Less than a year ago, my husband told me that it was time to get my own motorcycle again. Through the years of traveling two up across Australia, New Zealand and Canada, we changed as travelers and as motorcyclists. Our focus moved away from destinations and more toward riding the roads less travelled. There were a lot more dirt roads in our future.
The BMW G650GS was my motorcycle of choice. It is perfect for a beginner, gives me confidence to touch the ground at stops, and the smooth power delivery is never overwhelming. I was a bit nervous to be honest, but I was 100% committed to making this work. My skills were dull, and my muscle memory was hazy at best. Starting slow would have been most prudent but I didn’t have the luxury of time as we had places to be and things to film. I rode just 60 kms before we headed from Kelowna, British Columbia down to Seattle WA to visit Touratech-USA and get our kit installed on the motorcycles.
Not long after our arrival to Seattle we did a bit of off-road riding, then headed south to Utah to film the Utah Back Country Discovery Route (UTBDR) with Touratech USA. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the fast paced team and settled to film from a Jeep for 10 days. With an increased eagerness to continue my training after the UTBDR, we built my confidence by picking graded gravel and dirt roads and running drills to relearn the skills I had lost. We toured Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho before heading down to Baja Mexico for a month to get a handle on some editing projects.
It wasn’t until we headed from Baja back up to California when I started to actively hone my skills as a rider. After a few experiences in tough deep sand that included lots of falls, I knew I needed outside help. With the tutoring of Gary LaPlante of Motoventures, I was able to identify some of my bad habits and work on the proper technique to improve my riding skills. Again, it was all a rush as we were planning a 1200 km off-road adventure of the So-Cal deserts in March. What better way to practice my new skills than by throwing myself into the deep end?
I survived the deserts of California in the end, and headed north again to Seattle. Shortly thereafter, an opportunity came up to head back to Utah, so we added another 8,000 kms to the score. After that, we rode back down to Baja to view the Baja500, one of the best off-road races in the world! When we headed north again things started to make more sense to me, with a better understanding of both on and off-road skills, it helped me apply to my overall technique making each subsequent kilometer more valuable to my riding than ever before.
As far as maintenance is concerned, the motorcycle has visited the shop a few times, a new chain and sprocket being the largest change, as well as fine tuning the engine, changing out the brake fluid as well as my aftermarket Konflict Motorsports front suspension. Other than that, the motorcycle has preformed beautifully, especially when you consider what I’ve done to it.
In June we began our motorcycle rally circuit. More off-road riding, more experience, more distance, and the time in the saddle was really paying off. There is much more in store for my little G650GS, and being less than a year old it is already a seasoned traveler. Admittedly, this is the most riding I have ever done on a single bike and it has done well, for my confidence and for my experience.
Here’s to another 30,000 kms.