Summer is just about upon us and I have already had some great riding days. Now those sunny days are going to string together into long sunny weeks and wander lust is upon me….I want to go somewhere!
I have always toured on the bike, the ride is as important as the destination, very often more important. In a car you look out of the window, as if watching TV, on a bike
“You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”( Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
The best bit is you don’t need a special bike or gear to do it, despite what anyone says. All you need is the time and the will, and possibly a couple of mates to do it with, but those are optional because you can find some on the way.
Of course some things do help make the trip easier, a toothbrush and a credit card are possibly the bare minimum to leave with ….maybe just the credit card, although dental hygiene is important! Seriously, I would always recommend travelling light, nothing more than necessary, because you don’t want to spend the days packing and repacking your bike when you can be out enjoying yourself on it instead. Possibly a better reason for packing light is comfort and handling, if you are squeezed in to a tiny space on the bike it is never going to be great, and being great is what it is all about.
I have made many friends in my travels, some are just one night laughs in a bar but others have become lifelong riding buddies. One of the beauties of riding alone is that you are forced to communicate with others; you don’t just stay in your little group. Everyone in the world has a story to tell and finding those stories is one of the things I love to do. Of course if you are 30 minutes into the conversation and you find out your new buddy is a total dick, it doesn’t matter, you will be long gone tomorrow and never have to see them again.
The freedom you get from being on the open road alone with no pressing need to be anywhere is one of those biking clichés that happen to be true. I have experienced incredible things on the road, but none more incredible than the sense of peace and well being I have had, riding through a summer’s day on a beautiful purring bike and just knowing that everything is right in my world.
Yes you will see amazing things, and yes you will meet total idiots, you might break down, get lost, find the love of your life or discover a land that you fit into perfectly. Whatever happens it is an adventure, and when you get back it is an adventure you can share, down the pub with the guys and maybe, just maybe they will come with you the next time.
I managed to move myself and my belongings 500 miles across the country on a little Gpz600r. If I could do that an adventure is possible on anything. It is a big world and you only have so much time, so go out there and experience it.
And I have decided, Italy, the Stelvio Pass….got to really haven’t I?