Are long-term adventure motorcyclists minimalists?
This isn’t a piece about small bike vs. big bike, that decision is entirely yours – this is just another way to look at it if you are on the fence about what Adventure Motorcycling possibly is or isn’t and where you can get to or not get to…
Having some spare time I have been reading about minimalism and wonder how it could be integrated into Adventure Motorcycling. Think of it as an alternative way to look at your set up ‘before you head out’ on that big trip. At absolute worse it may help you pack a little less.
It’s obvious that some don’t understand ‘less is more’ when it comes to riding and travel when some bikes are packed to excess – we’ve all seen the photos
This got me asking myself a question, if less is more and it can potentially make an adventure even more of an adventure why don’t more riders do it and embrace the minimalist lifestyle on the road…have a read and see what you think and then ask yourself some questions about your rational and your set up for what you want your adventure to be.
When I was thinking about this, I was thinking of trips at a minimum of three months, but longer trips will make a lot more sense of what you’ll read below.
Less is more – do you pack for every eventuality?
Less is more – can you pick your bike up by yourself?
Less is more – does the size of your motorcycle determine where you go?
Less is more – do you like to fill up more than once a day?
Lightweight adventure riders are traveling minimalists just taking what is required to get the job done and survive. Every single thing that is required to live life to the fullest is on the bike. If anything is missing it is sourced when required.
On the other hand, the riders on the big behemoth bikes (I’ve done both so I can comment) have everything and more on the bike, don’t expect to have to buy a single thing besides fuel and food for the whole trip.
For me, every subsequent trip I take, I take less as I learn more about what I need and don’t need regardless of the length of the trip.
So, the question is – if you were a minimalist adventure rider – would you have MORE of an adventure.
Why would this help you as an adventure rider? Here are those four questions I asked at the start, but now they are numbered. If you answer YES to any or all of these, you might be having a negative effect on your adventure without really realizing it –
- Less is more – do you pack for every eventuality?
- Less is more – can you pick your bike up by yourself?
- Less is more – does the size of your motorcycle determine where you go?
- Less is more – do you like to fill up more than once a day?
Number 1. If you pack less, it is obvious you have spent less because you have less. Therefore it means more money in your pocket, which means a longer adventure.
Number 2. That crazy dirt road you pass that looks interesting but on a big bike, you might just have to tell yourself no. No, because if you are alone it’s an unknown and if you get in trouble who knows if or when someone would find you stranded with a dropped bike, or worse an injury because coming off your heavy bike has physically hurt you. If your bike goes into a ditch with handlebars down/ wheels up, are you stuck if you are solo? Can you drop your bike 10-15 times a day and pick it up, can you do that day after day…in sand/ mud/ bulldust/ pea gravel/ altitude etc. If the answer is no then are you riding an adventure bike or just a bike that the manufacturer said was an adventure bike…did you just find out you were sold on advertising and maybe a sports tourer would have been just as good and probably cost you less?
Number 3. Big bikes are great but once you leave the first world countries are you shoving your wealth in people faces, you might be more likely to be looked at like a cash machine. Can you ride that big bike on a consistent basis offroad day after day? Adventure, I mean real adventure isn’t on a paved road is it?
Number 4. Fuel, I hear some riders filling up more than once a day, are you giving yourself chance to immerse in the cultures you have created this once in a lifetime chance to come to see (if that’s your goal) or are you are just riding. Try riding less distance, 200km a day is a lot – leave late, arrive early, travel slowly, spend less, which in turn means – more travel and adventure.
My conclusion which I actually realized and many others do too; bigger is not always better! I am going smaller and lighter with both bike and luggage and going back to being a motorcycling minimalist and seek out more adventure and ride to more remote locations.