Interview with Atlas Rider

If you are into reading trip reports, seeing videos and pictures from long rides, Atlas Rider is the blog to look for. Therefore I was very happy to make an interview with Bill about his blog and his trips.

  • Cristian: So Bill, you are only 26 and already have an impressive list of ride reports that make me jealous. What’s the catch?

Bill: Well not having many too many responsibilities sure helps. I work your average 9-5 job as a software developer during the week. I am constantly day dreaming about places to ride. Whenever I can steal away for a long weekend I jump on the opportunity, and once I have enough vacation time I head out for a week long trip that I’ve been planning in my mind months before. I’m still in the process of organizing my ride reports and there are three that I haven’t added yet (Week in the Appalachians, Deals Gap and my 2 week Cross Country trip).

  • Cristian: What bike do you ride, and how does it work? What customizations you did?

Bill: I ride a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650r. I have been incredibly pleased with it’s performance over the past two years. It is a great bike for commuting, zipping around town and is very capable for touring. I have added R&G frame sliders, fender eliminator kit, Powerlet electrical outlet, IPod Nano mount, swapped stock bars for lower drag bars, Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx mount, and a Throttlemiester throttle lock.

  • Cristian: You say on your blog that you bought your first bike in 2006. But where did you catch the motorcycle bug?

Bill: In the summer of 2005 a friend of mine taught me how to ride back in Chicago. After taking a couple rides around town I was hooked. I loved the feeling of freedom on the road. After that I spent the winter researching bikes and after the snow melted, bought myself the Ninja 650r.

  • Cristian: All your ride reports are really impressive and nice. But what would be the ride you remember the most?

Bill: The particular ride I remember most is the road to the summit of Mt Evans in Colorado. It is the highest paved road in US at 14,258 feet. It was summer time and in the valleys it was a comfortable 80 degrees. The road climbed and climbed and the temperature must have dropped 40 degrees and all of a sudden I found myself riding along side the clouds. It was an amazing experience.

  • Cristian: I get from your blog that you are a lonely rider. So I guess you have a lot of time to think and feel while you are riding alone, could you describe the feelings?

Bill: I like riding with others, but it’s hard to find those willing to go the distances I like traveling. I find there is more of a sense of adventure when I’m going it alone. Whatever happens, I don’t have anyone else to count on. It’s nice to have someone there to help when things get rough, I think there is something more is accomplished when riding alone. When riding with someone else there is this invisible bubble that surrounds the both of you. When you have someone else to talk to you tend not to look for the company of strangers as often. Conversations strike up pretty easily and I’ve met some very interesting people along the way that I don’t think I could have had I not been going solo.

  • Cristian: You have some interesting touring tips so I have to ask, what was the nastiest thing that ever happen to you while riding?

Bill: I was riding through some farm land in Minnesota when all of a sudden I felt this intense burning sensation on my chest. It was unbearable. I quickly pulled off to the side of the road, fumbled to rip my gloves off and unzip my jacket to see what was causing it. From the time it started it took 30 seconds, which felt like forever, to find out that the cherry from a cigarette had managed to swoop over my collar and into my jacket. I always ride with gear that keeps my skin covered. The odds of that happening were incredible, but to this day I’m still very wary of smokers in cars up ahead.

  • Cristian: Any tips on saving gas while taking the longer roads?

Bill: Stay consistent on the throttle (throttle locks help) and try and find your MPG sweet spot. Go 60 for a tank of gas and see how many miles you get out of it, then 65, then 70, ect. My sweet spot is 75-80.

  • Cristian: I know from my experience that an important part of any trip is getting to places with excellent food. What would you say is the best place to eat from your trips?

Bill: There is no one place that sticks out in my mind as being the best, but when I’m looking for places I try and find greasy spoons or Mom n Pop restaurants. Fast food is easier to find, but a Whopper tastes the same everywhere so I try and stay away from the franchise places.

  • Cristian: You seem to have visited a lot of places. What’s next when you run out of places?

Bill: I don’t think there is any shortage of places to ride. If I do run out of places, I’ll just start over and ride the roads I had forgotten about. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m trying to expand my range internationally, and since I live in Arizona then Mexico is the next logical step for me hence my week long Mexico trip next I’m leaving for on Saturday!. I’m already day dreaming about a a trip along the Pan American highway from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina, but that is years away for me unless I win the lotto next week. One of my goals for is to try and bring my riding experiences to the web. Integration of YouTube videos and Google Maps, what I call “AtlasVideos“, is a step in that direction. If people enjoy my content enough I’m hoping I can extend my journeys longer (indefinitely?) and blog while riding around the world.

  • Cristian: That’s a tricky question. What do you think you will tell your children about these trips?

Bill: I imagine I will be boring them with my ride reports and videos, or if they happen to bring up something that even remotely relates to my previous trips I’ll start off on a big rant. “You’re writing a report on the Grand Tetons? Why I rode through there in the summer of 2007. Elevation was about 5,000 so it was fairly cool and at the time there was a lot of road construction, <continues on long crazy story>, ect.

  • Cristian: Do you still remember your first trip?

Bill: My first “big trip” was to a concert in Detroit 300 miles away from Chicago. The forecast predicted intermediate rain the whole way, but I hated the idea of sitting in my car for 4-5 hours so I decided to ride. I parked my bike around the corner and left in front of my Mom in my car. I met up with my bike and saddled up out of view of my Mom so she didn’t have to worry about me riding in the rain. By now Mom has gotten used to my riding. Now I hear her say, “Oh well, 1000 miles isn’t that long.”

  • Cristian: What’s the best trip in your area?

Bill: My favorite road in Arizona is US60 in between Globe and Show Lo. Lots of fast sweepers and some switchbacks as well. I have heard a lot about US191. Now, there is more to a “trip” than a road, however I tend to favor the road part more than anything. I would have to say that the best “trip” in my area would be to Sedona. Beautiful sights and roads to match.

  • Cristian:What other motorcycle blogs do you read?

Bill: Figure I would save you some time and created a list of links.

and of course Honda Motorcycle Blog

Cristian: Thanks for the interview, and I can’t wait for your trip report when you come back!


  • beemerchef |

    Very kind of you to mention Spirit and I… I am nearing 60, We left a couple years ago, bit too early and I just have the feeling that you will do the same. Everything you have said is so true! In the meantime you are seeing a lot… I hope that Photography somehow takes over as it has taken over our Journey… it becomes almost a battle within to forget that shot for that incredible pleasure of non stop riding, specially when the wind is on your tail! Have a great one and be well… from the both of us… Ara & Spirit

  • Mark Nelson |

    Art of the Ride,” a one person show of etchings, pastel drawings, and paintings by Mark Nelson. Nelson, a former resident of the Panama Canal Zone has been living and working in the city of Chicago for 25 years. The art presented here both celebrates the act of riding as well as Nelson’s use of social sarcasm. An Opening Reception with English Ale is scheduled for October 10, 2008 from 5:00PM – 10:30PM at MotoWorks 1901 South Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60608. This show will run from October 10 – December 10, 2008. For more information, please call MotoWorks at 312-738-4269.

  • Fernando |

    I went into a motorcycle rental tour with these guys and is just better than renting on your own (In santiago,Chile). You have a guide and a back up truck. If you want to rent a motorcycle just to go around on a solo short trip these people do that too. Fernando.

So, what do you think ?