Our sport of choice offers a broad expanse of avenues for amazing experiences. Here are New Year’s Bucket List Ideas for motorcyclists.
Background photo by Out.of.Focus
Every year we make resolutions for our finances or our food intake, and add a few seemingly impossible healthy habits for good measure. But what about resolutions that feed your motorcycling habit? The good news is that our sport of choice offers a broad expanse of avenues for amazing experiences and a lot of satisfaction. Some ideas are pie in the sky and others are very attainable. Here is a list with a little bit of both.
Photo by Steve
1) Continually Improve Your Technique
Find your limits and the limits of your bike safely with experienced feedback from professionals. For as little as $300, you can get yourself into a weekend riding school track day like 2-Fast and Corner Speed. Everything learned will not only assist you on the track but will also translate well to skills and habits that can improve your daily street riding. Consider taking a course from the MSF, whether it be the Basic Rider Course, Advanced Rider Course, Street Rider Course or the DirtBike School. Keeping a firm grasp on the fundamentals can be just as important as learning the advanced techniques. You can also buy books, watch videos, and practice to keep your skills sharp.
2) Take An Epic Endurance Trip
Choose from the multitude of insane endurance rides and start planning for next year. Attempt the Bun Burner Gold 3000 Iron Butt trip, which clocks in at two consecutive 1500 mile rides in 48 hours. Experience the four corners of the United States in 7000 miles over 21 days with the USA Four Corners Tour. Feeling something more off-road oriented? Gear up for the brutal Trans-America Trail (AKA: the “TAT”), a massive 5000 mile dual sport ride across America using a mix of dirt and gravel roads, jeep roads, forest roads, farm roads, dried-up creek beds, and more. Use that vacation time you work so hard for on something you’ll never forget.
Photo by Ezequiel
3) Prepare To Become a Full Time, Year Round Motorcyclist
Take 2014 and make it an opportunity to push your comfort boundaries a little farther. Take a ride in the rain. Wait until it’s the coldest you think you can stand and have a frigid little excursion. Buy the right gear, prepare the right mindset and outfit your bike with the right equipment. Start enjoying your bike in every season and every flavor of weather. Transform your commute into something you look forward to every morning. Tease out every last little nugget of awesome you can find on every ride, no matter the weather.
Photo by Tom Reynolds
4) Join a Charity Ride Or Create Your Own
Mark your calendar and get on board with a local charity ride in your city. A huge variety of charity rides exist that spans from veteran and armed forces support to health issue causes to annual toy drives. Pick one to help out and meet like-minded motorcyclists or take it a step further and create your own for a specific cause or organization. If massive group rides aren’t your thing, donate financially to a great cause like Riders For Health.
Photo by cdamian
5) Attempt The Ultimate Challenge Of Your Packing Ability
(Also known as MotoCamping)
Some people see camping as an exercise in needless difficulty. If you happen to be one of these people, I don’t recommend motorcycle camping. Packing for the trip alone makes regular camping easy by comparison. Motocamping in the mountains pairs the calming simplicity of camping with the adrenaline-fueled kineticism of sport riding. Once you get trip packing sorted, prepare for an extraordinarily rugged experience that provides a concentration of all the basic needs of life: Simple food, good rest, and daylight devoted solely to help you kiss the next corner apex perfectly.
Photo by Chris Betcher
6) Bring Someone Into The Fold
Do you have a friend whose been curious about motorcycling but still has reservations? Do you know someone who is willing to buy a motorcycle but is overwhelmed with the knowledge required? Help them out. Encourage an introductory class in rider education. Buy them books on riding. Let them know how gear is rated, how it works and how it should fit. Explain how easy maintenance can be with a service manual and a few tools. Provide wisdom and a second pair of eyes when they check out used bikes or keep them from getting fleeced at the dealership. Encourage curiosity in our favorite hobby and enjoy the chance to introduce them to a different world of travel.
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Photo by Graham
7) Take a Serious Trip
Look at number two on the list again and push it into overdrive. Enjoy the amazing roads Canada and Mexico have to offer. Take a few months off and attempt the Pan-American Highway, a 30,000-mile road trip that starts in Alaska and ends in the most southern point of Argentina. The road is briefly interrupted by about 100 miles of rainforest, so consider a bike from the dual sport end of the spectrum. Or, choose a country in Europe, rent a bike and start riding. Recreate the journey seen in Long Way Round and Long Way Down. Go absolutely nuts.
8) Wrench and Learn
Unless you enjoy giving your dealership money for services rendered that you could do yourself, consider the following. Buy the service manual and become a member on an online forum about your bike of choice. With a few tools that you most likely already have in your house, you can perform basic maintenance procedures with the satisfaction that experience and a job well done can bring. Plus, you get the added bonus of saving some money to boot. Get a project bike on your bucket list and figure it out as you go.
Photo by Jean-Pierre
9) Experience The Unfamiliar
I have the problem of limiting myself to one specific type of bike whenever I make a new purchase (sport nakeds). Other motorcyclists have the same preferences, and like me prefer the familiar. So instead of keeping with the safe and familiar, let’s try something completely different this year. Try to ride the opposite of what you normally prefer. Take a test ride at a dealership or a riding event, borrow a friend’s bike or take a class. Expand your horizons by getting on a dirt bike, cruiser, sportbike, dual sport, sidecar, or anything that lets you sense how those other little slices of motorcycle life feel.
Photo by Joe Tordiff
10) Seek Out The Best Day Trip
Very few of us have the means to head to Argentina and back, whether it be limited funds, short on time, or avoiding capture by rebel insurrectionists in Colombia. This year you can make the most out of however much you can pack into one great day trip. Study the maps for nearby counties and source some good road info from the Internet and local message boards. Get in touch with neighborhood riding groups to find riding partners and knowledge of the nearby curvy roads and sweepers. Find new scenic spots and meet new people. Mix some hobbies together and try riding and hiking, or riding and surfing. Make it your goal to create a riding day trip packed with opportunities for memorable experiences.
What’s on your 2014 bucket list?