As our world is faced with a challenge somewhat unique to any previously endured, motorcycle riders will still ride. Whether by breaking rules of quarantine and going for a joy ride, or doing so for work or food, it's going to happen. It's what we do.
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:
Quite a year 2019 has been, folks.
We started on New Year's Day with the announcement of our newest motorcycle rental fleet based here in Bend, Oregon and our inboxes and schedules have been full ever since. The decision to not build the fleet around the BMW brand was an interesting one that I explained a few blog posts ago, but with these extremely popular Africa Twins and other bikes being reserved by riders from around the world, it's clear that 'word is out' about just how many great options are out on the market right now. Thankful for that.
Having finished another successful Guided Group trip in Patagonia last month with a great group of fun riders, the bulk of March has been focused on one thing: Buying the new bikes for our Oregon-based motorcycle fleet, and getting ready for our first trip into Baja in April. Plus, a research trip for the CABDR South (California Backcountry Discovery Route) has just been announced for May!
Who wants to join?
What a fantastic response we've gotten from the announcement made a few weeks ago, that we've started buying bikes and building a new rental fleet here in beautiful Bend, Oregon. Thanks again to all our Customers over the years that are part of making this business possible!
Questions have been coming in as folks have wondered about some of the decisions I'll explain below. Overall reaction has been great, and I'm pleased to see that a few of you have already booked for the March 31st & April 16th "Baja on Down" scouting trips we just announced earlier this week. There are still 2 spots available going southbound and 3 going north, so contact me ASAP through that page if you want to grab a bike for these trips. Peak season underway now and with a full month in Patagonia coming up, I'll be ready to sip a beer on a beach in Baja with any fun dual sport riders looking to join.
Why aren't we offering BMW rentals in Oregon?
This new "What's it really like" video series Garrett got us started on seems long overdue, although it's quite a challenge putting these riding opportunities into words. Such is true with all forms of travel in that no words ... no photos ... or videos ... can possibly recreate the experience of actually being there.
This latest video about our Self-Guided, Truck Supported Full Patagonia Adventure package explains a motorcycle trip format that came into existence for few simple reasons:
a) RIDE Adventures got started as a result of my own Self-Guided riding and exploration, and the spirit and challenge that comes with solo travel is something I will forever cherish.
b) Add a bit of my own cautious nature, recognizing that in the most remote places, it's safer to be riding with someone instead of completely alone.
c) Consider feedback we've received from Customers over the years that "I don't want to be stuck in a group in Patagonia, but I also don't want to be out there completely alone."
Combine all these thoughts, and this unique Self-Guided, Truck Supported motorcycle trip format has been the perfect response to such a combination of hopes & needs. Bonus is, because we've removed the Lead Guide from the services offered in this package, it helps cut-down the cost per rider. Per these points from our latest video:
Well here it is, another of my best attempts to share with you "What's it Really Like" has been posted on YouTube, this time, for our Northern Thailand Experience route. If it weren't for Garrett's prowess at video production, I'm not sure how else we would get such sentiment out. Folks, no matter what ... neither words nor video will ever do a riding experience like this any justice.
So there I was, getting off the plane in Chiang Mai, Thailand, admittedly skeptical about just how great the riding ahead would be. With so many other incredible routes ridden through over 30 countries on 4 continents this past decade, I actually had very low expectations for how much fun and variety could be realized on a 5th. What I would soon find out, however, was that Thailand isn't only full of OUTSTANDING riding opportunities, but that the year-round possibilities for riding weather (albeit wet sometimes) would fit perfectly into our model of giving Riders plenty of opportunities to twist throttles even in their coldest months back home.
With our 8-year anniversary just a few days away and as you may have seen on our last eNewsletter, RIDE Adventures just announced that we’re starting operations in Asia, our 5th continent!
I snuck out a few blog posts back in April during the research trip in Thailand and Laos, as a few of our Customers and friends joined me for what was truly a trip full of surprises. (See the 1st post here, the 2nd one here, and the 3rdhere. What lies below is a summary of those trip updates.)
Surprises? To me, the guy that has spent most of the last 10 years riding adventure bikes through 25 countries on 4 other continents? Through places like the Skeleton Coast, the Namib Desert, the Alps, Andes, Rockies and Dolomites? Yes, Thailand and Laos still surprised me.
This past month of riding and exploring Thailand and Laos has felt like a gigantic riding experience, and none of us seem to believe that it only lasted month. Felt like a lifetime, with all the amazing discoveries we've made together.
As eluded to in the past couple of blog posts, I was somewhat skeptical about how good the riding could be in southeast Asia could be. Having been riding the Andes, Alps, Dolomites, and other pristine riding destinations for the last decade, and hearing the feedback of our Customers who have gone on to enjoy such jaw-dropping experiences made me wonder a bit just how much “incredible” was left out there. While I'm not going to tell you the scenery in Thailand or Laos is as dramatic as those other regions, the quality of riding ... the fun variety of mixed terrain we found here, is going to be tough to beat. With perhaps the fewest kilometers I've ever spent going straight on a bike, the Thai-Laos riding demanded an intense focus by each Rider, as it will yours if you come over for one of the riding packages we're going to be announcing soon. (That’s right, we’re going to do this!)
With sore cheeks sometimes from smiling so much within my helmet here in Thailand and Laos, oh what a trip this has been.
The last 10 years of covering the best routes in southern Africa, South America, and Europe admittedly had me a bit doubtful about what Asia might possibly have to offer. Yet here I am once again blown away by the fun that can be had on a motorcycle, in foreign lands where so many friendly people are part of making our Guided Group adventure ride feel so welcome. (Dermot and I with some Asian Water Buffalos in the background.)
“Twisties Galore” would be one way to describe what we did the first 5-6 riding days in Thailand, but as previously mentioned in my last post, there were some fun dashes through extremely remote dirt tracks as well. Through jungle-like foliage and the tiniest roadside villages, and back on to the pavement before climbing more challenging dirt backroads, the extreme variety factor in these routes cannot be understated.