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Monday, December 22, 2014

Adventure vs Dual Sport Riding

The last Christmas present has been wrapped and the last package posted. Now it's time to relax and reflect on the recent events. As I've mentioned before, I'll be presenting a seminar on adventure travel at the NETRA Expo. In the next few posts I'll be exploring some of the topics I'll be covering. This will have the dual purpose of clarifying my thoughts and sharing them with those of you who can't attend.

Adventure riding and dual sport riding are terms that are often interchanged. It doesn't help that the marketing wonks, having found a new market, enthusiastically embrace both terms in an effort to confuse the public into thinking that their products are suitable for every form of travel. They want to narrowly define the market for their new models as anyone who has seen a dirt road and has a wallet thick enough to support their delusions.

Here in New England dual sport riding is essentially an enduro without the timing and competition. Single track through the woods with 250-525cc bikes that have somehow become street legal, either from the factory or with a conversion kit. A KTM 350 EXC or a Kawi KDX 220 with a Baja kit are examples of this. There is usually a defined course with a route sheet to guide the way. There may be hero sections for the more skilled or foolish. It is generally a loop that starts and ends at a parking lot where the transport vehicles can stay while the riding is done.

If that is dual sport riding, I would define adventure travel as being much the opposite. The bike can be the same but the course is vastly different. The start and end points are generally far apart and the course is only generally described. It may be a combination of paved and dirt but is rarely single track. It is a trip rather than an event.

However, saying that does not mean that adventure travel is limited to cross-country or trans-global trips. It might mean no more than going out for a weekend and exploring local roads. This is the essence of adventure travel – Exploring!

Dual sport riding follows route sheets calibrated in 0.10 mile increments.
63.5 L DR
64.8 L DR
65.3 S DR
67.6 BL @ Y
The challenge is to follow the course without getting lost and to overcome all obstacles in the path. Roots, rocks, and mud are only some of the challenges along the way.

Adventure travel is more about the destination and finding an interesting way to get there. Getting lost is often a bonus because something new is discovered. You are riding along and see a road sign, Higgengottem Hollow. Ever wondered what a “Hollow” was? Turn off the path, ride down a dirt road, and an hour later you have a good idea. When you get to the end take any road from there and keep exploring. Eventually you will find your way back to main road and if you don't, stop and ask somebody. They will undoubtedly be happy to point the way and will probably tell you anything you want to know about the history and activities of the area.

Adventure traveling – Often misplaced, never lost.

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