fueled by ADV

Adventure motorcycling maneuvers stateside.

Adventure motorcycling maneuvers stateside.

No matter what kind of bike they ride, all motorcyclists share a passion for the two-wheel lifestyle. You have the hipster scooter crowd and café racer contingent, as well as dirt track rats, the crotch rocket street fleet, and those all-American highway hogs.

But there is a new American motorcyclist out there. They are adventurers. Adventure motorcycles (affectionately referred to as ADV) are hybrid beasts that are built to take riders from their home garage to the highway and from the highway to trails, creeks, and dunes. Eventually, they arrive at a campsite. Then, the next day, it’s back on the road.

Alex Trajano has a restless spirit. He’s an audio engineer based in both New York City and Detroit who used to tour with bands — getting his kicks behind a drum set. Seeking a new thrill, he recently took up motorcycling. Quickly, however, he felt confined by riding around the city, and an urge to journey further and do greater things took hold.

We spoke with Trajano about this newfound calling to push himself — and his ADV motorcycle — to explore the world, two wheels at a time.

FueledBy: Have you always been infatuated with motorcycles?

Alex Trajano: As a kid, my group of friends went to auto shows, monster truck pulls and motocross races. I remember seeing Bob “Hurricane” Hannah (one of the most successful motocross racers in American history) at the Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome. One of my buddies had a little dirt bike with two or three gears, and we’d ride it behind the school and in somebody’s big back yard. I remember it was the coolest thing in the world. Then, when I was about 17, the Honda Rebel came out. I had my license and a job and money in the bank. I was going to buy this thing — but my parents shut it down, like “You’re living in our house; you’re not buying a motorcycle.” That was that.

FB: Until when? What changed?

AT: My mom passed away about a year-and-a-half ago. My dad passed maybe 10 years before that. I’m like middle-aged now, you know? I went through this whole thing about not having parents anymore and how weird that is. That made me think about my own mortality and what experiences I wanted in my life. One of those experiences involved this idea of riding motorcycles.

FB: When did a mere idea, an old dream, really evolve into the reality of owning something with two wheels and a motor?

AT: At first, I thought I just wanted something to dip around town on, so I thought maybe I’d get a scooter. I saw someone on a moped and thought, “I used to do that when I was a kid, and it was a blast. I should get one to tool around town.” The more I researched, the more I found videos of guys using these tricked-out little 50 CC scooters going on crazy adventures. That sense of freedom spoke to me so hard. The more I thought about the possibilities, the more I started thinking about a real motorcycle and where that could take me.

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FB: And your memory started harkening back to those Honda Rebel dreams you had when you were 17?

AT: Yes! It satisfied that childhood urge while also satisfying this very adult urge to use the time I have left in this life to do things that I wanted to do. At the exact same time I’m feeling this way, Honda releases the newly designed Honda Rebel 500. Everything clicked. It was so poetic because I was like “This is the bike I wanted when I was a kid!”

FB: I understand the love affair was short lived.

AT: True. I got the bike. It was a cool bike. Easy and fun to ride. The more I rode it, the more I thought about how and where I wanted to ride. I started watching more videos about these people — men and women, alone and in groups — going on really cool adventures, long-distance trips, camping in the middle of nowhere, all on their motorcycles. I wasn’t even a big camper before. I hated it as a kid. But something clicked when I watched the series Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman. They take some training and two bikes and ride from the UK to New York the long way — through Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, back in to Russia and across to Alaska, and finally across North America and finish in New York City.

FB: Certainly you wouldn’t do that kind of a trip on a bike like the Rebel. When did you decide to jump into ADV riding headfirst?

AT: People were telling me that I had to figure out what kind of rider I wanted to be. Then, I went on a little trip — just about 90 minutes away — maybe two hours — out into the country. I realized that I loved the long-distance thing and was annoyed by all the stops you had to make driving in the city. I was thinking about these so-called “adventure bikes” I was seeing in these videos, especially that Long Way Round series. These bikes are made to take you from where the pavement ends to trails, across river beds, wherever you might want to go. They’re souped-up enduro-style motorcycles. So, I’m becoming enamored by adventure bikes and ride up to this campsite where I happen to randomly meet a guy from South Carolina who’s one of these adventure riders. He tells me about the Triumph Tiger 800. Keeps going on about it. Really talking it up.

The ADV rider is hard to explain, but I’d say they want to explore greater terrain in search of greater possibilities.

FB: We have all kinds of motorcyclists out there. Who’s your average ADV rider?

AT: First, they’re more into gear than wrenching on bikes. Sometimes they look like storm troopers — lots of gear, bikes are kitted-out and modified to the max. Maybe they look like they’re riding into the apocalypse. They like to go out in the woods and camp. They like riding long distance. They don’t like being told where they can or cannot go. And they’re from all walks of life — teachers, doctors, even sound engineers! The ADV rider is hard to explain, but I’d say they want to explore greater terrain in search of greater possibilities.

FB: Now that you’re all in on ADV, where do you want to go and what do you want to accomplish?

AT: One day, I want to do an epic solo trip somewhere in the states. Just to experience that for myself and to test myself. Those high stakes really excite me. I just want to go.