Miles By Motorcycle originally grew out of my desire to have a better place for my friends and I to discuss, plan, and document our motorcycle travels.
There's quite a bit of of knowledge involved in travelling long distance by motorcycle. There are bikes to consider for differents kinds of trips. There are awesome roads hidden between seemingly endless superslab and conjested towns. There are hidden gem places only locals know. There are shops, restaurants, cool old hotels, campgrounds, and sites to see. There are techniques to learn and skills to hone. There's good equipment and bad. The farkles never end and what parts to buy are a constant topic. Peruse advrider.com or any other motorcycle travel forums and you'll see they contain a wealth of knowledge, insights, and recommendations that are often hard to find as they are drowned out by a cacophony of other posts. And, if you're like me, finding those great posts when you need them again later is a constant challenge.
ADVrider and forums like it are a great resource but I wanted something different. I wanted to build a place where our normal everyday conversations would turn into a kind of "actionable" geographic library that we could use to start dreaming about trips. Then with all those potential trip ideas neatly organized in one place, turn them into concrete plans and then into action. And once we've returned from our travels Out There, tell our story so that others can start building their dreams off of them.
You could think of it as "closing the loop". Read stories of travel to far away places to fuel your imagination. Plan. Go ride. Come back and tell your story. Start the process over again.
For example, I recently took a trip down to the Smoky Mountains on my Suzuki DR650SE to go explore unpaved roads with Wayne Busch who runs America Rides Maps. It was a great trip filled with good company, fantastic roads, and unbelievable views.
During my return trip, I happened upon what is now one of my favorite roads. Mt Sterling road runs through the Smokey Mountains National Park and is a simply awesome road that I intend to ride again the next time I'm down there. If you like unpaved mountain roads that turn into wickedly twisty smooth pavement I strongly suggest it. It's a blast.
Now, what do you do with this information?
What if you could just click on it and save it on some map for later?
What if you could do the same with any photo?
On Facebook, I've often been frustrated when photos of great roads are posted and I have no way to find out where they are. I want to be able to click on it, add it to a list or a map, and then, when I have the time or am in that general area, ask the question, "Remind me again, what roads in this area did I mean to ride? Where was that waterfall or overlook?"
Having that kind of capability would change my trips for the better. However, to turn this idea into a reality, I needed to build my own mapping system, search engine, and site software that organizes all the elements of mapping differently than I've seen done.
This then answers the question I have been asked so often, "Dude, are you nuts? Why are you building all this instead of using something like Wordpress?"
It has turned out to be quite the insanely large project for just one developer (little 'ol me all by my lonesome) but, while still actively in development, it is now near the stage where it can be successfully used to plan trips, mark great new roads, and document rides. There are a number of other things in the works as well.
As a side-effect, it's also a turned into pretty good way of building motorcycle maps, planning routes, editing tracks, and working with GPX files.
I put together an article that describes the mapping features here on the site: On Mapping: Mapping on Miles-By-Motorcycle.com
There are also blogs, discussion forums, photos, videos, links archives, and much more.