The Long Way Round series, which chronicles Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s trip around the world on BMW GS motorcycles, has inspired many motorcyclists to take multiple month motorcycle trips in search of the grand adventure. For most of us, circumnavigation of the globe exceeds our resources and annual vacation time. Enter the Awesome Players Off-Road Motorcycle Club -- six regular guys who find their adventure close to home on Sunday mornings – to inspire the rest of us.
The club documents their rides with point of view video, which founding member Riley Harlton edits and assembles into extraordinary tales of the possible.
“I think the videos show people that you can go out and have a good time without it being the Road of Bones”, Riley said during a phone interview. The Road of Bones is a road in Siberia featured in The Long Way Round.
The group, whose main members are Riley Harlton, Henrik Molnar, Chris Drake, Charles Harlton, Joe Gaspar and Jason Mccullough, is based in and around Montreal. Their rides take place mostly on dirt roads and trails in Quebec within an hour of the city. Riding along with their crew looks and feels similar to riding in Vermont.
Because their rides frequently require an hour of street riding before getting to the trails, the group favors larger dual sports, like the BMW F800GS, the HP2 and the DR650.
The riding isn’t awe inspiring, nor is it meant to be. The boys crash, get stuck and occasionally get a little bit lost. They break bits off their bikes, laugh and get up again. They never seem to get angry and are clearly having a good time. As Riley says, “bad riding makes good video”.
The fact the riding in their videos is achievable is a great part their appeal. It’s easy to put yourself in their place, having fun, challenging yourself and cheering your friends.
Their rides take place mostly on Sunday mornings. The group meets at 6 a.m. and they are home by noon or 1 p.m. to spend time with the family. Riley has seven year old triplet girls, Henrik has a 4 year old and Chris has a 1 year old and family is important to all the members.
The group began four years ago, when Riley connected with Henrik. “Riding on the road was waning for me”, said Riley. “Dual sporting gave us access to this whole new world”.
“More stuff just happens on a dual-sport ride,” Riley said. Compare to street riding, “we can have a whole summer’s worth of stories that you’d get from street riding in a four hour dual sport ride.”
Riley is truly grateful for the friends he has made through dual-sport riding. “The biggest bonus to me has been the group of guys I have met,” he said. There is something special about the friends you make when you go through adventures together, he said.
Riley, who works in video post-production, began assembling their video and posting them on YouTube to share it with the guys in the club. It didn’t take long before the videos had thousands of views from around the world.
The group now has several hundred associate members, including members from Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Russia, and Latvia. “We have been in contact with so many nice people,” Riley said.
In the end, what makes the Awesome Players awesome, is their down to earth enthusiasm for the sport. They demonstrate that adventure riding is attainable to all who seek it, even if it is only an hour from home.
Awesome Players MC Summer
Follow the boy’s adventures during the summer of 2011 as Chris, Riley and Henrik ride around some of their usual trails and back-roads
Ice, Mud, Bent Wheels, Broken Mirrors, Cut Faces
A pretty typical APORMC video. In this episode, Riley, Chris and Jason head out for an early season ride
Oureau Forest Ride 3/4/2010
Riley and Chris go for an early season ride through the snow and ice.
APORMC member Jason did get the inspiration to do a "round-the-world" motorcycle trip. Here is his trip log on the ADVRider forum.