Paradise Re-Found

Story by David G. Williams// Photos by David G. Williams
February 20 2024

This writer had a burning desire to once again ride off-road, and actually changed bikes to make it happen.

Here’s the thing about time: It only moves forward, never back. But such is life. With that in mind the past few years, and having become a senior citizen against my will, I was ruminating over how much I missed the ability to go off-road and explore, and to also do some rough camping. My Street Glide was a thing of beauty and I loved riding it, but I really was developing an itch to go in the woods for days wearing the same clothes and not showering. My ever-tolerant wife, Janiebelle, was not in favour of this. So I needed to do some thinking. I almost pulled a muscle…

Ultimately, I decided that the Street Glide had to go. I can always get another one, right? Right? And I purchased a shiny new BMW 850 GS Adventure, complete with the requisite large metal boxes. I was all set! Or was I?

It had been years since I’d ridden an adventure bike, let alone off-road with a full load of gear. So, I decided some re-training was in order. After all, I didn’t want to break a hip and die, and apparently that’s what happens when you break a hip, and I have two of them.


This is where Pacific Riding School came in. I have written about this school in the past (“The Knucklehead Gets Schooled” — July 2017). Its Adventure Course is a certified BMW Motorrad Enduro Training program. There are only a handful of these in Canada, so I was lucky to have one close to Vancouver.

The Level 1 course found 11 of us, men and women of all ages (well, the oldest was in his seventies) attending a three-hour Friday night classroom session with lead instructor Mark “Kramer” Kruger, covering topics such as tools, dangers, bike set-up, and proper riding stance. The following Sunday was a full day of on-bike instruction at their outdoor facility, covering a range of terrain and obstacles.

My BMW hadn’t arrived yet, so my dealer, High Road Motorsports, was kind enough to cover a school rental Suzuki DR650. Even this entry-level course had us all sweating with exertion, though the temperature never rose above 17 C. We were all tense on our bikes, not yet trusting them, or our skills, but the instructors were excellent and very encouraging. My goals were to: 1) refresh my skills enough to get back to off-roading, and…


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