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What Motivates You to Go on a Long Motorcycle Trip?

By Walter F. Kern

I received the following email from someone attempting to do some research on how to attract motorcyclists to travel to Northern Ontario, Canada. Of course, this person is in business and is trying to help a client. However, it got me thinking about just how do riders make decisions on what trips they'll make. In addition to emailing the person back, I'm posting my response here for everyone to read. Your answer may be different, and I expect that to be the case.


    "Good morning. You have a great site -- very informative and well written. I am doing a study of the potential to attract an increased number of motorcycle tourists to Northern Ontario and am trying to determine what motivates travel. Is it word of mouth, web sites, magazines, guide books -- or a combination of these and more? Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated."

My Response:

I can only speak from experience and from what I've seen other riders do over the years. My first long trip was in 1993 from NJ to WY. My wife and I went on separate motorcycles along with a two-up couple and one other rider. It was a total of five people on four bikes. The idea came from a chance meeting of my Polar Bear Grand Tour in Lewes, DE. A bunch of us were sitting around in a restaurant talking about riding. I mentioned that we had already gone to a Rider Magazine sponsored rally in northern NJ. Someone mentioned that Rider was also putting on a rally in Cody, WY the next year. Several people said they had experience taking long cross-country motorcycle trips and would be willing to lead the group. I had no such experience and welcomed the idea of going with someone who did. Turns out that this trip coincided with the Sturgis Rally and we ended up going there also. Here's my article about that trip.

Another trip we took was motivated by an article I read in a motorcycle magazine. The writer had gone to Nova Scotia on a motorcycle guided tour organized by Northeastern Motorcycle Tours, and raved about it. We were looking for a trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and it looked like a perfect match. Funny thing. After we arrived at the meeting place for the tour, we found out that another couple from our Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) Chapter NJ-F (F-Troop) was also going on the trip. Small world. Here's my article on our experiences on this guided tour.

I've known riders who love the AMA Tours. These guided tours, much like the Northeastern tour we took, are great because they do all the planning, pick the best accommodations, choose the best places to eat, and select the best roads to ride.

My own F-Troop chapter plans trips too. They have gone to Nova Scotia and Sturgis. Each year we ride to the national GWRRA Wing Ding rally. That rally moves around so riders get a chance to tour the country to get to it. Last year it was in Ft. Wayne, IN. This year it's in Nashville, TN.

I know many riders who make yearly traditional treks to Sturgis, Daytona, Laconia, or Americade. There are thousands of such rallies with differing appeal to riders.

How about you? What motivates you the most to take a long trip on your bike?

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