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What makes you an adventure biker

Matt Snyman

Are you a real adventure biker or just a shameful, charlatan and pitiful fraud!?
Recently there has been a generous amount of violent disagreement pertaining to the definition of adventure biking.


What makes it ‘adventure biking’? Is it the type of bike? Is it where you ride it? Do you have to camp? Do you have to leave the country?
Well good news is here! I can help! I have managed to define adventure biking, and I have decided to impart this ground-breaking knowledge unto you. The water is now clear and all is well in the jungle, ‘order’ has been restored.


Through thorough, highly scientific, and precise collaboration, and under the influence of a range of substances, my carefully assembled dream-team of adventure bikers has managed to formulate a decisive list. This league of extra-ordinary gentleman (and gentle… women) originate from a host of different countries, and from all walks and crawls of life. “Home’ ranges from Africa, to Turkey, to Italy to ‘I’m pretty sure I’m from Arizona’ and many more. Washed and unwashed, veterans and rookies, holiday makers and hobos, even going so far as to include one Honda rider (but not two); all opinions were carefully considered and peer-reviewed.


I present you with this new modern marvel, a first for world peace and what I hope to result in a Nobel prize:

  1. You have said at least once: ‘I’m sure somebody will drive by soon’
  2. You’ve put your bike on a boat (essential)Chaiten-canon-5-1024x489.jpg
  3. You consider, with great deliberation, whether you really need a third pair of underwear
  4. Your motorcycle and the term ‘resale value’ are mutually exclusive
  5. You have caught yourself viciously bargaining with people over US$ 10c on repeated occasions
  6. You have a picture of yourself with some guy in military uniform and a floppy hat holding a massive automatic weapon (essential)Jungle-canon-32-1024x772.jpg
  7. You can tell the difference between 85 and 90 octane by smell
  8. A local has informed you that the road was completely flooded or a bridge had been washed away, but you still had to see for yourself… after trying to convince them otherwise
    screen-shot-route-1024x573.jpg Yeah, I think the bridge might be out...
  9. You have lost luggage off the back of your moving motorcycle
    carretera-GoPro-1024x575.jpg It probably came off because you packed it like THIS
  10. You’ve been carrying the same 500g bag of rice 1 meter from your body for the past 3 months and will carry that same bag of rice for the next three months
  11. You have had to ride through herds of animals (essential) – extra points if they are wild animals
    Screen-Shot-2015-06-04-at-10.20.02-AM-1024x577.png Martin from TR15A rides past a herd of tarted-up alpacas
  12. You speak to other motorcycle travellers about buying tires like they are hardcore drugs e.g. ‘I heard you can get Pirelli’s really cheap from this guy Jorge in Medellin, he has the really good stuff’
  13. A one-way street means NOTHING to you.
    route-6-1024x575.jpg Or a pedestrian-only market, those also mean nothing to you
  14. You have sneezed viciously and messily inside your helmet and just kept on riding
  15. Your GPS has repeatedly tried to take you up and down flights of stairs, and every time you still catch yourself looking up the flight thinking ‘I reckon I could pull it off…’
  16. You have eaten something which is considered a pet in most developed countries
    Jungle-canon-33-1024x683.jpg Mich about to dive into some tasty guinea pig
  17. You hide valuables inside your boots because no sane human being with even the slightest stitch of self-respect would dare to venture near them
  18. You have packed you entire kit before realising you forgot some crucial item, after which you seriously consider just leaving it behind and buying a new one because its such a damned mission to pack
  19. They have had to wash the actual wash bay after cleaning your bike
    GoPro-1024x768.jpg This was one of those times
  20. You can intimately describe over 20 different types of mud… by taste.
    route-1-1024x768.jpg This mud tasted like regret
  21. You have spent time editing high-level media on vastly inappropriate hardware in a ridiculous surroundings
    route-5-1024x577.jpg Megan editing RAW photos on a Macbook Air whilst stealing electricity from a street-light in an abandoned park, just another night on the road
  22. You’ve convoyed with cyclists for security reasons
  23. You’ve trusted someone to guard your bike who has an annual salary of less than a month’s gas money
  24. You’ve matched letter shapes with those on a map because you have so little clue of the native language
  25. You’ve convinced yourself that your GS actually handles really well on sand (mine actually does though)
    cropped-header-2-of-5-1024x333.jpg See? Perfectly capable in the sand
  26. You’ve listened to, and agreed with opinions contrary to the Geneva convention merely to satisfy your drunk host
  27. You can turn any conversation (including political or religious) into one about motorcycles in under 30s
  28. You have mastered the ability to eat any known food group through a full-face motorcycle helmet
  29. You can fart whilst riding sand and not shit your pants
  30. You haven’t seen an original official document in over 3 months
  31. Half the resale value of your bike (not saying much, see point no. 4) is hidden in the frame
  32. You have ruined a dorm room for all the other inhabitants
    10-1024x767.jpg And this is just me on my own in my own room, imagine two of us with five other people in here...
  33. You have become completely comfortable with your body odor after 5 days without a shower
  34. You have viciously panel-beaten a pair of expensive panniers with the back of an axe
  35. You have received the advice: ‘I think you should see a doctor about that’
  36. You have waited out a bribe by dodgy police for over 40min because you were merely too stubborn or poor to just pay the bastards
  37. You’ve sat on a disgusting toilet seat thinking that’s its probably cleaner than you anyway
  38. At least 35% of your motorcycle’s dry weight is made up of cable ties and duct tape
  39. You have performed major surgery on your bike, in the middle of nowhere, possibly in the rain, with absolutely no trainingroute-1024x768.jpgPeru... my faultIquique-7.jpgChile - also my fault
  40. Because of the deplorable state of it, you have asked a local if you could please NOT use their toilet and use the garden instead. Which for one of the panel, resulted in them having to relieve themselves off a bridge. He felt you should know this…
  41. You have gotten into numerous very awkward situations because you don’t speak the language, this includes ordering ketchup for your french-fries and being presented with a beautiful bowl of hot tomato soup instead.
  42. You have crossed more than one international border with forged paperwork or a fake number plate
    Lago-route-34-1024x1024.jpg My numberplate has taken a beating - still the original one at this stage, or what's left of it. It is now a laminated piece of paper that is impossible to read
  43. You have attached an over-sized, highly overboard weapon to your motorcycle
    Jungle-canon-3-1024x683.jpg Readying the weapons!
    Sharpening up for the jungle with newly acquired machetes
  44. A secret, well disguised, mutual hatred of backpackers
  45. You have provided smiles to numerous poverty stricken children by seating them on your still-running bike (essential)
    route-4-1024x574.jpg Mich takes a young'n for a joyride in the Selvas
  46. You have unsuccessfully fixed a puncture more than once
    IMG_6985-683x1024.jpg Sweating like a champ to change an inner tube in the desert
  47. You have crossed an abnormally large body of water on your motorcycle without testing the depth beforehandDSC_0319-1024x744.jpg
  48. You have contracted severe, life-changing diarrhoea on a big riding day or on the top of Machu Picchu
  49. You drop your bike at least once a week, and something breaks on it at least once a month
    paso-roballos-route-1024x574.jpg This is a REALLY common sight
  50. MOST importantly of all, and the only absolutely essential item on this list: You are an adventure biker if you KNOW you are absolutely rad whenever you are on your bike, and wouldn't have it any other way
    IMG_6827-1024x768.jpg Ladies and gentleman... Mr Ed Gill


