Sunday, March 16, 2014

define: minimalist motorcycle touring

Google that and you'll get a lot different opinions, some very passionate ones. For me it is all about having only what I really need to tour comfortably on a motorcycle, starting with the motorcycle itself. So before I get into it, let me start by defining what sort of touring I'm doing. I plan on touring entirely off the the interstate, highways if I must, with my preferred roads being the backroads. I've done a few cross country/interstate rides, and they were fun but I feel I missed a lot. Starting with my back yard (San Diego County) I plan on seeing the places I never knew existed on road and off, and if I have time will venture further away to Arizona and beyond as I get more accustomed to this way of travel.

Why on earth you may ask? Well, a large part of the 'why' for me stems from being able to be comfortable with my motorcycle fully loaded off the beaten path. I need to be able to pick it up by myself, and if I do have a spill need to have the least amount of motorcycle landing on top of me should it come to that. There isn't a way to achieve this with a machine that will cruise at interstate speeds, so an interstate capable bike is off the menu. So far my 1996 Suzuki DR350 works for me, does just what I need it to and no more, no less.

I thought of doing this solo but either my wife and/or daughter are always eager to go with, so unfortunately for them they get to partake of my crazy minimalist experiment. We have car camped and motorcycle camped before, but never with such small motorcycles or such limited gear. To date we have done 10 or so nights of minimalist motocycle camping and have gotten the gear, food, maintenance thing down pretty good. We have 11 liter saddle bags and a dry bag strapped to a rear rack to carry everything we use; tent, sleeping bag/pad, tools, spares, and food. This isn't much room at all trust me, but if you can stand wearing the same clothes for a couple of days it is doable.

Since any touring like this involves getting gas, we plan on sourcing food, water, supplies, laundry/clean clothes, and other things as we travel rather than carry extra stuff. We haven't done a multi-day ride yet so we shall see how this works out.



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