The Journey

I’m a sucker for good marketing

A life without dreams simply has no meaning.
–– Soichiro Honda
I’m a Honda rider; I’m never really sure, however, whether you could call me a Honda guy. My emotional relationship with the manufacturer of the bike I ride is often tenuous. You can see that in a number of posts I’ve written over the past few years: the time I compared Honda to professional wrestler Lance Storm,the time I lamented Honda’s utter lack of coolness, the time I compared my bike to an ex-girlfriend, and so on.
Of course, the mind immediately jumps to the question of whether it’s necessary to be an anything guy. Why not just buy/ride whatever bike it is that you like according to your needs and wants at the time, rather than trying to shoehorn yourself into the illusory lifestyle of any given motorcycle manufacturer? After all, motorcycle ownership is not religion.
But I suppose we could learn a little about motorcycling from at least one religion: Sikhism. To paraphrase Guru Nanak, there is no Harley Guy, there is no Honda Guy, but each of us must still choose a motorcycle.
I digress. The point is: I’m a Honda owner but I often feel something akin to embarrassment because of it. People will ask me what kind of bike I ride and too often I’ll attenuate my answer with words like “only” or “just,” e.g., “Oh, it’s only a little 600cc Honda, but what I really want is…”
Nevermind that my “little 600cc Honda” delivers more horsepower than a 1200cc Harley-Davidson Sportster, is more fuel-efficient and everyday useful than an Indian Chief Classic, and has better brakes than every bike Victory has ever made. For some reason, I have in my head a silly, childish, aesthetic, and all too often financially-based (a) vision of what coolness is, and Honda doesn’t really fit within that.
But then there are things like the picture above of world-travelling Stephanie Jeavons, or my own interaction with American nomad Steve Johnson, or the chance conversations I’ve had with people like the guy I met at Motorcycle Live who had put 87,000 miles on his ST1300 and said of it: “Be careful if you get one because the bloody thing won’t die and you won’t have any good reason to replace it when you decide you want something new.”
These people are adventurers. Their gear is often makeshift and almost always worn out from use. They just go and go and go, in part because the bike they’ve chosen doesn’t stop. And that’s pretty cool. 
But because I’m a Gen X dude who can’t think for himself, I sometimes need the capitalist machine to remind me that Hondas are cool. Which is why I have been really digging the marketing campaign for the forthcoming True Adventure motorcycle.

I kind of wonder how this hype will jive with the actual automatic transmission motorcycle that I saw displayed at Motorcycle Live, but, you know, Who cares, man?! These videos are awesome. Especially that second one (b); I’ve watched it about a dozen times thus far. And each time I do, it manages to set off a little voice in my head that yelps: “I need a Honda so I can explore all the things.”

Hey, wait! I already have a Honda! Go me! I can explore all the things right now! Yay! Fire up Google Maps and let the dreaming begin!

And therein you have the power of good marketing. Harley-Davidson, of course, does it incredibly well, but this is the first time I can remember being struck by any sort of Honda campaign. Well done, Big Red: you’ve made me feel happy to be a Honda owner.

Though, I’m still not sure if I’m a Honda guy…

(a) For example, Hondas have a reputation for durability and quality. BMWs also have a reputation for durability and quality. BMWs definitely don’t look much better than Hondas, so why do I swoon over them more? The only logical answer is that I am somehow enchanted (and duped) by the fact that they are more expensive.

(b) One of the people featured in the video is Steph Jeavons, who is Welsh and is a partial inspiration for my own Great Welsh Tea Towel Adventure.