Talking with The Full Ride: Part One

Fear is the number one obstacle to motorcycle adventure, and I’m sure you guys had a few before setting out. Can you name a few? What was the biggest one? Did any of them come true? Do any of them seem silly now?

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Brad head shotBrad

I felt, and was, very inexperienced. Especially for a trip of this scope. At the start of our journey I had less than 2,000 miles and two years under my belt. I was definitely scared on day one. With my bike packed, I could barely keep it upright.  Each mile grew easier and easier and the fears eventually melted away. It soon becomes second nature and you create a bond with your bike. You learn all its nuances and start trusting not only your bike but your own capabilities.

I think my biggest fear was that I would never get comfortable on a motorcycle but just like anything else if you do it enough you just get better at it. I basically launched myself into this huge, ridiculous adventure in an effort to overcome a number of fears, and not all necessarily related to riding …

I knew it would force me to grow exponentially as a person and it was something that I needed to do for myself. Thankfully I’ve been able to put that fear to rest. That’s instead been replaced with new unexpected ones – like being surrounded by a herd of bison in the middle of the road.

Avery StarkeyAvery

We had tons of obstacles before we left. The only thing I really feared was not actually leaving. Among the other obstacles— financial —how can we afford to do this!?

So we did what we thought we could to raise money. We started a GoFundMe.com campaign and committed to doing more than just going on “vacation.” We tried to formulate a way that we could share what we were doing with our supporters and hopefully get enough footage to actually make a documentary.

I don’t know how good of an idea that was in retrospect. At this point I feel like we set out to do the impossible on that front. To keep any sort of real-time update system is next to impossible, especially as we tried to have the most professional output as possible. Also, adding this commitment on top of the already rigorous schedule has brought us to a near-breaking point as friends.

Which brings me to my second fear. I didn’t really fear breakdowns or crashes or being eaten by a bear, as it seemed most others I spoke to about the trip did. I feared having my friendships with these two guys go up in flames. Worrying about being eaten by a bear seems very silly now. We haven’t even seen a grizzly bear.

tom head shotTom

I left for this trip very full of fear. For starters, I had to get a motorcycle license. I had no real riding experience prior to departure.

I managed to rack up about 2,000 miles on a 1984 Yamaha Seca. I got my ’84 Kawasaki about 6 months before the adventure. So riding 25,000 miles was scary enough on its own. I feared breaking down, crashing, dropping my bike, and being eaten by bears. So far, I’ve broken down plenty, crashed (low-side) three times, dropped the bike (U-turns) four times, and managed to not become food for the local wildlife.

Fearing death wasn’t as bad as fearing a serious injury and having to go through the rest of my life a completely different person. Having crashed at speeds of 20 mph, 30 mph, and 60 mph, I must say I’m very lucky and appreciative to be here writing this after 110 days on the road. At this point, I fear less and less and have become comfortable with many insecurities that at one point held me back. I’m careful, cautious, and try to be highly aware of what’s going on around me. In retrospect, I’m happy I feared as much as I did.

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