Miles to Memories

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January 21, 2013 | By: Jeff Maddox

Miles to MemoriesEditor’s Note:What appears below is a guest blog post from veteran biker Jeff Maddox, who regularly holds court over at the JMAdog blog.

I was recently asked how many miles I have on my ’02 Road King. After explaining that I just traded for it and because of that have only put about 7,000 miles on it since July, I got the usual “7,000 miles since July?” look. You’ve seen it too. It is the wide-eyed, mouth open, step back look. The follow up question to that is usually “how in the world do you ride that many miles in just a few months?”

For me it’s not hard; I like to ride, so the miles just come with it. I don’t think about it. I don’t worry about what is considered a lot of miles because to me it’s not about how far I’ve gone, but how every one of those miles made me feel. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who ride way more than I do, and I won’t take anything from them. They know how I feel about it. If it was simply about the distance traveled, then yes, the miles rack up.

I have a couple of friends with over 100,000 miles on their bikes. They don’t talk about it much, but when asked they’ll tell you. They don’t make a big deal of it and usually get a reaction similar to what I explained above each time. But for them and everyone else who rides, there is a small counter in the back of your helmet adding up the miles traveled. There is something to say about the miles traveled. Short trips or long, it doesn’t matter. Just like a clock that’s ticking, the miles continue to rack up.

The key to my strategy is to ride when I can and to plan those day(s), weekend(s) or week long trips and stick to the plan. Don’t make excuses when the time comes to ride. Make plans to to take the bike and not jump in the car when the day comes to leave. You’ll be so much happier riding instead of wondering half way there why you didn’t. Sure it takes effort, but in the end the trip will be a little more memorable. Who knows what might happen along the way, and that’s the whole point!

So, this year plan a few rides. Start out on a day off and go somewhere. Go outside the normal invisible boundaries you have placed around yourself. The next step would be to cross a state line for an overnight somewhere. My first state line crossing weekend was to the J&P Cycles Open House Rally in Anamosa, Iowa, a few years back. What a great weekend to get a few miles on the bike. After you have a weekend trip under your belt it’s time to head out to less familiar territory. Go someplace you’ve never been. See people you’ve never met before or better yet, have never met you. Make some memories. Take some pictures and share them with everyone who said you would never ride that crazy motorcycle!

Comments (11)

Jeff,

Reading this makes me wonder if you and I share a common brain. I bought my ’02 VTX in the fall of ’11 and in one years time I put on 20,000 miles, I didn’t even know I had done it until I stumbled across the title in my paperwork and did the quick math.

Like you when I told people I got that “look”. But also like you I didn’t do it to impress anyone, I just feel like if I am going somewhere why wouldn’t I ride? And if I am riding why would I want to go the short way?

-John

I rode a bit when I was younger and didn’t know much about taking care of my equipment. When it crapped out on me, my fault, I took a break. After a 17 year break, due to raising kids, I got back into bikes. My first one was a POS that I bought strictly to keep me busy during some legal stuff. It didn’t run when I bought it but did after a year of rebuilding. I put 30K miles on it before the balancer bushings died. The next bike, a 2007 Kaw Vulcan 1500 Classic, I bought new and put 104,000 miles on it so far! The newest biike, a 2012 Kaw Vulcan 1700 Voyager, I bought new at the beginning of December 2012, I just tripped it over 5000 miles.

I love riding and hope to put a bunch more miles on it!

Have to agree. I started riding again a few years back after many years without a bike. Did a lot of local stuff then did a solo ride from home in NY to Tennessee. NOTHING like it. Done a lot of road trips with a buddy and have a few more planned for this year…keep the miles racking up.
The bike is also my summer wheels. If I can get where I’m going dry, I take the bike. If I get wet on the way home–oh, well; I get home wet. Lots of miles that way too.
Life’s too short not to have a ride!

I agree guys. My western trip was about doing something I dreamed of for years. Never thought about the miles until someone asked when I got back. Yeah, screw the miles, I want to go again, now!!!

Great article Jeff! I’ve only been able to rack up 70K on my ’06 heritage (bought in ’09 with 4K on it) but like Jeff, it ain’t about the miles, it’s about building riding memories and the awesome enjoyment of getting in the saddle that matters most to me. Screw the miles! This past year was very lean (mileage wise) for me due to life getting in the way, but I hope to punch out a bunch of enjoyment throughout 2013 starting with bike week in Daytona this March! “Life behind bars” (the better way).

Thanks Bubba!

After about 26 years between rides. I bought a new H-D and rode 15000 miles the first year I had it. I live in colo so some of them miles were pretty cold. After 26 years I had a really hugh jones goen on. If you got it ride it.

Hey Jeff!
I’ve worn out 3 bikes, working on the 4th. Sept ’12 into Oct, Central Ky to Las Vegas via Pikes Peak, Denver, Grand Canyon, several stops in New Mexico and central Texas, 17 days, 5100 miles, all on a
’99 Valkyrie Interstate, pulling a small trailer, not riding on it! I love road trips when I can!!

Awesome Doug! Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime!

That is awesome Ray!

I have had three different bikes that i have put over 150,000 on two goldwings and a present a 1996 H-D dyna

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