Motorcyclists come in all shapes and sizes. From the weekend warrior to the daily commuter, there is a style and personality that fits everyone.
I used to think that the adventure-riding crowd were the real tough guys of the motorcycle world, but a recent ride may have changed that outlook. In fact, it got me thinking: are ADV riders really just masochists on two wheels?
Think about it, ADV riders go out of their way to find tough riding conditions on heavy, road-registered motorcycles, often braving conditions most of us would gladly hang our keys up rather than contend with. All this for the reward of saying “I’ve been there, and I've ridden that.”
The ride that made me wonder what is going on in the heads of ADV riders was the Moto Mapped 1 Big Day ride hosted out of Raglan. A 400-kilometre GPS navigation ride through public roads and private farmland all ridden, like the name says, in one big day. With a wild week of weather leading up to the event, many of those going knew it was going to be tough, yet they still showed up to the sold-out event.
I was one of those riders, however, but unlike the rugged individuals that are regulars for these events, I had no idea of what lay in store as I rocked up to the briefing the night before the event.
Now it is perhaps pertinent to note that the day prior to 1 Big Day the WRC Rally New Zealand had swept through the area. While much of the gravel had been swept off the roads, this left the road base extra slippery when combined with the pouring rain and added an extra layer of challenge to the already challenging ride.
I teamed up with a pair of riders on similar bikes to my own, Iain and Andrew, both on Honda’s new CRF300s. It was a wise move as the pace of some of the other riders was next level, especially when things got tough as we spun our wheels in the clay on the multiple farms Moto Mapped had unlocked for us.
The funny thing is despite just how shocking conditions were and after a full 11.5 hours riding in the beating rain, I’m hooked! While we lost one of our companions due to conditions proving too tough for his choice of tyre (his bowing out of the tough stuff was a wise move in retrospect), riding with Andrew on the remaining CRF300 proved a great choice and we supported each other (Andrew supporting me more than I, him) throughout the day and completed the challenging ride.
Sure, after countless falls into the dirt my bike is now held together with a few more zip ties than before, but I had an utter blast pushing my riding skills and my bike to the limit in the rain and mud.
From the outside looking in, adventure riders really do look to be the masochists of the motorcycling world, much like rugby players are also looked upon in the sporting world. But perhaps like rugby players, they know a bit of mud and rain just adds to the fun factor and it also shows who really is at the top of their game.
As I said, I’m hooked on this adventure riding thing, no matter how mental it looks to my friends and family. Call me a masochist, but this adventure-riding thing really does have something going for it.