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peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Retro-Bike'n ?? on 10/10/2013 07:04:49 MDT Print View

are we retro there, with what appears to be a drum brake Honda 350 ?
that is very cool. perhaps not really the finest machine ever conceived of all time, but still, extremely cool.

bike camping is wonderful. you see them all summer up north, they make their way to Inuvik in singles and pairs. somewhere in the archives i have a picture from inuvik of an Italian 350 V-twin. what's that make it, a Motobecane or such ?? can't recall, but it leaked itself to a mess and was running on one hole. just about what one would expect of touring on so "unique" a rig.

some folks may never understand what it is about motorcycles, and touring on one, that is so special and glorious. i don't know .. maybe they were neutered at birth. ( ... much like that 350 Honda).

tally Ho !
v.

Peter Treiber
(peterbt) - M

Locale: A^2
Ol'-Honda-Lovin' Ultralighters on 10/10/2013 14:52:31 MDT Print View

Yep, that's a '69 CB350 -- no disc brakes there! I figured if I couldn't afford a high-performance bike, I'd at least get one I enjoy looking at!

Daniel Paladino
(dtpaladino) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Really? on 10/20/2013 19:00:21 MDT Print View

"Cars can get the same mileage or better than a fully laden motorcycle at times. I've taken my motorcycle to the trailheads before. Cars are easier to deal with. Any road open to vehicular traffic, can be driven. I've had my Civic on 4wd only roads with no ill effect."

Ken, I hope you realize how ridiculous your argument is here. A dirt bike allows you to easily access terrain that presents a serious challenge to even the most capable of 4x4s and off road vehicles. Often, on extremely rough roads open to vehicular traffic, the vehicle required to negotiate the terrain must be a massive powerful lifted beast with huge tires. These vehicles often get horrible gas mileage and in general tear up the terrain they travel through. Most fuel efficient front wheel drive vehicles with less than 5 inches of ground clearance, like your legendary Civic, are EXTREMELY limited to the dirt/unimproved roads they can access. And I'm sorry, there is no way that a motorcyclist with a lightweight pack is going to be getting worse gas mileage than a vehicle when navigating such difficult terrain.

Moto-backpacking sounds like an awesome way to reach remote, difficult to access places, and allows a LW backpacker to spend a minimal amount of time walking on access roads, and thus more time on the trail.

I appreciate this article immensely, and can admit I often feel a tinge of guilt accessing trails in my inefficient truck, especially when my purpose is to enjoy the outdoors in minimalist style. Thanks Eric and Jeremy!

Edited by dtpaladino on 10/20/2013 19:10:24 MDT.

Adam Klagsbrun
(klags) - MLife

Locale: Northeast US
Why the negative attitudes? on 10/25/2013 13:45:07 MDT Print View

@ John S & USA Duane - I hate to see all this negative attitude towards motorcycles here. I for one was extremely excited to read an article with this topic. Not every article is about what you, personally, want to read about. We aren't all the same, even though we all share a love of light weight/minimalist travel. Instead of being negative and making nasty statements about motorcycles and the people who ride them not belonging in "your" magazine, etc, you should be reading and maybe enjoying the article. Some people like motorized vehicles. Some of us also like lightweight backpacking. Jeeze, what a thought? Maybe we prefer the high MPG of riding bikes. Maybe some of us just aren't into cars or bicycles. Maybe we like them all. You don't know, do you? What the rest of us reading the forums can see though, is that you are haters. And haters lose. Congratulations on expressing your cute opinion without adding anything to the thread. Thank you for assuming that people who ride are tearing up trails that are somehow there for you, to just appear to be exactly what you want them to be, not what they are - trails and roads that are there for everyone to share however we please. Don't make assumptions and if you don't have anything positive or nice to say, at least have something intelligent to say instead. As a lightweight backpacker who also rides on two wheels I would like to say that it would be nice to see more trip reports about moto-backpacking.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Moto-Backpacking on 10/25/2013 19:16:58 MDT Print View

So anyone with a dissenting attitude is labeled a hater. Seriously?

I said I've done it and had a good time. I've also owned a lifted, powerful 4x4. My KLR 650 with hard luggage got mileage in the 40s. My Civic gets 35 with two people plus gear riding in air conditioned or heated comfort. In my experience of driving all over southern CA's deserts is this. If the road is so bad that only motorcycles can have access the road is usually closed off. Note I said usually. If we are talking about taking your ride to trailheads only like this article, and we are. Then the roads are usually open and 4wd might be recommended , but not really needed. Even with 4wd capability I had with my IH Scout, I only engaged fwd a handful of times. I believe I was the last vehicle to go up the Anza ridge in Borrego before it was shut down to vehicles. I would not think a motorcycle would have a easier time jumping up the steps on that route any easier than in a 4x4.

My point is that a car is easier to deal with. Not going to be picked up and put into a truck and carted off like some friends bikes have been. Half a U lock at the trailhead is not going to get you home.

So trip reports about moto-backpacking should be awfully similar to any other trip. Just using a two wheeled ride to the trailhead. The time on the ground is the same.

It just seemed weird to read this here. If I read it in Motorcyclist Magazine, not so much.

This online magazine is about self powered trips in the backcountry. Not on our choice of rides to get there.

