The Loneliness of the Long Distance Rider

I’ve been fortunate to be able to take some long winter rides on my new/ old bike the last couple of weeks. My mind normally wanders as I get away from phones and responsibility. As I have thought back on my 50 years of riding, I seem to have found two common themes. I can’t help but wonder if other cyclists might find some common ground with me.

First off, I’ve always been a bit of a loner. As age has overtaken me, I seem to have gotten more sociable, but only in a relative sense. I’ve ridden somewhere north of 250,000 miles on various bikes and at least 225,000 have been alone. I like to stop when I want and go at whatever pace appeals to me at any given time.

During my hard core dirt biking days, I rode with a couple of different groups. I found that some rode too slow to make it interesting but really most rode too fast for my limited skills and I was constantly riding over my head. I began to think they invited me along because of my predilection for falling.

I decided that the age old advice of never riding alone off road was actually more dangerous in my case. From the mid 1970’s well into the 90’s I rode alone in the woods. Although I fell a few times, I always made it out alive.

So on to my second observation, I never like to be told what to do. It has been a serious character flaw that I have learned to live with but it has certainly caused me problems throughout my life. What does this have to do with motorcycle riding?

When I am out riding in the middle of nowhere and come across a nasty dirt road or even a single track trail running off into the wilderness, I have to have the option to take it. While I pass them up a lot more often than I used to, since I am on a proper dual sport bike, I CAN take it. When I also owned street only bikes, I was told no, you cannot take that trail.

I have had very few periods in my life when I didn’t own some sort of dual sport bike. My first licensed bike was a 1969 CL350. My current bikes are both dual sports. I actually never tied together my distaste for being told no and my obsession with dual sport bikes.

I can’t help but wonder if there are others out there like me. Please visit my Facebook page here to let me know what you think.