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Proof You Don’t Need an Adventure Bike To Ride the World

Five examples show anything with two wheels can take you around the world.

Published on 09.03.2015

4. Doug Wothke Riding a 1962 Harley Panhead Chopper

If there is any motorcycle more inappropriate for adventure riding than a raked out Harley, Doug Wothke has probably ridden it around the world, too. That includes marathon rides on a 1948 Indian Chief, riding Russia’s “Road of Bones” on a Harley-Davidson Sportster, and the Trans America Trail on a Harley Electra Glide.

Wothke, who hails from Alabama, is legendary for taking bikes places they were not meant to go. His 2009 ride on the chopper is one of the many excellent ride reports on his motorcycle travel website, motosapiens.org. Doug’s trips are all amply documented with photos and bike-build details, and they’re all pretty crazy. Think of Wothke slewing around in the Russian mud on his fenderless chopper with a foot-operated clutch the next time you feel like complaining about a little rain on your adventure ride.


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The chopper ride is special, because it just seems insane. Wothke starts with a 1962 Panhead that he tears down, and then adds a springer front end — no conventional hydraulic fork legs to absorb bumps, just two large springs — to make things even more interesting. The rear suspension doesn’t exactly scream “adventure” either, as the bike doesn’t have one. Two springs under the seat are the only thing between Wothke and the potholes. He adds flames to the tank, a duffle bag to the sissy bar, some saddlebags and off he goes through Canada, Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Japan and back to the U.S.

Read more about Doug’s travels on the Motosapiens Website.

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Author: Bob Whitby
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10 thoughts on “Proof You Don’t Need an Adventure Bike To Ride the World

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  2. It so easy to get caught up in making sure you have the best bike, best gear, best time to travel that its easy, as the article states, to miss adventure. Thanks for the great Friday morning inspirational article.

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