Why you should attend an ADV Rally

GEICO Motorcycle Adventure Rally Rockies Edition 2017

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Johnny Campbell

So, you just bought a brand-new Adventure- or dual-sport type motorcycle, spent a ton of money on accessories and riding gear. Now what? Well, the obvious answer is, get out and ride it! But you don’t just want to troll the Home Depot parking lot, do you? No, you need to get out of town put some scratches in the paint and use that bike for what it was made for, exploring.

If you’re new to ADV riding, there are plenty of resources for learning more about that segment of motorcycling. But if you want to cram for the exam, look no further than an ADV rally like the Bonnier Motorcycle Group’s GEICO series.

We recently attended the 2017 version of The Rally in the Colorado Rockies and its basecamp in Gunnison. Here are some of the major things that riders attending these events are exposed to. For starters, a big group of like-minded riders goes a long way toward understanding what this facet of the sport is all about; taking a look at what other participants are riding, what mods they’ve made to their machines, and learning about where they ride all while bench racing and drinking beer is pretty relaxed and fun.

For 2017, the event added BMW GS ambassadors Shaun and Lance Thomas of the Adventure Riding Academy to give free training seminars to participants of all levels. This perk in its own right, was worth the price of admission, according to many attending the event. Other opportunities included demo rides from Honda (Africa Twin, CRF250L Rally, VFR1200X, and NC700X), and BMW (R1200GS, RnineT Urban G/S). Sponsors such as Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, and Moose Racing brought out ADV-oriented products for participants to try on and demo.

And while all of these perks are awesome, the event is really about the riding. And the Colorado Rockies is basically Shangri-La for ADV motorcycling. Stunning scenery that rivals anywhere in the world, combined with riding for every skillset, there is no shortage of awesome things to see and trails to die for.

The event is essentially a self-guided treasure hunt, where you team up with some buddies and then try and hit as many of the designated points of interest (POIs) as possible over the course of two days. The morning of the first riding day, a clue book and map are handed out, and participants have to come up with a plan for achieving the highest point total as a team. All POIs are verified via Instagram, while REVER has also set geofences at all the locations that can be captured while tracking in the app.

It doesn’t matter what you ride, or what your skill level is, there are routes for every type of rider

It doesn’t matter what you ride, or what your skill level is, there are routes for every type of rider. Not comfortable on the dirt? Stick to the asphalt and graded dirt roads. Looking for something challenging? There are plenty of Double-Black Diamond rated routes that are challenging on an enduro, and a true tussle on a big ADV bike, no matter your riding chops. Rock, Drop, and Roll!

Watching veteran off-road aces, 11-time Baja-1000 winner Johnny Campbell and 24-time ISDE medalist Fred Hoess show us how it’s done was thrilling and humbling.

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Other ways of obtaining points in the scored aspect of the event, include competing on the Gymkhana course for speed, or in the trials version where dabbing a foot docks points off your team’s scorecard. Watching veteran off-road aces, 11-time Baja-1000 winner Johnny Campbell and 24-time ISDE medalist Fred Hoess show us how it’s done was thrilling and humbling.

So, if you’re looking for a great event that helps unravel the mysteries of ADV riding, check out an event like this one. You still have time to sign up for the Sierra version of the GEICO Motorcycle Adventure Rally in California September 28 to October 1. For more info: www.advrally.com. Or check out the KTM Adventure Rider Rally September 15 to 17 in Crested Butte Colorado, www.ktmorangeevents.com.

Fred Hoess

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