Why The Risk Is Worth The Reward


When people learn of my travels, that my 1998 VFR800 has over 100,000 sport-touring miles and how I tour for multiple weeks camping off the bike, probing questions begin: Why do I do it?  Is it worth it?  Should they do it?

The why of motorcycle travel is intangible: if you have to ask why you will never understand the answer.  Yet, in an attempt to persuade those hesitant to begin their journey, this is why.

A motorcycle is both the “how” and the “why”.

Man’s function is not to survive but to live, to put life in our years, not add years to our life. The world belongs to those who regard their life loosely while holding their dreams tightly and at our passing, as our life plays out before our aged soul, we will contemplate a life fully explored or squandered in safety.

Very risky. Possibly stupid.

What bitter end the cancer of regret brings, gnawing at a life half-lived, half-loved.  Greater is the suffering of that regret than the pain of failure in unsuccessful attempt.  How horrible to be buried with our disappointment, lost chances and dead hopes.  Dreams are the bridge that span that chasm between who we are and who we want to be.

Maps make the room worth living in.

Therefore we should grasp the handlebars tightly and hold our life loosely for what good  is the lament we take to our coffin.  Buy a bike, gather gear and unfurl maps that reveal God’s country of vast deserts, high mountain passes, thick forests and rolling fields of wheat.

Then go.  Pack bottomless courage and leave.  Disappear beyond the horizon for the weekend, the week, the month or the season for no soul regrets a day spent on the motorcycle.

Forgo the urban vomit of fast food chains for the home baked pie, skip the hotel for the tent and have a compass heading instead of a destination for it is the nature of the motorcycle to make the pie taste better, the tent more luxurious and the far horizon inviting.  Find wonder in speed, seek beauty in the simple and marvel at nature.

Every corner reveals a new adventure.

The motorcycle magnifies these elements and all the rest, squeezing more life into one day than most reap in a year, a metal megaphone through which our soul screams our existence.  Few and rare are those willing to throw their body over the barely restrained chaos of combustion delicately balanced on two wheels with two fists and one heart.

Man was not meant for metal wheeled prisons.  Resist the cage and let slip the dreams of lands yet unexplored because on a motorcycle the journey is the adventure.

There is no time to waste.




    I think Travel and “Sight-Seeing” is fully in GOD’s Will… to SEE as much of HIS Creation as we can. If we stay in just one place, and do not see the Expanse of HIS Creation, we miss understanding the Scope of HIS Power.
    And I have to admit, I also physically and mentally enjoy the feelings of Power in my hands, as I ride a 475lb. motorcycle with close to 175 HP… of course, I only reach those “Maximums” on a closed Race Course… but it is an experience you can not explain to others… they must Experience It for themselves.
    And to the other part of your FaceBook question… “Who can I inspire to ride?”
    I am always talking to people, even total strangers, about how much I enjoy riding. And I meet New riders at area “Bike Nites”… and I invite them to ride with me, so I can show them some beautiful areas to ride, and to hopefully improve their riding skills, or to at least ‘re-enforce’ some of their skills …
    But mainly, I simply Encourage Others to at least “FEEL” the physical and mental experience of riding…
    It is kind of like Parachuting… all of the most detailed TELLING of the experience can never convey the feelings of DOING the first Jump!!

    • Ted Edwards


  2. Marco

    While I could quibble bout the details (it doesn’t matter where you sleep, but where you ride), this little article says what I feel, but better than I could write it. And when people ask, I never dismiss them either with the arrogant “if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.” I tell them, at as great a length as they’ll tolerate, why I/we ride. And some do understand, and some give it a try. And one of them, a guy who rode dirt bikes as a kid, bought a new Triumph and has been a participant in our last two fall week-long rides.

    • Rob Brooks

      We met many new and “moto curious” folks at the IMS Outdoors weekends this summer, and so many stated in some form or another, “I’ve wondered what my riding friends were talking about, and now I understand.” And we welcome them to the fold.

  3. Jeff

    Inspirational. Let’s ride!

    • Ted Edwards

      I would love to ride also but right now, winter has the upper hand.

  4. Ted Brisbine

    “squandered in safety” — “urban vomit” Sublime prose, again, Ted.

    “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.”
    Helen Keller

    • Rob Brooks

      This “Safety First” generation, more concerned about security than liberty, needs to read that Keller quote.


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