When I was riding in North America I always rode alone and told everyone how long I would be gone and that I did not know where I would be going. “See you in a month” would be what I would say to people and then I usually set out south from Canada into the US.
My rides were planned daily – maybe the night before and I would often set off at 5:30 or 6 am to find the best possible breakfast spot to stop in after a couple of hours on the road. This for me, was the peace and solitude I was searching for and more than anything, time to think and to connect to all of the nature around me.
My bike was a modest air-cooled 620 Red Ducati Multistrada that I could fix myself if needed, noble and light with enough power. The experience together mattered more than anything else and I did build a lovely relationship with my “iron horse”. We went everywhere together, through a lot of places and experiences and weather too.
This whole time I was, “having” my dream rides, I was also ”planning”my dream rides. Because I am a filmmaker, I wanted to find a ride I could have on my own but also take some time to film some stories or places along the way. Technology has really allowed for that now.
My dream ride starts with a book, “Lodging in Italy’s monasteries” at the time I bought this book because it had all the numbers of monasteries, littered throughout the Italian countryside. I knew that the monks selected beautiful, not so easy to access places and I wanted to experience Italy in this way – as a monk on a bike, going from monastery to monastery, connecting to people who live amazing lives in isolation and hearing (and maybe even recording) their stories.
The dream ride is purely on back roads and I set out for a month of two with no plan except to meet interesting people, see beautiful places and sleep in stripped-down surroundings and staying in each place for one of two nights. The other rule I have set out for my dream ride is to never touch a highway and do the whole journey on the winding and fantastic back roads through small towns; just riding the backbone of Italy – the mountain ranges and villages from North to South.
Now, after nine years in Italy, I have an Italian Motorcycle license and going after the true experience of mind-clearing solitude and see this beautiful country on two wheels in the open air.
So with my trusty Honda TransAlp motorcycle, I look for places of solitude and grace.