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No Adventure Too Small

Blog Date - 18 June 2018

According to the Oxford English Dictionary adventure is
 "An unusual and exciting or daring experience"

What is deemed unusual, exciting or daring? 

In a world of 7,000,0000,000 people, television and the internet what is considered unusual, exciting or daring has escalated to a ridiculous level. When I was a young man the UK watched in awe as Michael Palin travelled around the world in 80 days without airplanes. Today if we look online it is easy to find maybe tens of thousands of people travelling overland in much the same manner. So much so it barely raises an eyebrow.

A snapshot from the Horizons Unlimited web page
Horizons Unlimited - THE community for people travelling overland.

There's YouTube videos of people climbing huge buildings to parachute off. Websites about scuba diving in shipwrecks. Adverts for zip wires, safaris, Arctic cruises and holidays to the remote parts of Canada. As soon as it's possible to pay for an adventure surely the unusual aspect at least is lost.

To stand out from the crowd, to do something sufficiently unusual and daring or exciting enough to be noticed is incredibly difficult these days. Riding around the world on a motorcycle is practically mundane now. So you want to be different and do it on a C90? That's been done to death too. 

Ed March and his long suffering C90 at a show in Manchester
C90 world travel? Ed March has bagged that one, along with several others.

Essentially you'll have to hop on one leg while kicking a tin can while carrying a dot matrix printer while sleeping upside down in Churchill's socks while eating only peanut butter while going via the north and south pole while knitting jumpers for elephants before you might, possibly, maybe just do something classed as slightly unusual.

Adventure has had the adventure taken out of it because everyone is doing it.

Stop! The problem is judging what is unusual and exciting or daring by the levels set by others. 

When you were 5 years old an adventure could be staying up after 2200 at a sleepover with friends. It was unusual because most nights you'd be sleeping at home and asleep before 2000. It was exciting because it was unusual and you'd be eating chocolates for supper. It could be quite daring too because your friend's mother would come and shout at you - "You're supposed to be asleep!!"

I often feel my trips to South Wales or Yorkshire or even Spain are a bit lame because I know people who've been around the world. In the greater scheme of things my trips are lame, particularly if I measure them against such lauded company. Then I hear Sharon say "I never ever imagined little old me would be riding my own motorcycle through..." 

2 125cc motorcycles, one with L plates on a lonely Yorkshire moors road
Learner licence? 125cc motorcycles? It's still an adventure.

She's not measuring her achievement or level of adventure against everyone else's gauge. She's measuring it against her own experience and expectations. When she started riding 4 and a half years ago it was truly unusual for her to be simply riding a motorcycle, as well as exciting and daring. For her then to be riding a motorcycle with confidence through twisting mountain roads  was incredibly thrilling.

And it was for me too. I just lose sight of my own sense of achievement because of the people I know, because of the internet and all the wondrous (and ridiculous) things it shows me.

I hope the travels and adventures on this blog inspire people to get out there to create and enjoy their own adventures. What worries me is people who aren't ready to ride around Wales or take the ferry to Spain will think "I could never do that therefore I can't have any adventures". 

No adventure is too small. You could be new to motorcycling so a day out to the seaside alone is - 
 Unusual because you've not done it on your own bike and alone before.
 Exciting because you want to go there and you like to ride your bike.
 Daring because you're nervous and hey you might get lost!

A scooter with learner plates on a campsite with other motorcycles
You don't need a GS1200A to have an adventure.

You might have been riding for 20 years but you've never been camping? You've travelled the world by air but you've never ridden to Mablethorpe in winter and stopped in a cheap BnB? You might have ridden a vintage Francis Barnett to Timbuktu when you were 35, but have you taken a GSXR600 to Belgium now you are 65?

So go on, create your own adventure. It needs to be just a little different from your everyday experience, it needs to get you a little excited and it should be daring enough to make you nervous but not so terrifying as to make you feel sick. Just a few butterflies in the stomach is enough.

