Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sport touring: …blissful solitude in a quiet realm

I’ve been on the road for two days, now riding north on Interstate 74 in Ohio eagerly awaiting to intersect Indiana State road 46, until finally a road sign directs me to exit and merge on to 46. I’m now approximately 55miles/ 88 km from my destination, Bloomington, IN., I’m exhausted, nearly spent. This is my first tour and already I’ve endured plentiful precipitation, strong winds, unplanned turns, uncertainty and utter silence. When I finally reached my destination I’m almost delirious, I’ve arrived safely, astonishingly! I can hardly stop talking, to my old friends I seemed unrecognizable, but they graciously withheld any criticism and instead welcomed me into their home until I settled down.

A year and a few thousand miles later I’ve learned to embrace the feeling, the feeling one encounters during endless miles and hours on the saddle fully immerse in one’s consciousness with minimal social activity. Humans have yet to discover (or disclosed) whether a time machine exists, however, I believe motos would make decent prototype.  During pre-trip planning, one can try to account for most expected incidents and plan accordingly along with scheduling an early departure; that is the plan. Until the day arrives, time warps and one looses track of it, and is relegated to counting miles in the absence of accurate time perception.

I agree with The Eagles when they sing that one may “look at the stars but still not see the light” and that is the case with time when touring. One may look at the clock and still be unable to discern time. It is actually a beautiful thing. We exists in a society that demands we account for all that we accomplish with titles, awards, wealth, etc. As a result some individuals choose to ignore such notion and truly exist if only for a brief time, through sport touring and remain unaccountable for time.

To the uninformed and uninitiated motorcycling consist of riding a bicycle like machine, although at higher speeds, a semi valid assumption. Except to be able to fully appreciate it one must be willing to embrace the uncertainty of the sport, and that is where the rewards await.  During most of my travels when I have encountered flocks of riders, most of the time they have been on hogs.  It appears sport tourers may be the soloist type, a member of a subculture within a microcosm.

 A rider willing to embark on a potential one way journey for the sheer joy of adventure, self validation, [insert own assumption], alone.  In search of blissful solitude that can only be achieved at higher revolutions, similarly to what most are trying to accomplish: to be yourself albeit at higher speeds. To engage in an affair that will demand the best of you, that is the allure of the road, intoxicating, irresistible and potentially final.

Ultimately,  The Ride will exact a toll on the jockey as a means of admittance into a parallel realm where it all decelerates, where material elements are irrelevant, ambitions rescinded for one must exist in the present. It is far from escapism from quotidian affairs, it is… heighten reality, exponentially beautiful reality. Where the most favorable choice is to simply allow the road to Send Me on my Way (RR). Enjoy the Ride.


  1. I want to get some input from you on making my CBR more comfortable for long distance riding. I'm thinking of a nearly cross country trip next summer but I have concerns doing it on my CBR. The problem is that I'm tall, as a result the knee bend angle is quite extreme. After two 370 mile days this year I could really feel the discomfort in my knees by the end of the day. The fear is that doing two weeks might become unbearable. The options as I see them seem to be limited, either try to modify the bike with lowered pegs / taller seat etc... or choose a different bike with better ergonomics. Do you have any thoughts on the matter? How tall are you and what is the longest number of continuous days you've spent on the bike?

  2. Greetings,

    I'm 5'6" and the longest time I spent on the bike has been: two continuos days for 625 miles, one day for 424 miles and one day for 497 miles. Since I'm shorter I don't have serious problems with the peg set up, although I do have to stretch my legs while riding from time to time. I hope this helps.


    My source of discomfort is the lean angle. My arms are about 1.5 inches to short, thus I have too lean forward and most of the time it puts stress on my wrists, neck and upper back.
    When I firts started riding I did not think I could tour for extended periods of time but what I found just in other sports is a matter of practice.

    I would recommend you ride (practice) often before the ride for short periods of time. Maybe 50-100 miles a day, so that your muscles can get accoustomed to the position. Also, I'd suggest strectching regularly and working out to build stamina. Although, you are just sitting on the bike while riding, because of the wind and other factors muscles in your body are working hard and you won't notice until you get off the bike.

    I'm not sure what your riding style is, but I think you realize that after awhile even if you modify your bike, you will stil experience discomfort. My style during touring is usually I knock out 100-120 miles at the begining. After that I adjust my riding accordingly decreasing the mileage and increasing the frequency of breaks. Even if is only a fuel stop or a 10 minute break at a rest stop.

    In regards to getting another bike, if your budget allows it, it could work but no bike is perfect and you may find other issues that may need attention. Overall, there are only minor adjustments you can make to bike, but you can make major adjustments to your riding style. If you don't have time constraints next year during your tour, just take it easy and Enjoy the Ride.

  3. Pardon the typos, this thing does not allow one to edit once published. Let me know if you other questions or suggestions and Good luck with your touring plans.