What's new
  • If you don't frequent the chat forum, make sure you read this post regarding land usage. It would be great if we could get everybody to send a comment in before Oct 7th!

The Art of the Ride Report

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
My personal opinion is that ride reports are the heart of a motorcycle forum even though it is not the most active part of the forum. It was ride reports that got me to join a motorcycle forum. It is the ride reports that have led me to meet more other riders in real life than any other part of the forums. Ride reports gives us the chance to see and experience places we other wise might not. If there is any doubt: I love ride reports!!

So why is this topic in Riding 101? It is because the ride report begins during if not before the ride. If you want pics or videos in your report those must be done during the ride and preparation normally starts before the ride just like you prepare your bike and your gear before the ride.

Not everyone everyone does ride reports because trying to do one will affect your ride. How much? It depends.

The bottom line is that doing a ride report is an art. Some people do it better than others but all of us who do have room for improvement. The purpose of this thread is to talk about what it takes to do a good ride report. If you don't do ride reports but you like to read them then your input is welcome as well. What in your opinion makes for a good report and what detracts from it. If you do ride reports, why do you do it? Do you have tips for taking pics or videos? What works for you? What about the writing? Do you change your ride planning because you want to do a ride report?

Lets get the discussion going.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Why write a ride report? I saw a post once where a guy stated that people who do ride reports are just trying to show off. I could see where someone might feel that way. Lets face it, some people get on social media and post stuff just to get attention. I can't read other people's minds but I know why I write ride reports.

Over 14 years ago I found a motorcycle forum and was drawn to the ride reports. I loved to ride and here was my chance to read about. But this was better than reading a book about riding because there were a bunch of pics. At that time there wasn't much video yet. On top of that, I could respond to the ride report to show my appreciation or ask question. This was so cool.

After reading a bunch of ride reports I thought; I could do this. So I did. I learned how to use a digital camera and how to post and eventually I went on a week long trip and did a ride report. Since that time I have done a bunch of ride reports and read even more. I just finished reading one on this forum a little while ago and really enjoyed it. It was a ride I will most likely never do myself but I was really glad to be able to experience it and see the sights through the ride report. Is reading a ride report as good as doing the ride yourself? Well Duuuh, NO. There is no way I will ever be able to do all this rides I would like to do. Reading ride reports allows me to see stuff and then decide if it is something a would like to or could do myself. It allows me to see other parts of the world that when it simply isn't possible to ride them all in my lifetime.

Anyway, those are some of the reasons I love ride reports.
 
Last edited:

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
When do you write your ride report?

Do you do it during the trip or after?

Obviously on a day ride it will be done after the ride. Well, maybe if you do it on your phone you could stop every hour or so and post the report as you go but I have yet to see that except for posting a pic or two. I'm talking about multi day trips. I have seen it done both ways and have done it both ways. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

I'll start with the post during the trip method. Way back when I first found motorcycle forums I read a ride report by a guy who quit his job and just went riding. His plan was to ride until he ran out of money. He generally updated his RR in the evenings after he was done riding. People started following his report. The invited him to stay at their place, fed him, took him fishing and all kinds of cool stuff. His ride report and the resulting interactions drastically changed his trip which ended up lasting for months. I thought that was so cool. It showed me the power of the internet in a way I had never considered. Since that ride report I have read many others where doing the report during the trip enhanced the trip itself.

So there are definite advantages to doing the report during the trip but it also takes time away from enjoying the trip. It is also not possible if you are riding in areas without internet access. I have done some ride reports while I was on the trip but have gotten away from that the last few years. I found it just took too much time away from the trip. I would still consider it if going on a really long trip, especially if I was by myself. If I am in a motel room by myself why not do the ride report instead of watching the TV?
 

DJ_MI

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Member Number
63
Posts
529
Location
M
Well said! I just checked out the RR subforum and it's coming alive! You've made a lot of contribution!

I'm grateful for the pictures I've taken on my rides. I only wish I had taken more. I've promised myself to take more pictures this season.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
I'm grateful for the pictures I've taken on my rides. I only wish I had taken more. I've promised myself to take more pictures this season.
Taking pics on rides will be one of the topics that gets a lot of discussion here. Photography is an art but taking pics on rides is a whole extra topic.
 

gpounce

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2022
Member Number
738
Posts
143
Location
Maryland
I film my longer rides (Drift camera powered by the bike), with resolution set low-ish a sdcard will last about 8hrs which is long day for sure. Post-ride I merge the files and process to create a movie for each day. Its nice to jump through them on occasion- particularly during the winter. Visually its fine but the microphone is hopelessly overwhelmed, postprocessing and filtering helps moderate some of the clipping but its pretty bad so the visual record is the thing. To keep file sizes reasonable I downsample the video which does leave the final product a bit grainy (but I do I save the originals).

