I recently saw a video posted by OG Adventurer (albeit 4×4) Andrew St. Pierre White where he discusses whether or not all the modern advancements is making him soft (video below). I’d like to think that I’m not getting (too) soft, but really this video prompted another discussion with my brother. The topic discussed was with regards to how all the “stuff” involved with riding is not in any way directly related to the quality of the experience of the activity. In addition, the burden of the stuff (especially financial burden) can not only hurt the experience, but prevent the experience from happening in the first place.
Now, I know I’m not one to talk. Or maybe I am, since I feel I have way too much experience in complicating my life for the sake of the “perfect setup”. As I look back on my motorcycle history, it makes me cringe at how much I bounced from this or that in search of the “perfect rig”, but yet never taking that time\effort\money into just simply riding.
Way back when in the history of me, I picked up a G650Xcountry. I was smitten by the looks of it. I’d never ridden one, but I wanted it. One of the first things I did was visit my girlfriend where she was away at college. I at the time seemingly didn’t overthink anything. I couldn’t tell yah when I bought them, but I had some cheapo luggage bags, that combined with a coleman special sleeping bag and I was ready with my bike and camping gear for a road trip to Iowa.
I didn’t have a single issue with this setup, and so far as I can recall, the weekend trip went without a hitch, with many 2-up wheelies enjoyed by well…myself. Ironically, a year or so later (as I burrowed deep into the ADV world), I was on the same bike but had to have the “proper” ADV gear for an off-roading trip in the UP of Michigan. This led me to a painful realization that just because its “ADV” gear, that it may not be the right stuff to use. I wound up losing stuff, as well as burning through some gear as it melted onto my muffler.
Amusingly, my buddy riding with me borrowed my “unacceptable” cheapo bags and ran without an issue. The proof was in the puddin’
Now, I know this isn’t an entirely fair apples to apples comparison. One trip was 99.9% road, where the other was 50\50 road\off-road and saw the 650X seeing abuse that may have made other bags weep for mercy on the thing. This put the gear in a bit different use categories, but I do recall being torn on how I was going to handle carrying camp gear, and what bike specific stuff would do the job. When the reality was that a 20$ Jansen backpack from walmart woulda done the job I needed.
That said, there was a silver lining to chasing the advdragon. I took some time after that trip to analyze what did and didn’t work, and what made me enjoy it, and what caused me additional headaches. This lead me to a setup that was 100% ideal for me and one I wish was still in my garage today.
Which this image leads me to where I am today. In the words of Bryan Moss of The Wunder Years “When history repeats itself this will be our take two.”
I’m in my take two (or ten) and attempting to not repeat myself. One of my goals for the year is to spend more time riding. Yet as I’m making some random hooky day plans for when the snow melts, I’m already thinking about the next bike, or the right gear, or this, or that. I’m allowing myself to let nonconsequential things steer my plans. Writing them down here and listening to wiser people helps remind me to enjoy the trip and Run what I’ve brung. Any problems (perceived or otherwise) are really just part of the fun.