To the doubters…

Since Beth and I proposed the idea of this trip we’ve received lots comments from people saying, “Wow that’s cool…but not on that bike.” Plenty of others have said, “go for it, even on a smaller bike.” So here’s why we are taking the smaller bike.

  • The Shadow has low mileage, at the time of writing about 9,200 miles.
  • It is in excellent running condition with good tires.
  • If I bought a larger bike I would still have to work it over and fix things (that was critical in deciding to rebuild the bike this past winter).
  • I don’t want to buy another bike just for the trip and have to sell it right away when we move.
  • I really enjoy tinkering so it was absolutely fun customizing the bike for heavier loads and longer distances.
  • An 85 Shadow is a fairly powerful bike for it’s size (50 hp) and still get’s amazing gas mileage riding 2 up (around 52).
  • We have a stop halfway through the trip at my brother’s place where I can rebuild any necessary parts.
  • People used to go further on small bikes, so why can’t we.
  • People in other parts of the world look at a 500 as a large bike.
  • We want to prove to ourselves that we can live with very little.
  • And last, but not least, most people don’t go long distance on a small bike, so we just have to be different and try it.

Well that about sums it up. We aren’t trying to be foolhardy, but don’t see any reason we can’t use what we have. And hey…if we fail we’ll still have a great story!

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5 responses to “To the doubters…

  • Bill Provenzano

    Have fun! I would love to do a trip like that again. I love seeing the look on peoples faces when they ask me where I slept at night and I tell them I would pull off on an exit, find a quiet road next to a field and.or trees, park off the road a ways, pull out my blanket and bowie knife and go to sleep on the ground!

    I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

    Make sure you’re armed with something. Somewhere in Utah a few biker gang dudes were circling me on the highway….seriously. They were on small bikes, compared to mine, so I punched it and left them in the dust. Ya never know when you’ll run into a crazy!

    • shadowcrosscountry

      We will…
      You have a one up on us, we aren’t planning on camping…it would just be too much gear. We’ll have to try and earn our tough points by riding a small bike 🙂

      If you so want to do it again…why don’t you and April join us?

  • Jim

    Ryan, I think it is a fantastic idea that you have proposed! So few people have those moments/adventures in their lives that they could look back and say, “Yeah! I did that! Had a lot of fun” I think that at times to many people feel that they need to have all these ducks lined up in order to do something adventurous but the reality is that what you have is fine. you don’t need a bike with 1200cc of power (in no way is this meant to discredit Bill). You can live off of what you are doing! God Bless and come back with stories of your adventure so that all of us could wish that we had been with you!

  • Bill Provenzano

    No worries Jim. I don’t think a person needs a 1200 cc bike, either. I only had a 920 cc bike when I took my trip. It was plenty. I think a 500 cc bike is fine for one person on a trip like that. I actually think it would be fine for two people if the route was only moderately mountainous. However, when the roads ahead have the temperature, grade, and altitude variations as the trip their taking, then I’m skeptical the bike will make it unscathed. Low miles on an almost 30 year old bike isn’t necessarily a good thing. I hope they prove me wrong. If so, I’ll be happy to admit my error and will have learned the power of a Honda Shadow!

    Ryan, If April and I could join you, we would. I’ve been wanting to take a similar trip ever since she got her bike, which coincidentally, is a Honda Shadow 750cc!

    What ever you do…don’t over plan. Take your time and enjoy the ride!

  • Sarah

    Randomly found this post and I’m so glad I did because I have a 1985 Honda Shadow 500 as well and I’m planning on riding from Northern California to Nashville to Toronto in May. I’m curious to hear how your trip went. How did the bike hold up? I’d appreciate any insight!

    PS I like and relate to all your reasoning above!

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