As was announced on January 1st this year, this new motorcycle rental fleet based in our hometown of Bend, Oregon has been launched at least partially because of the "incredible bounty of great riding to enjoy just here at home" that I referred to in that article.
After taking our new bikes down to Baja in April, my focus turned to finally creating a shorter-length riding package. Years of offering these 2-3 week trips has unfortunately kept some folks from being able to partake, and it has been a goal to create a raw, rugged adventure ride that hits all the highlights in a timeframe more riders can take advantage of. The result of hours of research and some long riding days is a route we're calling The Best Week in Oregon, and if Damon's Trip Advisor review below is any indication, I'd say we're off to a good start:
As Damon outlined, he's done a few Guided motorcycle trips with us going all the way back to 2012. Surely he's done his own solo riding in that time around home as well, but the journey he just completed here in Oregon with his son stands out as the first time he headed out into truly remote territories on an adventure bike, putting himself (and Finn in this case) on unfamiliar routes, and without any outside expertise, like having one of our Lead Guides along. Think we're exaggerating about how 'remote' the riding can be here in Oregon? Just wait until you're out in the Steens Mountains ... you'll see. (Photo by Damon Bourne)
Riding a pair of new Africa Twins donning Heidenau K60 Scouts, packed up with Giant Loop's luggage, GPS tracks, Road Books to follow, and a satellite phone as the absolute backup, clearly we can see that the Bournes pulled off The Best Week in Oregon successfully, and without a Lead Guide. Having ridden plenty with Damon thus far, I had no doubt he could handle the riding, and because we always have conversations with Riders about their riding backgrounds before we accept their booking, we can help pre-qualify anyone who wants to ride The Best Week in Oregon.
When we catch up from time to time, I've enjoyed seeing and hearing how Damon's Spanish skills are progressing, a mission he's taken on to the point of actually taking classes and meeting with emersion groups locally. Having completed this Oregon trip self-guided, Damon recently texted that he's feeling ready to not only head back down to South America for another ride, but this time, to do it Self-Guided, just like he did here in Oregon.
That folks, is exactly the type of success and thrill I'd always hoped that RIDE Adventures could lead people to. My original "more people need to experience this" mindset is what this business spawned from in the first place, and at least part of that experience is the notion that you can do these trips alone. You can ride smart and cautiously, while still having fun, and still breathe that fresh air to enjoy your own moments and best your own challenges on these trips we offer.
Sure, we love organizing guided groups and enjoying the fun along with you, but the satisfaction for the individual that comes with doing so self-guided should not be overlooked. That extra bit of challenge and uncertainty, which riders always seem to overcome somehow, is the good stuff in life that I think we all need more of. Services and conveniences in some ways, may be robbing us to some extent, of confidence and feelings of independence. (I cringe even typing that as a service provider, but hopefully get some credit for being honest.)
Much like with all the research riding I've done over the years, moving along at one's own self-guided pace, allowing oneself more time to chat with that random person met along the way, or take a roadside nap only to wake up with mama deer and her fawn grazing nearby for just a couple of examples. In addition to the actual riding, these are the types of experiences I want people to enjoy.
We set people up on these Self-Guided trips in a responsible way, which all has led to an extremely high rate of successful trip completions. Sure, there are crashes. Crashes can happen whether a rider is with a Guided Group, or out there on their own, and of course the difference in this case is how immediately we can be there to assist. - But crashes are the rare exception. The overwhelming majority of our riders complete their trips with little more than a simple "oops-tip-over" along the way, like we've all done before. By reading the information we provide about each route in advance and being honest with oneself about your riding skill levels, there's no reason why a level-headed approach to these trips shouldn't result in safe trip completion.
A good friend sent me a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's biography on Eustace Conway, "The Last American Man" just before I rode down to South America the first time back in 2008. Before crossing the U.S./Mexico border, and while still contemplating if this was a smart decision to make such a trip, I knew and understood part of what Gilbert and Conway reminded us this book: That sometimes it's living on the edge that makes us feel most alive. Perhaps that's exactly why riders enjoy motorcycle riding as much as we do. No doubt, it's a risky endeavor every time we mount-up ... but so is living on the couch and risking a broken heart over not doing the things in life that our soul desires.
Come on out to Oregon, folks. Or to any of the other incredible areas we're offering these services. Yes, we're happy to have you as part of our Guided Groups, but don't look past the Self-Guided possibilities. Not only do Self-Guided motorcycle trips make your trip more affordable, but the experience, skills, and confidence gained from it will all play into other aspects of life. We need challenge, we need feelings of accomplishment, and we can have all this from the "undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks" known as an "adventure."