’t that loud…

So make this a “back-road” summer. Take the long way home or the long way to work. Change it up and make it interesting. Do what you would normally NOT do. Be different. But make sure you do the one thing you want to do-RIDE.


100 Miles


One hundred miles sounds far, doesn’t it? If you had to walk it or even ride a bicycle that far you would have a full day ahead of you…or in my case several days ahead of me. But we ride motorcycles and one hundred miles may take a couple of hours if you find the right road. You see, as bikers it’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about the quality of the ride. It can actually be a “longer is better” mentality. Do we do that in our car? If you drive a classic Mustang convertible or a Jeep Wrangler with the top off you might feel this way. But the Chevette isn’t the “long way” approach of getting there.

That’s the difference of enjoying the ride or plain transportation. The motorcycle can pull double duty combining the commute with the long way home and that is often the case for the motorcyclist. For those of us that ride we might even take the long way home while driving our car because we know the mental benefits of doing so. But I might add that if you don’t ride a motorcycle and you find yourself taking the long way home-you are a biker in the making. You just don’t know it yet.

So this one hundred mile theory works just the opposite for bikers. We WANT the ride to take a couple of days if not literally, then figuratively. We NEED the ride to last longer than a mile a minute, so we take the long way. If it was all about getting there in a hurry we could drive-maybe not in the Chevette, but you know what I mean. We want one hundred miles to feel like three hundred.

I can’t change time and distance from the seat of my Road King, but I can change the speed it which I travel. I can change my attitude and the direction I go. So in a sense, I have a little bit of control over how late I will be when I get there! If you ever find yourself tired with your commute, that same old road you travel every day, think about taking the road less traveled. Motorcycle or not, you control how you get there. If you’re in a hurry, you might have to ask yourself “why.” Don’t we spend enough of our day in a blur? Slow down, go the extra few miles, and appreciate the scenery. You might be surprised how good the “long way” really feels!