On a big ride I don't much want to stop and fool around with pictures, don't care about restaurants or attractions- I'm out there for the road and the wind, chasing clouds up on the high roads, following the low ones besides the streams through the forest shadows and so on. I want the long days in the saddle building the road-head. So in the end there isn't a lot to report but a lot sure did happen, watching the video powerfully brings back the experience to mind- that is nice.

I do wish the bike camera better captures some of the still life one sees; the bear crossing the road way ahead, the funny sign, the deer I raced for a bit- all that stuff is clear from the seat but mostly a blur in the camera. OTOH it sure does capture rides in the rain well, I can see the sheets coming down, the wind and so on, drops pelting the camera - that is meditative and pleasant to replay once home and dry :)
 

kickstandsup

Why not?
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
284
Posts
523
Location
Tucson, AZ
My probably less than 2 cents, FWIW...

Two things changed my riding and ability to report on it more than anything else:

1. Using my phone as the camera, which enabled easy geolocation of the photo; and
2. Starting a "google blog" for friends and family to share trips, stories, photos, etc.

The blog is now eight years old, and has quite a bit of content that's fun, and easy, to look back on. It costs nothing, and is simple to use and share.

Perhaps its most important attribute is that it gets me to stop and take photos because I want to "feed" it. Before that, most of my stops were at gas stations, restaurants and hotels. I wouldn't even think about turning around to get a photo...oh, no...never. That's now changed, and I consider that change for the better.

Using the phone makes taking a photo easy...shake to turn on the camera, press the volume down button to snap...don't even need to remove my gloves. The phone cameras today are very good, IMO, certainly good enough for digital sharing, which is all I ever do these days. Google photos makes for easy storage and simple, quick, editing.

The geolocation for each photo is extraordinarily helpful in writing a ride report, contemporaneously and especially after the fact. It enables you to remember, and weave the story.

Where I personally draw the line is video...not a big fan. It is way too intrusive on "the ride," too much crap to take care of/think about, too time consuming to edit, and frankly, boring to watch. There is a reason people get paid millions of dollars to make movies.

Finally, you've got to want to do it. Have something to say. Expand the horizon a bit.

And know how to write in complete sentences. :lol3
 

Yinzer Moto

Well-known member
ADV+
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Member Number
4
Posts
2,783
Location
Pittsburgh
I have written several ride reports. My first ones were a jumbled mess. My last rider report was written after the trip. My buddy and I would text after we made a post. We did it in an organized manner. We copied and pasted it over to this site, https://advbikes.com/threads/3-bad-hombres-go-south-of-the-border-to-copper-canyon-mexico.362/

I started to copy some other reports but ran into technical issues. I will start to copy another one over that was a really fun ride. It will be a good bit more work. This report was done in real time and I had several issues during the ride where other inmates helped us out. Real time reports are very helpful when things go sideways but they are a lot of work to do, especially in the places we end up with limited or no cell coverage.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
My probably less than 2 cents, FWIW...

Two things changed my riding and ability to report on it more than anything else:

1. Using my phone as the camera, which enabled easy geolocation of the photo; and
2. Starting a "google blog" for friends and family to share trips, stories, photos, etc.

The blog is now eight years old, and has quite a bit of content that's fun, and easy, to look back on. It costs nothing, and is simple to use and share.

Perhaps its most important attribute is that it gets me to stop and take photos because I want to "feed" it. Before that, most of my stops were at gas stations, restaurants and hotels. I wouldn't even think about turning around to get a photo...oh, no...never. That's now changed, and I consider that change for the better.

Using the phone makes taking a photo easy...shake to turn on the camera, press the volume down button to snap...don't even need to remove my gloves. The phone cameras today are very good, IMO, certainly good enough for digital sharing, which is all I ever do these days. Google photos makes for easy storage and simple, quick, editing.

The geolocation for each photo is extraordinarily helpful in writing a ride report, contemporaneously and especially after the fact. It enables you to remember, and weave the story.

Where I personally draw the line is video...not a big fan. It is way too intrusive on "the ride," too much crap to take care of/think about, too time consuming to edit, and frankly, boring to watch. There is a reason people get paid millions of dollars to make movies.

Finally, you've got to want to do it. Have something to say. Expand the horizon a bit.

And know how to write in complete sentences. :lol3
Very interesting perspective. My experience has been completely different but it obviously works for you as I think your European Chronicles ride report is very well done. I almost never take pics with my phone. About the only time I do is when participating in a tag game and getting a pic quickly is important to avoid getting bruced.

