Endless Summer Cruisin' with Tiffani Burkett
Endless Summer Cruisin' with Tiffani Burkett
A little about Tiffany Burkett
Tiffani Burkett had been drawn to adventure since she was a young videogame nerd, and this was only compounded when she learned to ride a motorcycle at the age of 21. Her commuting quickly turned to canyons, which even more quickly turned to Road Racing.
When she got laid off from her job, she decided that was going to be an opportunity instead of a tragedy, and set off with her Yamaha FZ-07 and her trusty tent to ride cross country from her home in Los Angeles to the Florida Keys. But like any trip where that 5 minute commute somehow accidentally finds a scenic 100 mile detour through the mountains, the trip snowballed from a month long jaunt to touring 49 of the 50 states in the US, 3 Provinces of Canada, 31 States of Mexico, riding down to the end of the road in Panama and back, and even working on a race team in Ireland, hitting 11 countries over 60,000 miles, spanning over a year and a half. Tiffani is also a Columnist for Motorcyclist Magazine writing about her travels with friends, family and other motorcyclists with the heart of an adventurer. Click here to view Tiffani's articles in Motorcyclist Magazine.
Q&A with Tiffany Burkett
-Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into riding.
I wish I had a good story for all of this, but for me, riding was something I did totally on a whim. I didn't know anyone who rode, and my family didn't ride, but I have an overactive imagination that comes up with a lot of questionable plans.
-What type of bike(s) are you riding?
My favorite bike will always be my race bike, but I always keep a range. I have a 2009 Ninja 250 in full race trim, a 2003 KLX125 studded with ice screws for learning to ride dirt and snow, and of course, my 2015 FZ-07 streetfighter turned adventure bike. Sport bikes have always been my preference.
-Have you taken any exciting rides or adventures since IMS?
Since I've been taking a break in Montana, the long winter (Like, 6 freaking months long) has had me doing quite a bit of ice riding to stave off the withdrawal. I've been taking my bike out on the frozen lakes and roads around Flathead Valley and tooling around the ski mountains. It turns out, grip on the ice is as good as grip on pavement with the right screws in your tires! Now that the snow has started to melt, I've also been riding in some of the drained lake beds through dunes and mud and even some quicksand. I've always been a street and track rider, so all of my adventures have been geared toward getting better at other disciplines!
-What’s your next big adventure for the Summer?
I have a one way ticket to Thailand booked for May 1st! I'm planning to go over there mostly to scuba dive, but I'm also hoping to hunt down a cheap little 125 or something to tool around on for a while. I'd like to explore South East Asia on a bike a little more appropriate for the region than my FZ-07, and eventually, I want to make it up to Russia and span the whole Trans-Siberian highway. That's going to depend on sorting out Visas though, which is a bit challenging in Russia.
-What is your favorite place to ride and why?
The racetrack! Obviously, as an adventure rider over the last few years, I've seen a ton of amazing roads, Blue Ridge Parkway and CA-2 in El Salvador being the 2 that stand out the most in my mind off-hand as favorites, but my first love is always going to be the track where the riding is pure and unfettered by traffic and cliffs, and I've met more amazing people than I can count. Sonoma Raceway in Northern California is by far my favorite track, but I'll always have a special bond with Chuckwalla Valley Raceway where I started my club racing career with CVMA.
-What advice would you get to riders who are looking the ultimate adventure ride?
Don't Plan anything. Give yourself just enough of a vague destination and maybe some way points along the way you might want to hit so you have an idea of where you want to go, but let the adventure play out organically. There's nothing worse than being presented with an amazing opportunity to, say, go sailing or fishing or flying or exploring or whatever and not being able to do it because you had too strict a timeline. You might be amazed how well things work out when you stop trying to force them too.
-What changes would you like to see in the moto industry, especially with the younger generation? "
I wish motorcycles in general were seen as something for any age and anyone in America. When you go to a third world country, everyone rides, be them women, men, girls, boys, adults, children, elderly or young-EVERYONE. And I wish more disciplines were marketed to children, too. Knowing that back in the day you had to be good at road racing, motocross, flat track, and everything in between to win a championship perhaps speaks a lot to why we had so many great legends in the past, but now Americans are completely unrepresented in MotoGP. I think it has a lot to do with our cultural view of motorcycles being more about being hardcore and tough than about being a sport or a fun activity. I am really excited to see what Joe Roberts can do in Moto2 though!
-Anything else you’d like to share.
I have never met a single person who has ever regretted dropping everything to see the world, but I know lots of people who regret having waited their whole lives and never done it. No one is ever truly ready, but the best adventures aren't built on having all the money, charisma, skill, and know-how there is. The best adventures are built on the ability to look at everything you know you logically shouldn't do, all of the things you're afraid to do, all of the things you tell yourself you can't do, and deciding to instead listen to the deepest parts of your heart that tell you to do them anyways. I met my partner while riding. I learned how to do things I've never done while riding. I've found a sense of freedom and self-empowerment that I never had before riding. I even discovered I had a talent for writing while riding. I wasn't ready for any of it, but now I wouldn't trade it for anything.