So, I've sold two of my bikes, the Fantom Cross Uno and the Fantom Comp DS... all that remains is the Messenger which should go when the weather gets better and more and more people are "getting out". I have to say, after cleaning those bikes for the new owners, a part of me wanted to be a hoarder - but that does me no good.
Now, let's get to the topic at hand: something I like to call "Adventure Riding". Yes, I know that all riding can be classified under "adventure", but I have constructed a way to define this sort of riding. It's not social riding at social pace, nor is it racing oriented. Let me explain.
I guess this all stems from my love for SuperMoto and dual sport motorcycles. What is fantastic about these bikes is their ability to be 1) street legal 2) they can handle on and off-road very well and 3) they are quick and nimble, but not outright rockets (like sportbikes). They sit upright, and, when tuned correctly, have fantastic throttle response. Oh, and they wheelie really well.
Here are a couple of shots of my old adventure bike - my KLR650. I rode that thing on trails, roads, through the canyons... everywhere. I've had a number of these types of bikes through the years.
These type of motorcycles give the rider an opportunity to explore - which many adventure riders do all the time. A great documentary about adventure riding is "Long Way Round" with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. I guess it isn't "true" adventure riding defined by the purists since they are both celebrities and had a support vehicle most of the time, but it is very entertaining and I highly recommend it.
So, how does this play into bicycles?
With the growing popularity of 29'ers and the niche of "MonsterCross" that has come about, I notice that same sentiment for the pedalling enthusiasts. Many are building "do-it-all" bikes that can handle both on and off road very well: big wheels, rigid forks, fat tires that roll on pavement and dirt well, and multi-hand position handlebars.
As you can see from previous posts, my rides consist of a lot of off-road. But because of where I live, I do mix in a lot of pavement riding that I don't bother taking pictures of. I purposefully venture off the street, away from cars and bike lanes, and find alternative routes to where I need to be. Most of those routes are dirt paths, creekside singletrack, hike-a-bike situations and back roads.
Having been hit by cars twice in my life; I don't like to expose myself to those dangers. I see all types of wild life that can hurt or kill you (like big cats, boar and rattle snakes), but none of those animals are more dangerous than a distracted person driving down the road. So, this adventure type riding also keeps me out of traffic.
If you are considering building a new bike or replacing the one you have now, I would highly recommend looking at these "do-it-all" type bicycles that are offered out there. MTBR has a great thread (which I've referenced before) called, "I Beg You, More MONSTERCROSS" which has dozens of incredible bikes that serve the adventure purpose.
Nearly all of my bikes perform off-road as well as on-road, which all have been purposefully set up that way. With the help of MTBR and researching tires, you can probably even transform your current bike into something more adventure worthy.
If you are not a racer, consider a bike like this. I always ask - why deny yourself a bike that is set-up a to do it all... and do it well?