If you'd like to share your own motorcycle based adventure here on Bikes And Travels - no matter how small - contact




Reader's Comments

Rod said :-
What is an adventure???
I think anything that gets you excited or just makes you feel good.
So I guess that is every time I get on the bike!
Last year I went down to Spain for just under 2 weeks, and although I had planned my route and camp sites on the way through France, it all went wrong when the M25 QE2 crossing was closed for 3 hours making my arrival at the Dover port nearly 3 hours late. The ferry company got me on to an alternative crossing free of charge, as they knew of the M25 closure, but this put me 4 hours behind time when I got into France.
This was November, so days are shorter than the summer months, and there was no way I would get to my camp site near Le Mans before dark.
After trying two camp sites which were closed (camp sites tend to close September in France) I decided to camp just outside a small village next to an area which the village used for their recycling.
Camping wild although not planned made this more of an adventure for myself.
18/6/2018 10:16:52 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
The things I remember most about my "adventures" are when whatever plans I had were sidetracked by events. Desperately trying to get things back on track, fraught diagnostic sessions by the side of the road, long detours caused by blocked passes etc - they seem to be most prominent to me, like Rod's wild camping.

One trip to France I arrived on a Sunday morning off the ferry without having filled up with petrol. Rural France was then (still is in many areas) devoid of filling stations which open on Sundays so I had to stop overnight after 100 miles or so. As it happened, the village I stopped in was having a festival (celebrating what I don't know) so I spent a very enjoyable afternoon & evening mixing with the locals, enjoying their cider and street barbecues, and visiting normally closed buildings.
18/6/2018 12:32:00 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oii! Don't you be scaring people off adventures with your tales of woe!

There's a balance to be struck. It is important that not EVERYTHING is planned to the last detail and to take the risk that things might not pan out quite as you'd hoped. When things go a little awry and you come up with a solution then there's a sense of achievement, of triumph over adversity. But if lots and lots of things go wrong it can feel like a disaster, that you're a failure and never want to leave the safety of the living room again.

Some people have to really push the boundaries to get excited about anything, for some just going to the shops is terrifying. While an adventure to the next town might not make the news it might be every bit as thrilling as a fortnight in Morocco for some.

I'm thankful to hear it's not just me that has had a few things go wrong.

19/6/2018 9:52:48 AM UTC
Rod said :-
No! We are not trying to scare people off adventures. When things go wrong, that can make the adventure better, and more memorable.
So just go and enjoy the adventure, but be prepared to change your plans now and then.
19/6/2018 10:56:14 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
HA! Like I did when I firstly got lost in Spain then found the road was closed. Sometimes you've just got to improvise.
19/6/2018 12:58:00 PM UTC
Christopher said :-
Yes, good advice....Create your own 'Adventure', On whatever bike you care to!, No matter where you go, or what you do....its unique to you.... Just don't go looking at certain mainstream bike magazines for 'ideas' though!.....(or should that be all bike magazines?), because,(according to them), unless you have the latest BMWGS1200(A of course!)or KTM 1290 (to name but two), both with all the gizmos,(and on P.C.P too of course!) such as Sat Nav,alloy 'top of the range' panniers, traction control etc, etc, oh,and you will need an 'Adventure Jacket' costing at least £1000 too, then, you have no chance of having said adventure.......Hence, take no notice of all that, and go out and do your own thing....Enjoy
19/6/2018 4:31:01 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I suspect the problem with some of the magazines is the journalists live in a bubble. When you've had a top of the range fully tricked out all singing all dancing adventure/sports/touring/off road or whatever model on test for 3 months coming "back down" to a 500 run of the mill middle of the road bike must be something of an anticlimax.

It's not across the board, it's not everyone. There are some magazines and websites that take into account people's budgets and other factors.

When it comes to riders of course you will meet the odd snob who will look down on smaller bikes or cheaper kit but for the most part Sharon's and my own experience has been pretty good. The 125s and Sharon's 250 tend to start good conversations rather than elicit snooty looks. My 500 is rather too average to warrant further discussion.

Motorcycling and the adventure aspect of it are personal things. You can only try to do what you can with what you got and enjoy it is much as you can.
19/6/2018 6:27:58 PM UTC
Marina said :-
Whoop whoop im famous again lol. ( my little scoot) Was such an adventure! I remember being so scared on so many levels . But wow did I feel alive. As you say adventures are personal achievements. Non is too small a challenge.
3/7/2018 9:10:56 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Marina. Just in case anyone's wondering the Yamaha scooter in the picture above belongs to Marina.

Marina came from London to join a bunch of bikers she'd never met before and rode around the north coast of Scotland with them on the 2017 NC500 trip - I'll add a link to the write up of that.

You don't need a certain kind of motorcycle. You don't need specialist gear. You don't even need to leave your country...or even county.
4/7/2018 8:26:30 AM UTC

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