Invest in Experience, Not Farkles


When taking riders overseas on motorcycle expeditions, Bret has been surprised to note that participants don’t have the problems he would expect them to have.  In fact, less-experienced riders quickly develop their skill sets and become confident off-road riders very quickly – much faster than in any traditional training environment.  Bret dives into this phenomenon with his friend and instructor Paul.

Note:  If you are bothered by foul language, please start this podcast at 00:56.

Guest: Paul Solomonson teaches alongside Bret and enjoys riding a BMW 1200GS off-road.

Upcoming Tours:  South Africa – Learn More

Discussion Points:
1.  The highest risk issues in traveling overseas or in remote areas.
2.  How to change training to quickly and effectively develop skill sets.

Key Takeaways:
– Make sure you practice the things that are uncomfortable to you.
– Focus on the skill sets you don’t think you’ll ever need.

Videos Mentioned:

  1. Mistakes riders make in tight places.
  2. The Bar-Stop Skill – Ride Like a Pro
  3. The Rolling Dismount – Ride Like a Pro

Stop Being Complacent


Sometimes riding can be not very exciting or even downright boring.  The excitement of reacting to everything on the road fades away once you feel you’ve encountered most situations and feel comfortable with the threats that are common to motorcyclists.  However, this natural progression can lead to a dangerous lack of focus… and that’s when the curve closes up too fast or the deer is directly in line with your headlights.  Bret talks about methods he uses to keep focus while riding. 

Guest: David Holy is a Patreon subscriber and rides a BMW 1200GS.

Discussion Points:
1.  What is riding with a PLAN?
2.  How can I avoid getting distracted in daydreams while riding?

Key Takeaways:
– Identify the IMpossibilities in order to see the possibilities.
– You should never go faster than the distance in which you can come to a controlled (non-panic) stop.

Trail Braking Rant @ 22:50

How to Manage Fear


Bret Tkacs discusses a subject that every ADV motorcyclist has faced – how to manage fear.  This is a subject that’s widely discussed, but only in general terms – until this podcast.  Learn specific strategies to work specifically with a paralyzing fear of heights while riding.

Guest: Kerry Haggerty, a Patreon subscriber and a former student of Bret’s ADV Camp.  She rides Triumph 900 and reached out to Bret for advice after experiencing some paralyzing fear while riding with some friends at Crater Lake, Oregon.

Discussion Points:
1.  Is fear a good thing or a bad thing?
2.  How can I work on my fear while riding?

Key Takeaways:
– Fear can be reasonable, unreasonable, or fatal.
– The objective is not to eliminate fear, but to not become debilitated by fear.

References Made:
Three Corner Rock

Adventure Camp
ADV Training Tour

Is Suspension Worth the Cost?


Suspension is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects to your motorcycle, and many people talk about upgrading their suspension.  However, since the cost can be up to $7,000, it’s important to know what upgraded suspension can do for your motorcycle, and whether you should invest in an upgrade.

There is a narrow weight window for stock suspension, which is around 180lbs (rider and gear together).  Some people believe if they add preload and get the motorcycle up to proper sag, they’re in good shape.  However, that may provide for a rough and unstable ride.  It’s most important to have the right spring for your weight and riding style.  Manual adjustments to suspension are only important when you start riding aggressively on the street (in curves) and into dirt that challenges the bike.  Any upgrade to suspension from OEM will be a significant improvement for most people.

@ 12:45.  Process of measuring sag on your motorcycle with a second person.

@ 19:15.  Damping discussion

@ 31:45.  Rant on trail braking

Guest:  Jake Fry owns a BMW R1250GS and wants to know whether he should spend the money to upgrade the suspension on his motorcycle.  He recognizes the importance of suspension and wants to set the bike up correctly for the riding he does.

Discussion Points:
1.  Is it worth the money to upgrade my suspension?
2.  What is stiction?
3.  How do I adjust sag?
4.  What is damping?

Key Takeaways:
– People believe if they add preload and get up to the proper sag, they assume they’re in good shape. That’s not always correct.
–  As good as traction control is these days, we still need to stay in-tune with what the technology does and also what it hides.
– Riders don’t realize the importance of having a riding style that prevents you from running too wide in a corner.
–  Never, ever ride faster than you can see.

References Made:
Woody’s Wheel Works

Touratech Extreme Shocks
Tractive Suspension
Race Tech Suspension
Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible (Thede/Parks)
Wilbers Motorcycle Suspension Technology
Trail Braking Presentation in New Zealand

Riding While Hurting: A Talk on Aging


Adapting to the realities of age is important in the ADV world, where it’s too easy to get hurt if you’re not developing the correct muscles, use the correct technique, or your bike is not ergonomically set up.  Fatigue while riding is likely to be a skill issue, a technique issue, or an ergonomic issue.  If it’s none of those, then it will likely be a health or strength issue.

Learn exercises to improve the strength of your midsection, lower back, legs, and triceps – those muscles that are critical for riding comfortably off-road.  Learn how to protect your back when picking up your bike. 

Riser Rant starts at 25:40.  Risers can make a mess out of a bike and people don’t realize the consequences.

Training Rant starts at 30:40.  Most other ADV instructors teach a specific, mechanical formula that does not take into account the individual needs of older clients.

Guest:  David Beverstock lost both weight and strength from an extended stay at the hospital.   He reached out to Bret for advice on how to build his body back up – despite some bad vertebrae – so he doesn’t get hurt while riding.

Discussion Points:
1.  How do I get healthy to be a better rider?
2.  When do I need risers?
3.  Why should I use a partner to help lift my motorcycle?

Key Takeaways:
– The problem with risers is it puts riders in a bad position (hurts the back) or a dangerous position (whiskey throttle).
– Most other ADV classes use a formula that doesn’t take into account individual weaknesses, injuries, age, and bike setup.

Kevin Muggleton/Redverz Tents
Lone Rider vs. Mosko Moto
Monkey Lift
Short Rider

How to Choose a Motorcycle Training Class

How To Choose A Motorcycle Class

Washington State has two state-approved motorcycle basic rider education curriculums.  One is through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the other is the Motorcycle Education Program (MEP), which Bret wrote for Puget Sound Safety.  There are some major differences between the two curricula: The MSF courses are formulaic, structured, and linear while the MEP courses are flexible, adaptable, and offer students the opportunity to self-correct.  In addition, the MEP course have increased student volume by 25%.  To best choose a class, choose the one that supports your particular learning style.

Guest:  Kevin Tusler has embarked on his second career; from retiring as the vice president for a project management company to a full-time motorcycle instructor.

Discussion Points:
1.  Why doesn’t Bret teach advanced classes?
2.  What should I look for in a motorcycle training school?
3.  Does the student/instructor ratio of the motorcycle training class matter?

Key Takeaways:
– How are people supposed to improve if they don’t know what the goal is?
– If you understand why you were successful, then you can replicate that success in the future.
– People underestimate the value of humor while learning.

Evergreen Safety Council
Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)

Motorcycle Education Program