Many motorcycle-related web sites have moto-photos.
Here is show some different perspectives on how people tour by motorcycle.
Except for my bikes and those of a few good friends, I'm going to try to
go "off the rails" and show you what, to me, are interesting approaches
to touring by motorcycle and places to visit. If you have any similar
photos, please send them to me for review. Original art work
is also welcome here.
I hope to show you some interesting approaches to motorcycle touring, some riders and their companions you don't normally see cruising your neighborhood, and some sights you might encounter on the road. All the photos have a brief description on the photo; click on the pictures here to see a larger copy. All have been scanned for viruses before uploading.
My bikes have been used for commuting, as well as for touring.
Only the touring bikes are shown here, beginning with my 1981 Suzuki GS550L.
To the stock machine I added a Vetter Quicksilver fairing (remember those?),
plus plastic saddle bags and a trunk (not shown). Operating from
Denton (and later, Killeen) Texas, I rode that bad boy to 43,000 miles
in five years JUST IN TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA! In January, 1985, I bought
an '84 GL1200A Honda Aspencade Gold Wing. Beginning with just a tube
tent and bag, I ultimately moved to a Kompact Kamp tent trailer, then to
a Westdan Roadster trailer (made in Canada). Friends called it a
"'lumber wagon"'. That's a dresser/cabinet on the tongue! When set
up, there is enough room inside to make three rooms - a sitting room,
a changing area, and a sleeping area! There was enough room in the
sitting area to park the GL1200 plus several people! I finally sold
the trailer when I realized the three accidents I'd had were jackknifes
caused by that way too heavy trailer.
I tried to adapt a 1986 CMX450 Honda Rebel to motorcycle touring, but the small size and the cruiser configuration didn't work with my 250lb + body. Too hard to handle in the twisties, and nothing to store stuff in, except that Nelson-Rigg tailpack. The Rebel is gone, but I still get good use from the tailpack.
The GL1200A was a great bike. Customized with 'touring gadgets' like a CB, drink holder, 'functional chrome', modulating headlight, Rifle fairing, Corbin Master saddle, etc. Ultimately put 115,000 miles on it, between 1985 and 1993, visiting every state except New Jersey (don't ask). At a rally in Texas, a pin-striper put a painting of the Alamo (a Texas shrine/monument) on the bike, hence its name, the "Alamo Wing". In 1991, I began to lust after the 1990 GL1500SE, a white six cylinder beast. I bought "Moby Bike, the Great White Wing" (top of this page) and began to ride the Hell out of that bike.
In 1995, while undergoing the fifth or six iteration of "middle-aged crazy", I bought a 1995 Honda PC800 (Pacific Coast). Mainly used for commuting in the metro D.C. area, "LaToya" (she's black, she has a spreading rear end, faux leather and chrome, and an attitude) is also a blast to run. The cavernous bags are very useful when commuting.
I've found that the people I've ridden with over the years take an
innovative approach to building their 'touring rig', based on personal
tastes, finances, and so forth. You might find their approaches interesting;
you clearly do not need a luxo-touring rig and trailer to enjoy motorcycle
touring. Some riders approach touring by loading a ton of stuff on
their bike. See my buddies' bikes. Dillon (top left image) made a
trailer hitch for his Kawasaki Concours, and hauls a ton of stuff in the
Bushtec trailer and strapped to his bike.
Kim Novak (her real name; top center image) on her Harley is another good example of how riders approach touring. This former Navy Petty Officer, renowned in the Mid-Atlantic for her tattoos, her pet boa constrictor 'co-rider', and her spectacular "Dance of the Fire Maiden" at campouts, is one of many women who push out alone, on a loaded-down bike, and spend days, weeks on the road.
At the other extreme, Jimmy (top right)is a Harley driver to whom image is everything. Doesn't own a rainsuit 'cause it doesn't look cool. Used to wear two silver spurs, but the right one scratched his chrome, so he's down to one. Spent hours strategically placing holes in his denim jacket, so it had the right look.
Debi G. (bottom left) and her Yamaha 1000, ready to go camping in the mid-Atlantic! Debi is another member of the International Brotherhood of M/C Campers. Her new passion, though, is helping her dad sell antiques 'n stuff at e-bay.com ("Booth72@penn.com"). Beside her is our mutual friend, Jim Wilson, also in the IBMC, with his new BMW R1100RT, also loaded to the gills after a few days at Promised Land State Park in NE Pennsylvania. Jim works for a Navy "think tank" and is often "at sea" with the Atlantic Fleet, helping them work smarter. The last photo is Frank "Jersey Dog" Altamura's bike, rigged for sport touring. Check out his home page - see my links page for his URL.
When you DO get out and tour, you'll see some interesting touring
machines and sites on the highway. I'll get the ball rolling with
these bikes and sites. Notice that motorcycle touring isn't just
a "white guy" thing (probably never was), but is open to anyone with the
desire (and cash) to do it. Even being disabled isn't a problem;
the first photo is of John Brown (who passed away on 4 June 1997 in Winter,
Texas, at 77 years old), used to show up at many rallies. He had
a Gold Wing GL1000S or "Standard" (like the modern Valkyrie, no bags, fairings,
etc.). He had a platform put on the right side; control waldoes extended
onto the platform, and when he went riding, he rolled his wheelchair onto
the platform, anchored it, and hit the road. Carried camping gear
and joined his brothers and sisters in the Texas Motorcycle Riders Assn
and the Christian M/C Assn. at campgrounds and rallies around the state.
Good to have had the chance of meeting you, John! Vaja con Dios!
"Thundarr" (2d photo; not his real name) isn't exactly on a touring bike; he's a member of the American National Unimotorcyclist Society (A.N.U.S.). They basically have drag races between one-wheeled motorcycles. While you MUST have a "dead man" switch on your bike (so the motor stops if you 'step off' the bike), steering and brakes are optional. Basically, you rev the motor and run like a raped dog for a 100 feet; fastest bike wins. When you want to stop, decelerate and let the front end 'snowplow' you to a stop. "Thundarr" is on a nitrous-oxide fueled Harley.
Malcolm Forbes' "Hot Air Harley" was seen sometimes at motorcycle rallies. This one was taken around 1988 at the Country Waye campground (biker-friendly folk), Luray, Virginia, at the Virginia Motorcycle Assn. annual rally.
No set of my photos would be complete without "Shotgun". This guy (last photo) toured in Texas in the mid-80s, was a regular at rallies around the state. His name?: well, when he rode in his trailer, behind the bike, back in Texas we said he rode . . .
Check back later for more photos - I'm goin' ridin'!
If you have photos or artwork that tell us something special about the world of motorcycle touring, please send it (or your comments or suggestions about what I have so far) to me.
Last updated on 4 May 2000.
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