This issue, CB Tech Advisor Rich Burgess drops into Editor Campbell’s usual space to tackle the topic of motorcycle tourists.
After reading some recent touring articles I can’t help but think that some of us are not like the others. Let me explain. First off, there are more ways to view touring than bike brands. Not in any way scientific but over the years I have talked with many travelers and read many accounts from motorcycle tourists. Hating stereotypes I am doing it anyway breaking people into vague “types.”
There are the “endurance” folks that just like to rack up miles. Yes, they cover a lot of territory but how much do they remember? They are likely to remember that deer they almost hit at dusk partly because they were tired, and partly because they refuse to stop at that time of day. They can tell you where the good roads are but are light on local content because, well, they don’t stop much and really don’t care—it’s about the ride. They often ride fast, which is fun if you don’t get caught, but most of the scenery goes by in a blur. To be fair sometimes the destination is far away and holidays are short so you’ve got to move.
There are the “slow pokes,” and these people never break the speed limit. They’re not very popular on the fun roads, especially among the fast guys who call them pylons (or worse).
They know where to get good pie, good motels and see a lot. They might be old and experienced on a huge bagger or maybe it’s the first trip after just getting their licence, riding whatever. Met a couple from Calgary riding big Yamaha scooters in Idaho once, their rule was 250 kilometres max a day and 100 kmh max speed, and yes it takes them all day to do that 250. But they get a room because the riding day stops before rush hour (and before they get tired). They get lots of photos and meet many people; it’s a very relaxed and restful holiday.
Speaking with them I learned to my surprise that besides being nice folks, they have Ducatis in the garage at home, for short fun rides. Hmm. Maybe they are onto something.
I thought of them when reading an account from my home turf in the Koots (that’s the West Kootenays). I asked myself why the writer didn’t talk about this or that. Then I realized if you don’t live there you would go right by. In a story of a thousand words covering a trip from point A to B many things will get missed. Something the wife and I tried the last few of years is getting a room for maybe two or three nights, exploring the local roads and soaking up the local vibe. I like it. But in the summer I have the luxury of more time off than the average drone.
There are the “planners.” I know some of these folks because I work with them. They spend months on line researching where to stay and even reading menus from the local restaurants. Of course they read all the online reviews, (the interweb doesn’t know everything but you can’t make them believe that). They have reservations for everything, no kidding. Of course there is no time for the unexpected or bad weather—stick to the plan or chaos will ensue.
They do eat well and do budget a little time for goofing around so it works; they are happy most of the time. But an interesting side trip has to fit the schedule or be missed. Bad weather? Too bad, stick to the plan. Getting behind schedule might mean riding real fast.
“World Travelers” probably have an adventure bike and all the free time you can imagine. I’m very envious of these folks. What can I say but bravo?
There are the “Herd” groups that travel together, a half dozen or more—hope they are not “pylons” or passing could be problematic. Riding with a large group almost always brings problems. Herding cats, you know what I mean? (They’re cats with interesting personalities though.) Somebody sleeps in, somebody wants to stay in the pub and have a few drinks (“I think that waitress smiled at me.”), or somebody breaks down. There is always someone who doesn’t prepare for the ride (“That tire should be good.”) Try finding one on a Sunday, and oh yeah it’s an odd size as well. As much fun as they can be, no more herds for me. The only way I would get involved would be to make the ride more like a poker run. “Hey we are meeting at Motel X tonight.” That way no one needs to wait for you and vice versa.
Hope you find your Happy Trails!