Talking with The Full Ride, Part Two

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Yesterday, we introduced you to Avery, Tom and Brad, the men behind The Full Ride, an ambitious 25,000-mile ride around North America. These adventurers are aboard bikes that certainly don’t fit into the adventure bike mold — Tom is on a Kawasaki ZN1100, Avery’s riding a Honda Shadow, and Brad rides a vintage Guzzi with auto transmission.

But their lack of long-travel suspension and aluminum panniers hasn’t kept them down. They’re bombing around North America on these crusty old cruisers, experiencing a life that many riders on more competent bikes only dream of. Read on!

Your bikes are an interesting mix of Euro and Japanese cruisers, certainly not the recommended rides for this sort of a trip – especially considering their age. Now that you’ve been on the road for weeks, how do you feel about your choices? Are there times you’ve wished for “real” adventure bikes?

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tom head shotTom

If there is one thing that has helped attract help, it’s the fact that we’re on older bikes …

The only reason I’d ever get an adventure bike would be to better handle the off-road sections of our trip – or any future trip. But after 17,000 miles, why spend the $20K on something that’s so expensive that I’d only feel reluctant to abuse. I’m happy to take a beating on a bike that was manufactured the same year I was. All in all I am happy with my selection. After all, it’s what I have. I’ve learned to make do. I feel that it’s a part of the riders job. Adjust, bend, think outside the cage.

Avery StarkeyAvery

At points when I was very wet, and my spare clothes were wet or we were blasting down the “Campbell highway” that I did wish I had a “real” adventure bike with “real” panniers and “real” dirt tires. However, I must say that the rabble that we chose to ride has brought a lot of great people into our experience.

We stick out, and it is almost always positive attention we are met with. We break down a lot, so it’s a nice ice breaker, albeit an unintended one. We had next to no money for prep work and bike choice, so it was a matter of what we could afford and make work.

Brad head shotBrad

My rear shocks are completely blown out, and I have a linked breaking system and only two gears to work with. One of my air filters was held together with a rag, a rubber band, super glue, and the plastic cap off a can of butane. I was running on tube-type tires without tubes in them while the bike requires tubeless.

But I’m up there giving it my all, among all these other bikes a hundred times more capable than mine. No one can take that accomplishment away from me – I earned it and looking back I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

… I also wouldn’t do it again.

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