As an editor for a magazine, I have a general desire to inform and educate the public about issues and topics within adventure motorcycling. I do this in part as an attempt to pass on my own enthusiasm for this form of travel. Maybe a story in this magazine will give someone another idea about where to take his or her next adventure. Or maybe someone will be motivated to take a ride for the first time. Some of our readers are very experienced travelers. Some are new to the recreation. We do what we do so that we can share the unique experiences we have.
I truly enjoy introducing new people to adventure travel. I enjoy helping people decide on their next (or first) adventure. And I had the opportunity to do this in May. A friend of mine recently got his motorcycle license and was trying to figure out what type of motorcycle he wanted. I asked him to take a ride with me to Moab, Utah, and do a little all-terrain riding. He was apprehensive, but he eventually agreed to go. We visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. We rented him a small, lightweight Honda CRF230 for the rides we would be taking. I was probably more nervous than my friend because I knew how unsettling dirt roads could be for someone who experiences them for the first time.
We started with some paved roads through Arches. I was out in front, monitoring his riding through my rear view mirrors. When the sun was right, I could just make out the smile on my friend’s face as we rode by the unique rock structures that exist there. We took the park road all the way to the end, stopping at “The Devil’s Garden”. There we took a walk and I did a check to see how he felt. And he was fine. The uninterrupted view one has on a motorcycle impressed him the most, and he was filled with energy. So we decided that we would take Arches National Park Road (an unpaved, sandy road) back to the highway. We descended into the valley that cuts Arches in two and slowly made our way through the dirt and sand. I had been on this road several times, yet I felt like I was on a new adventure, living vicariously through my friend. I knew he was seeing things for the first time, and it made me feel the same way.
After a while, we stopped. I wanted to see how he was doing. My friend removed his helmet and I immediately saw the enthusiasm he had for what we were doing. This was a big deal to him, and thus it became a big deal for me. We spent the rest of our time in Moab, searching out every dirt road we could find. We took the La Sal mountain loop, visited Gemini Bridges, and even took on the White Rim Trail of the Canyonlands (article later this year). He couldn’t get enough of it and I enjoyed every moment, knowing that almost every moment for him was new.
So, where am I headed with this? Well, throughout our time in Moab, I was being reminded of all those riders years back, more experienced than me, who took me out into the country for the first time. They helped me with almost infinite patience as I was experiencing everything for the first time. I remembered not knowing where I was going and putting my complete trust in them. I remembered how well they took care of me and taught me how to use my motorcycle this way. I never felt unsafe, and I never felt like I was holding them back (though I am sure I was at times).
I realized that this nurturing personality, this respect for the safety and general experience of others, is something that is very prevalent amongst adventure riders. There is a desire to teach others to enjoy this form of travel and take less experienced riders along and keep them safe. So this letter is to thank those people who helped me gain such an enthusiasm for adventure motorcycling, and for taking care of me on the road. And I want to thank all of you who have done the same for someone else. My friend had a somewhat different understanding of what he wanted to do with the spare time he had. And I was happy to help him come to that understanding. Any of you who have helped others get out into the Outland have probably had a similar impact on those who were with you. So, I will close by saying thanks, and we hope to pay it forward. Ride safe!!
JIM VOTA – EDITOR