From a Harley road rider to finding my true passion for adventure off-road riding on a BMW R1200GS

It’s never too late to start riding

My motorcycle story starts later in life than many. Growing up, my weekends and after-school hours were filled with outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, kayaking, skateboarding, and cycling. My parents instilled in me a love of all things outdoors, which I will be forever grateful for.

Motorcycles caught my eye when I was quite young. The sound of the engine revving down the street, the wide smiles worn by every rider (ever), and, let’s be honest, it was just cool as heck. Everything about it appealed to me.

But a motorcycle culture was not a part of my upbringing. No one in my family rode, so I would settle for the occasional opportunity to sit on my friend’s bike and dream.

Stealing a moment on a friend’s bike back in the ’70s

My desire to spend time on 2-wheels would not be suppressed, though. As I got older, mountain biking on single-track and tree-lined trails filled the need. My then-girlfriend (now wife) also rode, and we enjoyed countless hours on two motorless wheels.

Every chance I got to borrow a motorcycle from family or friends was one I eagerly took. But with no formal training, my self-taught approach was to apply my mountain biking techniques to motorcycle riding.

Fortunately, it all worked out, and the generosity of all those brave enough to lend me their wheels helped to confirm what I already knew … I needed a motorcycle!

My first motorcycle

In 2006, a Harley Davidson Streetglide was my first bike. I was in my late 30s at the time and felt very comfortable on this tourer. It was a great bike that brought me & my wife (as pillion) on many adventures through multiple countries for 6 years.

2006 Harley Davidson Streetglide

The Harley community is fantastic, with many organized events and general comradery. As much as I loved riding the Streetglide, there was still something missing…

Our first ADV motorcycle experience

A motorcycle touring holiday to Morocco was the riding experience that expanded my passion for riding into adventure off-roading.

Yes, that’s right … We are wearing Harley gear on a GS

This particular tour was about 80% on-road through southern Spain & Morocco. We traversed the beautiful Atlas Mountains with the BMW carrying us with ease and comfort.

As we continued east, the land leveled out, and we soon found ourselves surrounded by sand. The tour guy explained that our campsite was out in the desert, so it was time to leave the pavement!

To say that the first sand ride was memorable would be an understatement. We rode, we tipped over, we got up again, and we kept going. It was not an easy first sand experience, but I loved it and vowed to figure out how to do it well.

Morocco was amazing, and the BMW GS bike won my heart with its versatility and proficiency on any terrain. I was hooked!

Cones practice improves every aspect of my riding
This is how we spend our weekends