It am sure your phone also is much better than the El Cheapo one I have. My phone doesn't take real good pics and just isn't practical to use in a riding environment. I have to take it out, select the camera and then take a pic. If I had to rely on my camera I would take very few pics. I use a camera that is attached to a strap around my neck. I can take pics while riding even wearing my thickest winter gloves. I typically take 50 to 100 pics on a full days ride and on occasion have taken over 200. The people I know who use a phone for their camera typically don't take very many riding pics. Their excuse is that it's just too much of a hassle to stop, take off their gloves, pull out their phones and take a pic.

What kind of phone do you have? Maybe some more details would be helpful for those who prefer to take pics with their phone.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
Is it a RIDE report or a STOP report?

:hmmmmm

The idea that many ride reports are actually stop reports was brought up by someone on another forum. I have read some ride reports that were all about the stops. All of the pics that were posted were take at stops. Pics of food, buildings, people, etc. Sometimes there weren't even few if any pics of motorcycles. For all the reader could see the trip could have been done in a mini van:scratch

Why is this?

Well for one thing it is much easier to take pics when stopped. For some riders it is more about the destination(s) than the ride. The motorcycle is just a tool to get them there. Or maybe the ride is important but the ride itself is hard to document.

I want to make clear that I am not against documenting stuff on stops. There can be some really interesting stuff and the stops are part of the ride. I do believe that a ride report should have SOME riding in it. The ideal balance between between riding and stops will vary by individual.

So how do you report on the RIDE?

There is no one size fits all answer to this. Personally I use writing and pics for that but videos also work great. IMO the best ride reports often use all three. I don't shoot video and don't generally have the patience to watch long video's but I have read ride reports where video really enhanced the report for me. A ride report that I read recently that IMO has a nearly perfect balance between writing, pics, video, stops and riding. That report is Yinzer Moto 's Copper Canyon report: https://advbikes.com/threads/3-bad-hombres-go-south-of-the-border-to-copper-canyon-mexico.362/

Of course when writing a ride report it really helps if you went on a truly epic ride which this one was!
 

kickstandsup

Why not?
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
284
Posts
523
Location
Tucson, AZ
Very interesting perspective. My experience has been completely different but it obviously works for you as I think your European Chronicles ride report is very well done. I almost never take pics with my phone. About the only time I do is when participating in a tag game and getting a pic quickly is important to avoid getting bruced.

It am sure your phone also is much better than the El Cheapo one I have. My phone doesn't take real good pics and just isn't practical to use in a riding environment. I have to take it out, select the camera and then take a pic. If I had to rely on my camera I would take very few pics. I use a camera that is attached to a strap around my neck. I can take pics while riding even wearing my thickest winter gloves. I typically take 50 to 100 pics on a full days ride and on occasion have taken over 200. The people I know who use a phone for their camera typically don't take very many riding pics. Their excuse is that it's just too much of a hassle to stop, take off their gloves, pull out their phones and take a pic.

What kind of phone do you have? Maybe some more details would be helpful for those who prefer to take pics with their phone.

FWIW, my current phone is a Motorola G7 Plus, nothing special, something like $200 when I bought it. I tend to replace my phone about every 3-4 years with a well-reviewed, mid-priced model. The last few have been Motorola, I've had good luck with them, but there are certainly many others out there that are similar. They get better all the time. All the photos on the 2019 part of The European Chronicles were taken with my phone.

The geolocation tags, in addition to serving as reminders, allow me to do this easily:

IMG_20210811_102400495_HDR.jpg

Screen Shot 2022-04-15 at 6.34.53 AM.png



Most android phones have "gestures" to turn things on, like the camera or the flashlight, no need to take your gloves off.

I keep the phone in my suit's left leg pocket, easy to access when I stop, even if I don't get off the bike. I don't take any photos while moving. My wife, however, is our moving photo documentarian. And she's got skills... :lol3

DSCN2963.JPG


I think a lot of phone problems are caused by mounting it to the bike...something I never do, not only to protect the phone, but also to ensure that my primary communication device is on me, not 20 feet down a ditch, should something go sideways.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
My phone is three years old and on it's last legs so I will be replacing it soon. I'll pay more attention to the camera this time although I expect to still mostly use my camera's.
 

kickstandsup

Why not?
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
284
Posts
523
Location
Tucson, AZ
Is it a RIDE report or a STOP report?

:hmmmmm

The idea that many ride reports are actually stop reports was brought up by someone on another forum. I have read some ride reports that were all about the stops. All of the pics that were posted were take at stops. Pics of food, buildings, people, etc. Sometimes there weren't even few if any pics of motorcycles. For all the reader could see the trip could have been done in a mini van:scratch

Why is this?