And why does the author called it a sport?

Lighten up. They're just opinions. Harmless. Go for a ride and cool off.

"Often, on extremely rough roads open to vehicular traffic" Can you give me an example of one of these roads that leads to a trailhead?

Edited by kthompson on 10/25/2013 19:24:59 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: hybrid/alternative travel on 10/25/2013 22:07:51 MDT Print View

We have been living well with one vehicle and I have considered getting a scooter or motorcycle to get to trailheads so I don't tie the car up. I've assumed that I would chain it up at a trailhead to thwart thieves, but there is still the possibility of vandalism. That is a possibility with cars too.

That aside, I have done some research on taking buses to trailheads. In Washington state, AMTRAK provides bus service to some of the mountain pass summits that are also crossing points for the PCT. There are some other local mass transit bus options too.

Some bus options allow using a bicycle as well. That opens up riding a bike to a trailhead. It should be easy enough to stash a bike in the brush and cable or chain it to a tree.

The other hybrid travel option is built around a number of roads that have been closed to vehicle traffic due to flood damage. Most can be accessed with a bike, reducing hours of walking to the original trailheads to fractions of an hour by bike.

I've had a pet progeny in mind for years involving a ski and hiking train loop through the Cascades. This is something that has been done in Europe for decades. A light rail system paralleling the major highways could link the major ski slopes in the winter and drop hikers off at trailheads in the summer. I would expect that all kinds of service industries would develop around the transpotaton hubs.

The core concept is that we are still stuck in a frontier/pioneer frame of mind when it comes to backcountry access. We are living on another planet now and it's time to rethink these things. Of course it inclines so much more, like urban planning, suburban sprawl and more.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: backcountry access. on 10/25/2013 22:16:29 MDT Print View

Another thing to consider is that States vary in land management practices. Only reasonable. Montana has a population just over 1 million. Utah 2.8 million, Nevada almost 2.8 million, Idaho 1.6 million. California has 38 million. Just some facts for thought.

So I'm not surprised that we look at things differently.


Over 1.6 million miles of unpaved roads (53 percent of all roads) are unpaved. Many of these roads will remain unpaved due to very low traffic volume and/or lack of funds to adequately improve the subgrade and base before applying pavement layer(s). In some countries, economic constraints mean gravel roads are the only type that can be provided.

Dirt and gravel roads represent a very small percentage of roadways maintained by state DOTs in almost all cases; counties and federal agencies manage the large majority of the dirt and gravel roads in the United States. Nevertheless, a few state DOTs have become very involved in managing dirt and gravel roads and have developed environmental stewardship practices and partnerships that may be useful for other state DOTs.

Ian Clark
(chindits) - MLife

Locale: Cntrl ROMO
nothing new on 11/20/2013 19:32:23 MST Print View

I used my DRZ400 all summer to access areas near the Weminuche that were closed to the road bound crowd due to several wild land fires in the area. It was a great way to get to an area that was off limits to most.

I'm not really ever bothered by dirtbikes when I'm out walking or backpacking, as I am only on trails a short time and moving cross country most of the time. I do find irony in the amount of work the local MTB crowd does to clear trails of rocks, trees, and roots in the name of trail maintenance while simultaneously ruining a good challenging trail for dirt bikers.

Doug Smith
(Jedi5150) - F - M

Locale: Central CA
moto-camping on 12/25/2013 01:21:38 MST Print View

Motorcycle touring/ camping is probably my favorite hobby, bar none. IN the past few years I have also added backpacking to my list of hobbies. I enjoyed the article, and agree that they share many similarities.

That said, I just don't care to combine the two. I agree with what Ken (I think it was), said, after a backpacking trip where I'm hot/ cold/ tired/ sore (if it was a good trip :-)...a "cage" like my Tacoma is far more pleasant to relax in for the drive home. I do love to explore on my motorcycles, even forest service roads, etc. I have owned a number of dual-sport bikes, including the F800GS shown in the article. My current bikes are the R1200GS and R1200R. I just love the big boxer engine on the highways and twisties. But even though I ride dual-sports, I'm honest enough to admit that taking my 500lb pig "off-roading" is not what I'd call easy, and I rarely ride on roads that a Honda Civic couldn't negotiate with a few paint scratches or slides on the skidpan.

When I go backpacking one of the huge draws for me is exactly what motorcycle's can't do. I LOVE the feeling that I am in an area that vehicles can't get to...not because they are't allowed, but because they are too remote/ steep. I also worry about my bike at the trailhead. When moto-camping that is not a concern, because I'm sleeping next to it. Finally, I like to backpack with my dog, and she doesn't fit on the bike (here come the side-car suggestions lol).

So in a nutshell, I love both hobbies, but try not to combine them. But I have to agree wholeheartedly with oneof the main points of the article. For pure relaxation of mind and being at peace, there is nothing on earth like a solo motorcycle ride. The views, smells, wind, temperatures, and at times slight adrenalin dumps are just awesome for the mind and soul. Backacking gives a good feeling of serenity with that nice healthy tired feeling. Motorcycling takes it a step further and adds pure relaxation.

Me on my beast at OX 2013: (Photo by Kali)
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Edited by Jedi5150 on 12/25/2013 02:34:52 MST.