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The Lone Rider


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Why do they all seem to ride GS Adventures? 


I have now been in Salida Colorado for 5 years. Salida is a hub for Colorado riding as well as a transcontinental crossroads for people trying to avoid large metro areas and the Interstate highway system. I spend much of the day in our most touristy part of the town known as F Street. (because one of my bidnesses is there). As the sun rises in the southern sky and the days get longer more and more bikers come through town. Packs of orange thumpers and screamin blue, red, and yellow dirt bikes appear around every corner shooting out from rocky forest trails covered in all kinds of earthly splash. Rented Harleys with foreign accented riders and clubs wearing their colors with open exhaust pipes are always parked in front of our best consuming establishments. Many ATGATT riders on assorted sport configured bikes make their appearances in groups of anywhere from two to twenty. 


BUT to me the most interesting is the Lone Rider. You will find him or her most often on a GS Adventure. They will have camping gear strapped on the passenger seat and will be wearing bright colored reflective vests or jackets usually KLIM. I would guess their ages between 40 and 70. Though in their own world they are not unfriendly but at the same time not looking to make new friends or talk about the weather either(unless it is an unusual event like snow in June). I have noticed these fine folks sitting alone at coffee shops, gear spread all around them taking up all the seating at the table like a sign that says “leave me alone”. They will have maps spread on the table sometimes with notes in the margins. If they see me in my Roadcrafter jacket getting off own my GSA they may nod but rarely say anything. I LOVE these folks they are the Jack Reachers of our world. 


My thoughts on why the GSA:


The GSA gives them better alternators for lighting which means the ability to ride late into the night if they feel like it. 


The gas tank size for obvious reasons.


Every road does not have to be paved.


GPS, phone and entertainment can all be integrated.


If it does fall over it won’t end the ride. 


You can lock your valuables in the bags whether staying in a hotel or hiking away from your tent.


You have enough room to carry clothes, tools, groceries and a jet boil so you can stay on the road for a long time....AND still bring home a tee shirt for your SO.


The ability to cover their bags with stickers so they can tell people where they have been without having to talk and possible damage the paint. 



What else?


















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Beer farts from the previous evenings festivities puts their riding crew way ahead, or behind,  but not near.


Actually, it seems to me that the lone rider thing seems to apply to BMW riders of all models.  I see mostly lone GS, GT, LT, RT and even R bikes more than in groups in these parts.  Them C rider guys are a different animal though looking to blend in the middle of the mass of Hawg group rides...just kidding. The few C bikes I have seen were lone riders as well.


90% of my riding is solitary and I like the freedom of the ride it brings.

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The title describes me, but not much of the content.


I ride an R.

I never sit in coffee shops.

I am happy to talk to others whether on a bike or in a car or truck.


I ride alone 99% of the time. I have a neighbor with an old HD sportster that I ride with briefly once in awhile. But he doesn't like to go for more than an hour, and I rarely take the bike out for a trip shorter than several days. 

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4 hours ago, TEWKS said:

With a little practice, a proficient Lone Rider can steer the GSA with its back wheel!


Right wrist steering.  Back it in!

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I'm also a solo rider and am quite happy with it. I have ridden a few club rides (I don't belong to any clubs) but it just isn't my cup of tea. I could easily be that guy at the table by himself. Seems like most of the things I do are solo - road bicycling, furniture making, other hobbies, research on all sort of things, ... 

Best Miguel

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7 hours ago, TEWKS said:

With a little practice, a proficient Lone Rider can steer the GSA with its back wheel! :revit: :thumbsup:




That's a great graphic.  Did you create this?  

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4 hours ago, RPondaRoad said:

That's a great graphic.  Did you create this?  


No, I just fished it off the web. Yeah, really nice job who ever did it. :thumbsup:

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One thing that seems to happen is that, as we age, the cohort of riders that we rode with drops out of riding.  Of the group of riders that I spent lots of time with 15 years ago, I'm the only one still riding (that I know of-I've lost touch with several).  The large groups of riders that I see locally tend to be younger in age, and mostly interested in an afternoon of riding followed by socializing - which is what I did at that point in my life, also.  I think I'm also on the third or fourth group of track day friends.  That group tends to have a shorter average lifespan, probably because of the cost of doing track days as well as the dedication needed to improve your abilities.  To be clear, I'm actually one of the slower 'fast group' riders, mostly because I don't bounce as well as I used to. 