Well for one thing it is much easier to take pics when stopped. For some riders it is more about the destination(s) than the ride. The motorcycle is just a tool to get them there. Or maybe the ride is important but the ride itself is hard to document.

I want to make clear that I am not against documenting stuff on stops. There can be some really interesting stuff and the stops are part of the ride. I do believe that a ride report should have SOME riding in it. The ideal balance between between riding and stops will vary by individual.

So how do you report on the RIDE?

There is no one size fits all answer to this. Personally I use writing and pics for that but videos also work great. IMO the best ride reports often use all three. I don't shoot video and don't generally have the patience to watch long video's but I have read ride reports where video really enhanced the report for me. A ride report that I read recently that IMO has a nearly perfect balance between writing, pics, video, stops and riding. That report is Yinzer Moto 's Copper Canyon report: https://advbikes.com/threads/3-bad-hombres-go-south-of-the-border-to-copper-canyon-mexico.362/

Of course when writing a ride report it really helps if you went on a truly epic ride which this one was!

I have a slightly different view...I look at my reports as a "travel log" that happens to be done on my vehicle of choice. That means I want to document the travel experience...the sights, views, attractions, hotels, food, people, experiences...AND the road/bike part of the journey.

I try for balance, not one or the other. I think that makes for a more interesting read.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
I have a slightly different view...I look at my reports as a "travel log" that happens to be done on my vehicle of choice. That means I want to document the travel experience...the sights, views, attractions, hotels, food, people, experiences...AND the road/bike part of the journey.

I try for balance, not one or the other. I think that makes for a more interesting read.
I absolutely agree. I think your ride report strikes a very good balance. My point was that where that balance point should be varies by person. Some prefer all ride, some all stop but most are somewhere in between. There is no right or wrong here, just personal preferences.

I think that documenting the ride part of a trip is harder to do and something I struggle with. I know how fantastic I was feeling when I did the ride but how do I get how great the riding was into the report so the reader can experience it? Lets face it, we all have some room for improvement in our ride reports. I know I do because I am never 100% satisfied with how my ride reports come out. One reason my reports have gotten better IMO is because of what I have learned from reading others ride reports.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
I think that the balance between Ride and STOP will also depend on the ride/trip itself. I recently to a ride to a dealer that had a motorcycle museum. Afterwards I did a ride report. Most of the pics and report where about the STOP at the museum where I took a bazillion pics. The ride itself was not that exciting and I only took a few pics while riding.
 

Stormdog

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2022
Member Number
570
Posts
75
Location
Almost southern Oregon
To paraphrase an old adage, “ Stormdog has a ride report in him, and that’s where it should stay”
Props to you folks with the ability to take a great photo and then surround it with flowery prose.
but that’s not my calling.
Heck I’ve been on 3 rides in the last 6 months that would probably qualify as “ epic adventure rides” in a lot of guys books and I doubt I have one photo worth posting.
And as is obvious from this rambling post I lack the ability to put my thoughts into print.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
To paraphrase an old adage, “ Stormdog has a ride report in him, and that’s where it should stay”
Props to you folks with the ability to take a great photo and then surround it with flowery prose.
but that’s not my calling.
Heck I’ve been on 3 rides in the last 6 months that would probably qualify as “ epic adventure rides” in a lot of guys books and I doubt I have one photo worth posting.
And as is obvious from this rambling post I lack the ability to put my thoughts into print.
I think that the majority of riders out there don't do ride reports. That's OK. Why do a ride report if you don't want to? Then there are a lot of people who don't do their own ride reports but comment or participate in other people's ride reports. That's OK too.

Then there are people out there who don't even ride:loco Now that is something I don't understand:lol3
 

Stormdog

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2022
Member Number
570
Posts
75
Location
Almost southern Oregon
I can’t speak for others, but in my case it’s more of a lack of talent then not wanting to.
It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen the inside of classroom in over 45 years.
 

klaviator

Scooter Trash
ADV+
Joined
Feb 8, 2022
Member Number
431
Posts
1,396
Location
Alabama
I can’t speak for others, but in my case it’s more of a lack of talent then not wanting to.
It doesn’t help that I haven’t seen the inside of classroom in over 45 years.
If that is the case then I think you may be selling yourself short. The nice thing about a ride report is that you don't have to be a great or even good writer. You can let pictures tell most of the story. There are plenty of people out there who are neither very good writers or photographers who do some pretty interesting ride reports. You do have to take the time to take some pics. If you are excited about riding it will come through in the report.
 

Top Bottom