Opinion: Wanderlust

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Zac’s right that this just might be the best time of year to ride in Canada: we’ve got comfortable temperatures, empty roads and gorgeous fall scenery. But as every Canadian knows, fall is followed by winter, and for almost all of us, that’s the time to put away the bike, regroup, do some maintenance, and plan for the spring.

Some of us, though, have more ambitious plans. Jeremy Kroeker, for example, is heading south with his partner Elle West and telling us about it as he goes. They’re in Colombia right now and getting closer to the equator every day. It took a lot of planning but it seems to be paying off, and as I read his story this week and saw the photos of the two of them in the warmth, I couldn’t help but be envious of the adventure ahead of them.

Bikes wait to be loaded on the boat from Panama to Bolivia. If they can do it, so can you.

What got me was the title photo of the ship loaded with motorcycles. Jeremy and Elle are not alone in this; plenty of riders are heading south, living the dream. It doesn’t have to even be that ambitious. Now that we have the Internet for easy communication, there are motorcycles stored everywhere around the Globe by riders travelling for only a few weeks at a time. You or I can ride for a month through Mexico and Central America, then store the bike in a Colombian lock-up or at a shop for the next six or 12 months while we return home to our regular jobs, then fly back to Colombia when we’re ready to pick up the journey. We’ll make it as far as Lima, then store and repeat. We don’t have to take a year off, just a few weeks or months every year.

This was a lesson stated many times at the Horizons Unlimited meeting I attended earlier this summer: where there’s a will, there’s a way, and it’s never been simpler to make it happen. But we don’t. We put our bikes away and moan and feel envious of Jeremy and Elle and look forward to a week on the beach in Jamaica next March.

It can be a rough life when you’re on the road, but it does have its moments, as Elle and Jeremy have discovered. There’s a pair of bikes parked under this beach cottage, and Jeremy dropped his on the way out to the road, but it was all worth it.

Zac told us last week of ways to escape the winter on a motorcycle, and there are many. A friend of mine keeps a second bike in Los Angeles in his friend’s garage, and flies down several times each winter for long weekends of riding in the California heat. Another friend routinely rents a bike whenever he heads down to Florida and the Gulf coast, while my local dealership arranges for owners to truck their stored motorcycles down to Las Vegas for a week of riding in the desert. And there are organized tours that are usually expensive but organize everything; all you have to do is show up. It’s always riding season somewhere in the world. Like Jeremy and Elle, you can make it happen if you really want to.

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