So the lone rider may be, in effect, the last person standing among his or her riding friends. 

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10 hours ago, RPondaRoad said:

That's a great graphic.  Did you create this? 

Kinda looks to me like it might be a product of our own @RoadWolf.  He's done a lot of GS art for RawHyde and others.

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Yeeha Stephen

Don't know about the "Reacher" characteristic, but I do like to ride alone. Love to see yooz guyz when I get there, but to and from - I roll solo. Since my single days when I did a LOT of vagabond/stealth camping, I love the fact that I can belch, fart, scratch, snot, bathe, piss, snore, rise and fall, and pursue illegal things when I want to without announcing a "Stands Up" schedule every time we stop. I can dine on steak. I can dine on jerky. I can dine on all the Spam/Vienna sausages/PBJ type junk in between with out checking what a ride partner is in the mood for.

Also, no matter how much my GSA friends twist my arm, I'm still an RT guy. I love the paved roads and the speeds they carry. I'll rent a Jeep when I get there if I want to see the backwoods.

What can I say?



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Ride alone.  Ride with small groups.  Ride with BMWSTers and socialize at BMWST events.  Enjoy all three.



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ability to gobble interstate, ability for mortal men to ride non-gnarly off pavement terrain, ability to lock stuff up and walk away.  ability to have gasoline spill onto your leg.  (whoops, sorry, I'm a tad bitter at the moment). 


They are great bikes.

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Someone on this board a few years ago made similar comments.  Their take on the matter was something along these lines, "BMW Riders tend to be lone wolf during the day, but at night they like to mingle together and discuss the days events, roads, scenery, pictures with fellow riders."

Like many of those here, I am a lone wolf rider 90% of the time on my trusty RT.  I do enjoy and look forward to events like START, but there is something to be said for doing a 3k mile solo trip as well.



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Medic Mike wrote: I do enjoy and look forward to events like START . . . .


Yes, they are good for things like riding buddies pointing out bald tires that need replacing.:)


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Mostly an RT lone rider.  Only have a couple of friends that I trust that I will ride with.  They take riding seriously and not of the mentality, "i rode a bicycle I can ride a motorcycle."

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15 hours ago, Sonor said:

Only have a couple of friends that I trust that I will ride with.

For years I only rode on the street with the same folks I rode and raced dirt bikes with.  I didn't trust street only riders at all.  When we all moved onto new chapters in our lives for numerous reasons most of these people left motorcycle riding behind, I then found the enjoyment of riding solo.  I am not so fickle (snobbish) anymore about riding with someone who hasn't raced but still prefer riding with those who take seriously developing and improving riding skills. I am still extra cautious when riding with someone new if they say something along the line of "I know how to ride, I've ridden motorcycles for over xx years".  I may still ride with them and let them lead so I can get a sense of their riding skill level.


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The GS is the #1 seller, so "they" may travel solo, but aren't "lone", IMO.


Seems a rider description more than a motorcycle description.

So, do GS' attract certain types?


Most likely they just can't get anyone to ride with them...


I know I sold GS bikes to all types and sizes.

Outliers always solo and always with others.

I saw solo and groups on all marques.

Perhaps it is affiliation bias, where we see what we do, in others.

I rarely saw other GT's when out on the road. Not as many sold.

GS bikes were everywhere.

Often I (we) was/were the only one at an event.

Both styles work, solo, group.

Both have pro/con.

GS definitely the Swiss Army Knife, the if only one, the most versatile.

Perhaps their riders identify with that and are more self reliant.

Or, perhaps they just get lost on the way home from Startledbux...






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Hadn't really thought about about it but I'm solo pretty much all the time. My wife has no interest in my bikes other than she knows it makes me happy so I'm always one up. Riding in groups is cool but it's like herding cats at times, especially on multi-day trips ( what time do we get up, when do we start out, etc.). Much easier when you're the only one to make the decision. I'm certainly the guy sitting at the table with the map. I think with the off road guys, it requires so much concentration that it's easier if you don't have to worry about what everyone around you is doing. Really the same can be said about street riding although there can be a certain degree of security in numbers due to the visibility. Overall though, I love  that feeling of being out on an empty stretch of road, looking around at awesome scenery and thinking how lucky I am to be there. 

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