GENE AND NEDA: ADVENTURE RIDING THE WORLD
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orcas – 3/6/17
For the twenty second installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orcas we are very grateful for the opportunity to speak with Gene and Neda from www.RideDOT.com.
Sometime back in 2014 I was scrolling though the ride reports section on www.advrider.com and saw a posting by someone called Lightcycle (Gene). It was titled “Quit our jobs, sold our house, gone riding…” I was immediately interested by this thread because Gene and Neda embody an admirable quality, courage.
They are people who enjoy adventuring together. For so many, the big quest or the great adventure is a solo pursuit, a dream you create based on your own life experiences and goals. It is rare to find someone who shares an identical dream or passion. Yet, here I was reading about this couple who decided to live out a dream together and truly seem to enjoy it.
The idea of selling off your home and your worldly possessions to hit the road on a motorcycle is romantic, but finding people like Gene and Neda shifts your paradigm as to what is possible and normal for people.
In addition to their amazing ongoing ride report on advrider.com and their personal blog (which at this point has a massive amount of content) you can follow their travels on www.facebook.com/ridedotcom, Instagram, and Twitter. They also upload videos to their YouTube channel if you prefer a more action oriented media platform.
I can’t possible do their trip justice within the confines of this interview but I really encourage you to check out their pages and learn even more about them. After you read what they have to say here of course :).
Gene and Neda are a great reminder that there is a huge world out there to see and you can make the most of it if you are just willing to make bold choices.
Year, Make, Model of your bikes?
Neda’s bike: 2012 BMW (Bring Money Withya) F650GS.
Gene’s bike: 2006 BMW (Broke My Wallet) R1200GS.
Did you name your bikes? What do you call them?
We don’t name our bikes. Well, that’s not true. Sometimes I call my bike, “Start, ya bastard!”
When and how did you get them?
Before the trip, we called KTM and asked if they would give us motorcycles for our RTW trip. They said no.
That turned out to be the biggest mistake they ever made because immediately after that, we called BMW.
They said no too. So we bought the bikes ourselves.
I like to call it reverse sponsorship…
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the ones you bought?
I think I saw my bike in a Star Wars movie. Obi Wan Kenobi was riding around on one in Tatooine before he met Charley Boorman in Mos Eisley. Or was that Magadan? So confusing…
After that Star Wars movie, we were both sold.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to them?
Somehow Neda found a copy of the Touratech catalog at the BMW dealership. She just started checking off all of the boxes on the order form, so her bike came with more TT parts than BMW. Too many to list. Too expensive to dwell on.
The main changes we made to both bikes were crashbars and aftermarket seats. We also added USB and 12V Powerlet sockets to run our electrically heated gear, charge our devices and keep the mini-fridge and coffee maker running while we ride.
Other that that, my bike is completely stock, except for a set of scratches and dents I lovingly installed on the cylinder heads and bodywork before the crash bars and stickers went on.
What do you consider to be your current job or goal?
Well, a job implies a paycheque. So we are currently unemployed. Or as my resume indicates, “On Sabbatical”. Or as my parents put it, “Bums”.
As for goals, they’ve changed quite a bit since starting our trip five years ago. Our slogan in the beginning was, “RIDE THE WORLD!” Now it’s more like, “Oooh, tacos. Let’s just stay here for two months, eat and get fat and hang out with the locals”.
Part of slowing down was travel fatigue, but we’ve also realized that we really enjoy the depth, rather than the breadth of travel. The world is such an interesting place, it’s a shame to experience it from just behind the visor of a motorcycle helmet.
Moving slower and not focusing on ticking off countries on a list is a much more rewarding experience for us.
But also, tacos.
What is your favorite part about living off of your vehicle?
Getting off of it after a long riding day! 🙂
It’s very liberating not having a home, a car and a ton of possessions anchoring you to one place. Having everything you own strapped to the back of your motorcycle gives you a freedom to roam where and whenever you please.
What is your least favorite part about it?
Limited storage space. Which forces you into a minimalist mindset. Every item you carry has to be evaluated against its size, weight and functionality. Buy an item on the road, drop an item on the road. You can follow our trail of used underwear all the way back to Canada.
This minimalism is not necessarily a bad thing though. There’s a certain satisfaction in streamlining your belongings – being able to itemize your worldly possessions in your head and knowing the exact location of everything you own so you don’t have to spend time searching for it. It frees up a lot of mental real estate.
However, it would be nice having more space for clothes so we don’t have to do laundry as often. Also more room to carry food so we don’t have to shop for groceries as often.
So it basically comes down to laziness, then…
What was the question again? And why are you making us look bad…?!?
How many miles have you put on your bikes?
Not sure about the miles because Neda’s bike is a Canadian model, so the odometer is measured in kms. It was brand new for this trip and it currently has over 140,000kms on it.
My bike is an R1200GS, so the odometer is measured in failed final drives. So far, it reads 3. In 240,000 kms.
What is the best place you have taken it? Is there just one?
