Editor’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!