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    • Chris

      Years ago when I started Adventure Rider, a niche forum for adventure motorcycling, I never imagined that people would organize trips together by the hundreds all over the world, become best friends, get married, and rescue each other no matter where they were in the world.

      This weekend I decided to drop in on one of the events in the beautiful northern lake country of Wisconsin. People came from Toronto, Chicago, Lexington, etc., to spend a week on their annual pilgrimage with the friends they made online. They brought kids, dogs, friends...

      I think just about everyone introduced themselves to me and said, "if you ever wonder if you've done any good in the world, just think of us. We're the very best of friends and we never would have known each other without the site."

      Sometimes I think we get caught up in our disagreements online and forget the incredible power and good it also brings.

    • Chris

      Btw, we had an incredible time with our shared passion. The northern lake counties of Wisconsin have gone out of their way to build remote trails especially for us in the forest, as they have for horses and bicycles, to attract tourists to the area. Snowmobiling is what maintains them in the Winter and boating in the summer.

      We were able to show up for a ribbon cutting with a county commissioner there and the people who worked all year building an 8-mile, single-track trail for offroad motorcyclists through an incredible forest.

    • Chris

      Btw, I think when some people think of this sport, they're thinking of noisy, rowdy motocross or Harleys rumbling down the street. A few of the bikes are as noisy as snowmobiles or boats on the lake, but most aren't and they just disappear into the forest.

      We had two grandmothers for the trail opening and they were amazing.

      Hearing the story of how they built the trail was quite incredible. There were all kinds of water runoff considerations to be approved by forestry and they could only trim the trees blocking the way during certain months to prevent the spread of fungus. They had to have a senate sponsor.

    • Chris

      The thing about northern lakes area is there is so much to do. The campground is beside a big lake with fishing, canoes, kayaks, a beach, all kinds an on-water playground for the kids to jump off things. So most people were glamping, bringing motorcycles on trailers as just one of the things to do.

      It was mainly a way to spend some days in paradise together with our online friends.

    • vegasphotog

      Chris aka Baldy...IMHO you have always been the utmost humble about ADV and what it was all about. Aside from the distraction of Toxic Britney, the Trip Reports written mostly by unprofessionals were worthy of a tv series. BUT, the reason they were SO GOOD, is that it was not some reality tv show. It was 100000000% authentic with three scoops of wild characters not even Hollywood could make up.

      Buying my Wee-Strom in Alaska and getting hooked up with 50+ of the local riding community was a lifetime experience I will never forget. It never got me laid, but, I did happen to mention to the ladies I had a couple of photos on the rotation back in the day. hahahahha


      Je vous adresse mes plus vifs remerciements!

      BTW...I don't speak french but saying thanks in French at this level seemed important. hahahahahah

    • Chris

      Ha! Spoken by a man who knows how hard group photos are to do.   😁

      The rally organizer is a great photographer but had his hands full with the dinner and raffle, so I shot it. I found a slope to help elevate people in the back, I wanted some of the dinner tenting in the back for context, they are facing west at the last gasp of sun fading over the horizon so their faces are well lit from the front with none hidden in shadows, I climbed up on a truck to get higher so no hidden faces, and I shot it at about 135mm so the group isn't spread out to much front to back if you know what I mean.

      I tried to have them raise a hand and shout, but as I was afraid of, it obscured some faces. However some of them had fun doing it as the faces show.

    • vegasphotog

      I think the -hardest- part about taking a group photo of more than ten people, is keeping everyone engaged for the shot...it seems like once there is a buzz of people.....little side convo's start up and you have to really "discipline" the crowd. hahahahah The other hard part is choosing the right optics....I am guessing maybe you shot this with a 14mm or 20mm with 2.8 or faster....? Very crisp throughout.

    • Chris

      Yes, I was barking loudly at them! I shot it with my 70-200 at 135 and got way back and up high.

      There was some pretty spectacular glamping gear there. 🤩

    • Ca

      Chris, I'm one of those people whose life has been significantly changed by the connections and influence of the Adventure Rider motorcycle forum. I was just reflecting and tracing back some of what has evolved in my own life and activities as a result of getting involved there. Many people grow from that involvement into a broadly branching tree with each limb producing influences, opportunities, and events affecting others (which in turn seeds many other trees). As an example, although there were many steps in between my initially getting involved with the forum and a recently formed local motorcycle club cutting the ribbon on a new trail this past weekend, I am confident that none of that would have happened without the site you created. Kind of scary to think about how far-reaching it all can be. In this case, it was for the good. Maybe Adventure Rider, and other similar forums, can sometimes be compared to a greenhouse that starts "plants" that eventually flourish far beyond the site itself.

    • ianc

      I was also at the event this weekend, and I'll also echo Cannonshot's remarks. I have been blessed by a host of real-life friends and experiences that I would have never encountered had it not been for the forum.

