Small Bikes Big Adventures
June 16, 2019 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Two motorcycle enthusiasts KiwiGrom are making videos and documenting their trip riding a pair of 8hp Honda Groms across the US, mostly off-road, via the Mid Atlantic Backroad Discovery Route and TransAmerica Trail.

They namedrop Ed March, who is known for his cheeky videos of riding a Honda Super Cub around the world. He's currently riding Alaska to Argentina.
posted by peeedro (13 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Those links have some jokes about Ewan McGregor's motorcycle projects Long Way Round and Long Way Down. If you're into Obi-Wan on a big BMW GS adventure bike, you can watch those videos on The real Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman YouTube channel.
posted by peeedro at 4:22 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

As someone who rides a 'smaller' bike (650) I'll be the first to say it's not about the cc's it's about the clearance.

I hope they're putting aftermarket seats on those Groms.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:07 PM on June 16

Man, seems a little awkward and a bit cheeky to name his offroad route the TransAmerica Trail when one's existed by that name for bicycles since 1976, put together and updated regularly with no small effort by the Adventure Cycling Association.  If I recall correctly, it's still the most popular cross-country cycling route.  If nothing else, it certainly lends itself to unnecessary confusion.

How in the world do you spend that much time building an off-road motorcycle route and not know the name is already taken by your non-motored cousins?
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:18 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]

Even more confusing, you can bikepack the off-road TAT. And because we're humans, why ride it when you can race it?
posted by peeedro at 5:38 PM on June 16

Extremely my shit.
posted by rodlymight at 5:49 PM on June 16

I have been considering following a version of the TAT (the motorized one), and I really appreciate when people take tiny bikes on long trips, so this is great.

For a while I was always seeing overloaded "adventure" bikes with all the luggage and expensive add-ons, but these days I see a lot more "adventure" (aka "overland") styled trucks, with the roof top tent and the extra gas cans even for just driving across town. There's a guy who goes to the same bagel shop as I do, always with his sand ladders at the ready, which I find endlessly amusing. There isn't even a speedbump in that parking lot, never mind quicksand.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:35 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]

The Trans America Trail for OHVs was initially mapped in 1984, and I suspect it's entirely possible that the people who did it weren't that plugged-in to the long distance cycling scene. The idea is pretty similar, and lends itself to the same name.

OTOH, there seems to be increasing use of the off-road TAT by long-distance mountain bikers. If you want to do a coast-to-cost on pretty much any vehicle that isn't fun to drive on paved roads, it's probably what you want. (Obviously there are other routes, but fewer than you'd think; there are a lot of chokepoints to get over rivers and such.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:03 PM on June 16

A similar premise is behind the funniest German movie in a long time: 25 Km/h (German trailer here).
posted by progosk at 1:43 AM on June 17

For those interested in such things, a guy known as GPS Kevin has (for sale, as GPX files, but free to view as online maps) a very extensive list of mapped on- and off-road routes available. This includes both the TAT ("5184 mile Dual Sport Ride Ride across the USA from Coast to Coast") and the paved "TransAmerica Backcountry Route" which avoids major highways but is suitable for any road bicycle, powered scooter, or motorcycle.

His version of the TAT splits (going east to west, the usual direction) at Moab and has two finishing points: WNW across Nevada and into Oregon, terminating at Oregon Dunes, or SW to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, and eventually LA. The southern route dodges Death Valley but not by much; the northern route seems to take you through the Black Rock Desert (be interesting to time that with Burning Man...).

The backcountry on-road route is also interesting and somewhat more accessible. I'm not sure what, if any, relationship it bears to the coast-to-coast bicycle route... just from context, I think it's more designed for scooter and cruiser riders who want the sort of epic experience of the TAT but aren't off-road capable. It starts in NYC, goes west across PA snaking through the mountains, follows the lakeshore around Cleveland and Sandusky, then across the 'wrist' of Michigan to Chicago, and then goes across the Midwest by way of Iowa and South Dakota (Sturgis, natch), through Yellowstone (!), and then makes an odd southerly dodge in Nevada to enter California near Carson City. I think this is in order to find a nice secondary road, rather than an interstate, to go through the mountains on. Anyway, it's a hell of a route.

I keep telling myself that the next time I find myself between jobs, I should take a few weeks and do it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:45 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]

First video was entertaining, definitely watching the rest of this. I'd love to do something like this but I'm fairly certain I'm not nearly mechanical enough to be able to pull it off, so I'm going to stick to long-haul hiking.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:42 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]

posted by lalochezia at 12:01 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]

First video was entertaining, definitely watching the rest of this.

Yeah, their videos are really fun. They're upbeat and tightly edited. Motovlogging isn't easy; getting usable video and audio is a challenge, so it's surprising to see something that good come from people who haven't made it a full-time side hustle.
posted by peeedro at 12:17 PM on June 17 [2 favorites]

It may be just the little corner of the wider culture that I'm familiar with, but I'm really happy that today's motorcycle enthusiasts are almost all big boosters of the notion that smaller bikes are incredibly fun, offer a different but not worse experience than bigger bikes, and are just generally awesome. It seems like they're way ahead on that compared to car enthusiasts, who only rarely manage to get their heads above the fog of toxic masculinity enough not to reflexively dump on cars like the Miata for being "underpowered," which these days I usually read as a synonym for "at least close to being within range of my ability to handle safely."
posted by invitapriore at 11:18 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]

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