Can’t think of just one. Alaska’s North Slope towards the Arctic Ocean was a highlight. So was the Sahara Desert. Hoisting it on a winch to the deck of a sailboat to cross the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia was also quite unique.
Worst place we’ve taken our bikes?
I can think of just one: To the dealership on the back of a flat-bed truck to fix a failed final drive.
Favorite road you’ve ridden?
Again, hard to name just one. Although on our blog, our least favorite roads seem to be the most popular ones with our readers. The muddiest, sandiest, gnarliest, most treacherous roads seem to elicit the most enthusiasm: “Awesome trail, guys!”, “Wish I was there!”
They say that adventure is misery recounted at leisure. I think adventure is watching someone else’s misery at your own leisure.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
There’s a word I learned in Croatian, specifically in the Dalmatian dialect: “Pomalo”. It means slowly, take it easy, no stress. We’re in no rush. Pomalo.
In Jamaica, it would be, “Irie, mon”. In Costa Rica, “Pura Vida”. In Thailand, it’s “Mai Pen Rai”.
It’s always useful when traveling the world to learn the most important phrases in each culture.
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living and traveling off of a vehicle, what would you tell them?
Bring toilet paper with you. Everywhere you go. All the time.
Also, bring all the owner’s manuals and service guides for your vehicle. The thicker the manual, the better.
Just in case you run out of toilet paper.
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those kind of people?
Have you ever seen the Matrix? That scene when Neo unplugs himself from the machinery that’s draining everyone’s energy just to keep powering the machine itself? That moment when he wakes up and realizes that the world has been pulled over his eyes to blind him from the truth. The truth that we’re all slaves. Born into bondage. Into a prison that you can’t taste, touch or feel. Born to serve a machine that feeds everyone lies to keep that system running.
Woah. That was a good movie. We know Kung-Fu.
Do you see yourselves as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
Uh, the second one. We just like riding our bikes and traveling. All that work and house stuff just got in the way of that. What’s so unconventional about pursuing something you love?
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders, do you see yourself as someone who gets more out of your travels knowing that you have a following of people appreciating what you’re doing?
We get tremendous support and encouragement on-line and we’re very grateful so many people travel with us virtually.
But when all this is over – when people find other stories to read, other travelers to follow – our trip will still be our trip. It has to have meaning apart from who reads the blog, who likes us on Facebook, who re-tweets us… Re-tweet… what a silly word. Like a cowardly soldier with a speech impediment…
I document our trip mainly because we’ll be the only ones reading about it years from now. When we’re old and grey, our joints too stiff to swing a leg over a stool, let alone a motorcycle seat… we’ll be remembering how we once threw caution to the wind and set off to see the world on two wheels and no plan.
I want to read and remember warm nights and cool breezes on the Caribbean Sea, with our motorcycles beside us, lashed to the deck of a 100-year-old German pirate ship. I want to remember draining bottle after bottle of cheap red wine, in small plastic cups and laughing so hard with my wife that we fell down drunk in the sand on the beaches in Sicily. I want to remember daring each other to eat brain tacos and grasshoppers in Oaxaca. I want to remember how we couldn’t fall asleep at night at the Nordkapp because the midnight sun lit up the side of our tent like a bright yellow spotlight.
These are the memories that I don’t want the passing of time to dull or wash away. That’s the reason why I’m writing everything down.
But if you want to Like us on Facebook, you can find us on http://www.facebook.com/ridedotcom, follow us at http://www.twitter.com/ridedotcom. We also have an Instagram account and we’re very active on all your favorite motorcycle forums…
Where do you want to go next?
No idea. Isn’t that awesome?
My husband and I have been following Gene and Neda’s travels for years. Enjoy the story telling, and humor from Gene, the photos and Neda’s photogenic smile and how well they function together as point and counter point. Gene seems a little bitter about the final drive failures…compare the cost of chains/sprockets/chain cleaners/chain lubricants over the same miles plus time spent doing the maintenance…never mind, husband would be pissed too. A friend has an RS with less than 100k on it and on his third
final drive. We have been lucky so far. Original fd on our 07 K1200.
Judy, Thank you so much for checking out the interview. I recently switched from a r1200gs that I rode for three and a half years (no issues with final drive over the 40,000 miles I put on it but did replace the oil in there once) to an 800gs. I put 15,000 miles on the 800 last year and recently changed out the sprocket set and chain. I certainly agree that the cost is about the same over time. Ah the life of a BMW motorcyclist 😉 As Gene says, Broke My Wallet!
Great interview, been following them since they left Ontario back in 2014 and have been living through them since. Perhaps one day I’ll be brave enough to do the same.
Thank you Chris and I am sure you will find a way if you want it badly enough.
We all have the dream but some limitations can be daunting, i.e. $. Where doo you get the money to do this or do you just have a deep pocket source that keeps feeding you the loot? After selling everything I can see one, maybe even 3 yesrs, but 5 and still going strong?
Thank you so much. Truly a pleasure.