    • Chris

      Thank you, Cannonshot. You were everywhere—wrapping ankles, towing a motorcycle with a blown water pump, rescuing water crossers in distress. If only your helmet was black you'd be the rescue ninja of the week.

    • jl

      I'll add to the chorus of people saying their lives were significantly impacted by Adventure Rider's existence. I took a 5 week cross country ride last summer on my beater '70s Honda (I left a year ago yesterday), and the trip would not have been possible without a ton of help from people on AdvRider. The community was insanely generous and friendly -- both beforehand, where people helped me figure out the best roads, lent me (and in some cases gave me) gear that I needed, and so on...and during the trip, when I stayed at people's houses, rode with them, and fixed my bike in their garages. Seriously, the community exceeded my wildest dreams of how nice people could be. I'm looking forward to the day when I get to go to a rally and meet some more inmates.

    • Chris

      I hear you about the generosity, Jesse. They supplied me with a KTM 500! And a fancy helmet with intercom that saved what's left of my brain on a fall. And motocross boots and body armor. I would have significantly more battle wounds if not for them.

      Pic by Cannonshot:

    • Chris

      BTW, the mantra of ADV has always been pics or it didn't happen. And it's logical extension: pic first, help second.

    • Ca

      Did you ever imagine that one day you would be riding an off-highway motorcycle in the north woods of Wisconsin with a bunch of people you only just met for the first time? And once you were there with them, it was like you've all known each other for years, So much common knowledge, experience, and values. Things don't normally happen that way without the magic involved with like-minded people that share close connections long before they have even heard of each other thanks to a forum like the one you created. Extraordinary isn't a big enough word to describe it all.

    • Herb

      Chris,

      The events that come out of advrider.com are pretty awesome. I have been to a handful of them around California, from Death Valley to the high Sierra. The variety and kindness of the people who attend restore my faith in humanity. I always like engaging with people I met after the events too; commenting about an inside joke we came up with, making sure they got home OK, or sending them cards during their recovery, as the case may be. LOL.

      I am disappointed I won't be able to make the CSM Peace Party Rally in Kansas. For those of you who know how heated the debates can get in CSM, you'll understand what an accomplishment it is to get unlike minded people together for a good time.

      Advrider is a great community, and it has helped a lot of people over the years. Whatever you thought it might be, I'm glad it became what it did. Thanks Baldy.

    • bomber

      Another thanks to the ADV community, and all it's citizens. Like others, this CADAVR was my first, and, like most everyone else, I wandered off with more new real life connections than I ever could have expected.

      Much is written about the divisive power of electronic communication, and much of it is accurate. Less is written or discussed about the connective power, though, and that's a shame.

      Thanks to all involved (from Chris on down) for making this community what it is.

    • Ratski

      I have also met many good friends through ADVrider. It is an amazing community and this rally is proof of the connections that can be made. Thanks to Chris for many things, including my great new profile picture. I can honestly say my world is a far different place due to ADV. Many of my close friends were met through the site. Thanks again Chris!

    • Chris

      Thanks Ratski! It was great meeting you there. I wanted to take your handsome and friendly dog home with me.

    • Bl

      I think a large part of the "connective power" of ADV and a few other forums i've been part of is a common passion. If you look at other social media platforms (Public FB areas or Reddit for example) there is a great deal less civility at times.

      Once i dove into ADV, i knew meating people was going to be part of the experience and I've generally conducted myself accordingly.

      CSM still makes me scratch my head though. I hope the Peace Party is a great success and that it tempers some of the rhetoric a bit.

    • Chris

      Thanks, BlueMule. It's great to see you here.

      It's a strange thing, civility online. Adventure Rider has so many regional forums it's peculiar to see that some of them struggle to stay Civil, like the West regional right now, whereas things seem so great in Central.

      There has long been a debate about anonymity versus real identities for civility. But people who do research on it say it doesn't seem to make a difference. We're all familiar with public figures who can be pretty nasty online.

      In my opinion, the big factor is moderation, which starts with values (love of motorcycling, mutual respect, wanting to be ambassadors for the sport) and translates into some simple, understandable rules (no threats, no racism, no misogyny). Go too far with moderation and people suffocate. Not far enough and good people leave.

    • RoyS

      Hi Chris. (It's me, Rapid Roy) I think I have said ADV cheeered me up when I was down, and so many folks I knew were there already, that it did pretty much feel like home. I have met the Morans from the East, and the folks from Kernville, CA, people at Westfest, and down in Hill Country in Texas. It's full of friends I have not met yet. lol Like the Mule, I don't get CSM either, as I assume I am meeting these folks eventually, so why all the yelling? The Dalai Lama says "When there is time, be nice. There is always time." I like that. These rallies are so much fun for me to finally meet the people I have been talking to. Thanks to you starting it all.

    • Chris

      Hey Roy! Great to see you here. Love the photo you used for your avatar. 😁

      I will always be inspired by the story of you, your wife and your daughter after she contracted West Nile and you became full-time caregivers. It shores up my faith in humanity.

    You've been invited!