The world is full of armchair warriors. People who dream big and dream often, but rarely get the chance to live out their fantasies. Ryan Grassley was one of those people, and then he hit the road.
Grassley, who you might know better as “HalfThrottle,” has made a living by fulfilling his motorcycle fantasies. With his camera and his KLR 650, Grassley has been shooting motorcycle videos for the last four years throughout the Americas. It hasn’t brought him fame or fortune yet, but Grassley is one of the few, lucky people, who truly loves going to work every day.
Grassley grew up in Springville, Utah, and bought his first motorcycle in 2005 with big dreams of the open road. But Grassley wouldn’t be able to seize the moment, as he was shipped off to Iraq with the US Army. But a few years later Grassley would get his window of opportunity, and he jumped at the chance.
“We didn’t do too much planning for the trip,” Grassley said. “We were both very inexperienced motorcycle riders. But we didn’t care. We wanted adventure.”
Grassley and his friend, Mitch Curwen, decided on a whim to head for the Panama Canal. It would mark the first adventure for HalfThrottle, and the first true long distance trip for Grassley.
“The longest trip I’d ever been on was probably a three-hour drive,” Grassley said. “Until we left for Panama.”
So without experience, guidance, or training, Grassley and Curwen headed out onto the open road.
“People will try to plan a trip for years,” Grassley said. “I need this, I need that… we just went.”
The biggest flaw in most long-distance trips, is that the rider feels like he has to abide by a certain timeline. With only so many days to see so many things, it’s easy to skip sights in order to make up miles. If you fall behind your schedule, you could find yourself hopping on the highway where all you can see are license plates and speed limit signs.
But Grassley doesn’t fall into that trap. He travels at half-throttle.
“The point of our trip, was to see everything. We figured that we were never going to do this again, so we were going to take it slow. We were going to take our time. We stopped at every waterfall, beach, Mayan ruin, everything.”
Grassley spent three months traveling to and from Panama, but for some people, there just is no cure for the travel bug. After the Panama trip, Grassley went to Canada, Thailand, and France. He brought his KLR 650 to Italy, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. Grassley has been to more than 20 countries in the saddle of his motorcycle, and there will be plenty more in the future.
“Traveling by motorcycle leaves you exposed to everything. The environment, smells, people, smelly people. If you are going to visit a country then experience that country. Don’t cut yourself off by staying in an all inclusive resort. Traveling by motorcycle lets you get in touch with the real side of the places you’ll visit.”
The Half-Throttle channel is about a lot more than just bikes, it’s about people. Grassley uses his motorcycle as a tool to dig deeper into unfamiliar cultures.
“I never wanted a motorcycle so people would think I was cool,” Grassley said. “I wanted a motorcycle so I could go cool places.”
And Grassley has done just that. The army vet is currently living in Panama with his wife, exploring the jungles, rivers, and beaches of Central America. He’ll be heading back to the US soon, but he won’t let himself get too comfortable.
Grassley has a few more empty boxes on his places to ride list, and he’s inviting everyone to come along for the ride.
“There are so many arm chair warriors out there that wish that they were on the road,” Grassley said. “So many people sitting in an office dreaming about somewhere else. You’ve just got to do it.”
Grassley has turned into a bit of an adventure touring guru, fielding questions from his fans about everything from how to do laundry on the road, to how many spare tires you should bring along. If you’re planning a trip in the near future, check out Grassley’s page. You might learn a thing or two about being on the road.
You can check out HalfThrottle’s Youtube Channel here.