07 May 2019

Returning to my roots: motorcycles

Sea kayaking is no longer what it once was, for me.

I used to have a close-knit group of enthusiastic kayakers that was interested in challenging paddles, camping trips or advancing skills. The people and the activities wed did was the driving force for me to be on the water.
Between the major events I would also fill-in my desire to be outside with day paddles, often in calm waters. The Bay offers sheltered water were limited skills will still get you paddling.
Unfortunately the day paddles became all I would do as the skilled paddlers that once enjoy the surf have moved on; slowly sea kayaking lost its appeal to the point I would not paddle for months.
I am now no longer paddle-fit and I don't think I could go a long distance trip.

It also happened that my focus has shifted to the land.
Before sea kayaking for me there was backpacking (bushwalking off track) and adventures in the mountains. I need being in nature more than the physical activity itself. And prior to backpacking there used to be adventure motorcycle riding, before the word "adventure motorcycle" was even a thing.
I would load up my trail bike with light camping gear and head West, seeking dirt roads and forest tracks. At the end of the day we would find a secluded spot and camp. There was nobody else out there, we were it.

The passion for two wheels has now been rekindled. For the last year I have been riding a light road bike that I desire to actually take in the dirt. Call it a scrambler.
Australia is blessed with a lot of rural country that has a network of dirt roads, from logging tracks in the forest to unsealed roads in the grazing country.

And while I dream of being out in the open space in the West, I satisfy my needs for a ride closer to home, just outside the city. Sometimes a simple ride after work can give me the buzz I need.

Here is a collection of images taken by Petra Ries, edited into a slide-show.



  1. I understand what you say about sea kayaking. I used to paddle with a wider group, but it seemed to split, where some favor more protected waters and the others (a smaller group) prefer more challenging, open waters and building skills in surf, surf landings, etc. If I had kept paddling only with one group, I would probably have kept paddling, but felt a little frustrated. As it is, I will keep enjoying the wonderful ocean and inlets around where I live.

    I have had dalliances with cycling and motorcycling but had a damaging accident with the former & a potentially serious accident with the latter (lucky escape, or blessed?). I still enjoy both but I feel much safer on the water & the wildlife is non-human :)

    BTW, I've really enjoyed your videos & the kayak trip in the Dalmatians does seem like a marvelous dream.

  2. Hi Damiano, thanks so much for your kayak blog as gnarlydog.

    I started to paddle with a club near San Francisco about 4 years ago and really enjoyed reading your blog through the years.

    I progressed from a deconditioned unskilled paddler to one who can roll most of the time, enjoys a Greenland paddle, takes 20 mile trips in San Francisco Bay, and am now comfortable in wind/wave conditions that would have terrified me a year or two ago.

    I've got the parts assembled for an electric bilge pump thanks to your research, and am starting to look at Kayak #2 (a North Shore Atlantic RM is a candidate). 6' 2", 220#, big thighs, 63 years old, and less flexible, I have been paddling a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 175, a great boat, lots of body room, but it is very hard to turn, and so slow that I lag behind on most club paddles.

    However, I understand that times and conditions change, and our inner lives have their own ebbs and flows, like the tides.

    Enjoy communing with nature on two wheels while adventure motorcycling, but be happy that you were a great influence to myself and other aspiring sea kayakers who read your blog for information and inspiration.

    Best regards, Eric

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Once I am back in Australia I might hop in a kayak every so often: it is still fun, just not as captivating as it once was.

  3. Maybe you won't stay away from kayaks forever. It happened also to me (slipped disc... no chance to sit in a kayak longer than 20')... I drifted to my old love (ski, ski mountaneering), started enjoying bicycle but after a couple of years... I am now back! I restarted kayaking and dreaming about kayaks. Of course in the mean time, enjoy your bikes. I fully understand motorbike love, I still ride my very old BMW 60/7 which I bought when I was 19, now 54!

    1. never say never, but honestly sea kayaking has lost that appeal of adventure and camaraderie that once held for me; nobody around to do expeditions with.
      I still have a few kayaks, selling some but keeping at least one.

  4. Same here Mate, have enjoyed and learned from people like yourself and think of nothing but kayaks as boring as, whatever to non paddlers am 72 and seeing change as in the changing of the guard very depressing, boats are there 12 to be precise but the mates have changed. They don't seem to think in the same sphere , probably me, am making plans for a few long distance solo paddles paddles. Love the idea of going back to bikes, tiger 110, BSA M31 and the odd Norton here and there, just dreamin, but you not buddy, just go for it, as long as it takes.
    Many thanks

  5. Same thing happen to me, really lost the interest for kayaking (still have a few in my garage) but I bought an old BMW R1100GS 98 model. Love it and when I'm riding it I'm totally free. Also I have a velomobile that I use daily. Live in Norway.

  6. Geoff, I am sad to hear that injury took you away from the love for water but glad to hear that two wheels have replaced the lust for exploration.
    Since this post I have embarked on many trips mixing some dirt roads in up and down the East coast. The lure of camping in the bush is stronger than ever where there is pleasure in keeping it simple and light. I still have a couple of kayaks but I don't know what to do with them...

  7. Easy solution there, just give them to me :)


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