Now please people… this is a work (of ART!) in progress, so if you have anything to add, please let it be known in the comments section and it will be met with serious consideration to be added to the list. Although hard to believe, it is impossible for the panel to hit every mark the first time round
Let us know what you think should be added!
Thanks in advance – I am off to change my name in attempt to get off of Interpol’s watch list, which I am undoubtedly headlining after this article. Hey… at least I’m headlining something.
Consider the floor OPEN!
Thanks to our expert contributors:

  1. Matt Snyman
  2. Megan Snyman
  3. Martin Lampacher
  4. Mich the German
  5. Ed Gill
  6. Erdem Yucel
  7. Michnus Olivier
  8. Josh Smith
  9. Chris March
  10. Erich Rennspies
  11. And our various part-time consultants…

A good few additions to the list were just put together by Jason and Lisa from Two Wheeled Nomad - give it a read! - 2 wheeled nomad

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Hilarious and Very True!!


You know your an ADV rider if you've hiked up to a camp full of strangers in the middle of nowhere and asked if they could spare enough gas (with a cash offering of course) to fill your 3 emptied water bottles. Oh yeah and a ride back to your bike on their quad for an additional tip.

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Love it! You know your ADV worthy when- You pick out a great new route from a map and forget your taking a 460 lb + hunk of metal up over an over used mountain jeep trail and the descent is so loose and cobbley you have to walk it down most of it. When you reach the outlet of the trail at the bottom you find it totally gated off. So , the gnarly ADV motorcyclist you are you take out your "Sven Saw " and cut an opening through some brush and saplings to avoid going back over said mountain.

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