Riding Ducati’s animalist Panigale R at the sensational new Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, was unforgettable. And seeing the Harley-centric crowds at Sturgis fawning over Indian’s new Chief lineup showed that the cruiser paradigm had instantly changed with the reemergence of that iconic brand.
But the highlight of my year began in Moab, Utah, where BMW was hosting the press intro for its F800GS Adventure. It was my first time in this spectacular wilderness area, and it surpassed even my lofty expectations for its rugged, natural beauty. And the Adventure version of the F800GS impressed over and through the many natural obstacles the Utah/Colorado border area can serve up.
But the trip became more memorable the next day when I borrowed the GSA for an excursion eastward to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where I’d see Troy Siahaan race – a special treat in itself, seeing Pikes for the first time and riding up to its 14,000-foot summit. Normally, each time I’m on a motorcycle I’m stuck in a schedule and route of someone else’s making or pressed for time trying to bag the maximum amount of photos and video before the suns sets.
But on this day, there was no schedule, no route and no negotiating with a riding partner of how the day would play out. I set my own course, choosing routes that would satisfy my desire for either speed or beauty, and I stopped where and when I – and only I – chose. It reminded me of the reasons why I first fell in love with motorcycling. Traversing the western half of Colorado – one of this country’s most naturally beautiful areas – was as therapeutic for me as a week meditating with Deepak Chopra.
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