Ride North – Week 1

Finally able to write a solid post on our first week on the road – I was out of my laptop for a while, having left it in Crater Lake. Now writing from Seattle! Let’s re-wind to Friday the 20th…


We left early in the morning from San Francisco with our friends Jameson, Todd, Alex and Rich, which made for a great variety in bikes riding up the coastal Highway 1; we had two Harley Road Glides, a V-Strom, a café’d out four-cylinder Honda CB750 and of course our KLR and Ducati. After some early, early morning coffee we blasted over the Golden Gate Bridge and wasted no time going on to the twisty coastal road. We rode fast; our friends certainly know how to ride.

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Ride North: the Ducati GT1000 Adventure Edition

The first question I get from many fellow motorcycle riders when I tell them of the Ride North is “What are you riding?”. We’re all gear-heads deep down, and it’s always interesting to see what someone rides on long journeys. Are you one of those crazy Harley tourer-guys? A KTM freak? Trusty BMW all the way?

And then I get the pleasure of telling them I’m taking my Ducati SportClassic – the GT1000.

The Ducati SportClassic line is famous for being sexy, pricy, and very discontinued. It was featured in Tron Legacy and shortly thereafter Ducati ceased production despite its cult following. Even today, many aftermarket parts are made for it and there are entire communities dedicated to customizing and showing off their one bike in that limited pool of SportClassics. Many people have called them the most beautiful bikes of recent times, and I agree.

Myself, I have the touring edition; the Sport 1000 may be sexy, but has the ergonomics of a torture bench. Thus, Ducati made a version with a nice seat, upright seating position and regular handlebars called the GT1000. I got my 2008 GT1000 from a man in Temecula and immediately rode it to San Francisco (505 miles), planning to take it further than any single bike of this type has ever gone…

And boy, is it comfortable. This bike suits my body type (I’m 6’2″) and riding style perfectly. It’s very fast, has a lot of power and sounds superb. These bikes are famous for needing quite a bit of modification to reach their actual potential, and mine had a lot of these already done when I picked her up: it was outfitted with the Ducati Performance ECU, airbox and Termignoni exhausts. It also had a small chrome luggage rack, a windshield and the Ducati aftermarket comfort seat. The latter makes a huge difference.

Still, that is no setup to be taking to Alaska. I present you with Sebastiaan’s one and only Ride North GT1000 Adventure Edition:

The modifications include:

  • Barkbusters Storm handguards with solid metal, double-mounted bar end lever guards
  • RAM mount with 12V socket hooked right into the bike battery for phone charging and heated gear
  • Ducati Performance tank cover with 32L tank bag
  • Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires
  • Speedymoto long frame sliders
  • Ventura Rack system with long ‘sissy bar’ style tail bag mount and rack for tent
  • A customized Hepco-Becker heavy duty GT1000 pannier rack
  • Hepco-Becker KTM 950 ‘Gobi’ panniers (bought used)
  • Aritronix Ride Scorpio GPS logger with tilt sensor, proximity sensor and alarm
  • Two RotoPax 2 gallon fuel containers
  • All in all, this brings the bike up to a fairly massive luggage carrying capacity, protects it from spills and bad weather as well as doubling its range.

    It took quite a bit of searching and working on the parts to make it all fit the bike and work together (the Ventura rack and Hepco-Becker rack had some funny interactions out of the box) but in the end, it all worked out very well.

    We’ll see how she holds up on the Alaskan highway and its side roads!

    Ride North: Plotting a course

    With any trip, preparations are essential. Our Ride North to Alaska is no different. In the next two weeks leading up to our departure, I will share our preparations and techniques of packing, preparing and otherwise getting ready for an intense trip of a lifetime.

    Ride North - mapping the ride-1

    If you haven’t yet, please support our Kickstarter for a photo book!

    Road trip planning is a fun thing to do: you get to stare at a lot of maps and get excited about the many points of interest along your route. For motorcycle trips, there’s additional things to take into consideration, and for a ride this far and through potentially difficult conditions and areas even more so. Read along to see how we have planned out Ride North!

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