We ride. We bench race. We opinionate

There seems to be a lot of conversation about the new Harley-Davidson Pan America within the BMW community. I follow both groups on social media and I’m amazed at some of the comments I’ve read coming from both crowds. Even Zach and Ari have a video out explaining how either brand shines outside of their respective genre. As a guy who likes all-things motorcycle, I find the Us versus Them to be the same argument as to the chicken and the egg. I like eggs and I like chicken. Why argue about it?

Clearly, Harley-Davidson has stepped beyond their comfort zone with the Pan America and BMW has done the very same with the BMW R 1800 Classic. Or are they still in their comfort zone? Both companies have been around a very long time, (and it shows) and both companies have produced motorcycles that have appealed to a wide range of interests. Just take a look at their powerplants and you’ll see how each have held on to the past and brought those designs into the future. Classic lines and designs can sell product, that’s for sure.

I’ve never been the guy that thinks mine is better than yours when it comes to brands. Every brand can have a bad day and even a model within ranks can have issues that it can’t outrun. Rose-colored face-shields can soften our opinions but time marches on. So back to these respective groups on social media – reading comment after comment of how owners of one brand talk and think of others amazes me. As riders, we ride and usually own several makes and models over the years. Heck, even in some sort of secret and successful marketing strategy by these makers of motorcycles, we may own several bikes at a time consisting of different brands! And then to splinter off even further, these bikes could even be for different types of riding based around touring, dirt or sport. Does that make any of the plethora of bikes I’ve owned any better than yours? Of course not. But social media has given most folks the power and authority to comment their negative opinions that add nothing to the discussion. We ride. We bench race. We opinionate.

I’ve owned a lot of motorcycles over the 45 + years of riding. Some were good, others were great and a few left no impression on me. But they all served a purpose in getting me where I am today. It took many miles and a lot of dust to figure out what kind of riding I like to do and of course, some motorcycles are more suited to me for that purpose. I’m not going to go out of my way to pull the conversation down to a lower level by beating up the so-called competition to the brand I’m currently riding. If it takes Harley-Davidson to up the game in the ADV category, then so be it. Honda, Moto Guzzi, Triumph and Yamaha will have to up their game along with the BMW line-up. Will Harley-Davidson bring out a smaller displacement ADV bike? The Saucepan America? My bet is not in the near future. But would it be so bad?

Will Harley-Davidson bring out a smaller displacement ADV bike? The Saucepan America? My bet is not in the near future.

There’s plenty of room around the world for any manufacturer to step out and create something new and exciting. As a consumer, I can appreciate the effort it takes to bring a new bike to the dealer’s floor and it’s interesting to see how opinions and brand loyalties then become the discussion. I get it, we take a certain pride in what we ride and bragging is what fills the comment section. I still wave at anyone on a motorcycle regardless of what they’re riding because you never know at what stage of the motorcycle experience they are in. At the end of the day, we ride, and what we ride is a matter of where we are in our participation in this sport.

I acknowledge all of my fellow riders and would stop to help or shoot the breeze with any of you wherever I may find myself on this road we ride. With a new year ahead of us and a new model year coming, we can only hope it brings with it a bunch of new stuff to discuss. Save travels!

Adventure of a Lifetime – Along for the Ride

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Writing a blog about motorcycles and my deep thoughts and perspectives about riding has opened up a whole new world for me. Within the last few years I’ve made several friends and contacts within this industry and I’ve had the opportunity to read some amazing blogs and articles written by these folks. When I started doing this there wasn’t any hope for me. I thought of this as more of a journal – a place to put what I’ve had stored up in my head just so I wouldn’t forget it all. But it has become so much more than that as its the inspiration of those who truly live their lives as an adventure. They take it beyond what I affectionately call the “city limit.” The city limit is an imaginary boundary I have put myself in growing up in a small town. Much like a dog with a collar and an invisible fence, I may feel a shock if I ever leave this small town.

The city limit is an imaginary boundary I have put myself in growing up in a small town. Much like a dog with a collar and an invisible fence, I may feel a shock if I ever leave this small town.

But for some of these riders and writers it has become a way of life. They have taken a dream and turned it into a reality of sorts – an adventure if you will. To create a world where words and roads meet can be a wonderful thing, and I have enjoyed following these people along their journey while they bring their experiences to life. It takes a lot to do this and the sacrifices are many. Time away from family and friends, living along the road or trail and pulling down some meager wages can add up to burnout and frustration at times, but they keep plugging away at it.

Dharma Anchor is a great example. I always enjoy reading Vallaree’s blog and looking at her amazing photography as it puts me right there in the moment as if I’m standing next to my motorcycle seeing it with my own eyes. Traveling by motorcycle, her view and descriptions are spot on and this is obviously pure talent as I know how difficult it is to convey. I love this blog.

Sharon Faith is and adventurer and writer from Florida, traveling on her Suzuki V-Strom and writing about her travels. She’s finally found her way to Alaska and from what I can tell she is loving every minute of it.

Dannell Lynn is currently hitting all 50 states and Canada in a year’s time on her Triumph motorcycle and writing about it on her blog Black Tie to Black Top. She has traveled the world and touched many lives along the way. To make this kind of commitment is an amazing thing for sure but I know the true reward is the people she meets along the way. Let’s face it, we ride motorcycles but it is the places and people who make the trip an adventure. Safe travels my friend.

Alisa Clickenger is proof that life isn’t always headed in the direction we think it is. Many years ago, she changed the direction of her life and it somehow involved motorcycles. Looking back I’m sure she would agree this was a good thing. Living in California, she has pursued her dream of being involved in the motorcycle industry by speaking at events encouraging others to ride and representing tours for women riders. Also a world traveler on a motorcycle, she only has more great things planned for the future. I can’t wait.

Shawn Thomas currently works for Rawhyde Adventures and makes his living doing what he loves to do. I know he’s not writing a blog about his adventures, but his enthusiasm is contagious. A family man making the sacrifices to follow a dream.

If you like following my blog, check out the people I like to follow. There are so many more I could mention They are doing what can be difficult to do: Writing about their riding adventures and making it interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. Thank you all for allowing me into your adventure and keep it coming!