Rolling through Spanish villages on motorcycles, Richard Berg
and his friend were unaware that behind them in a battered, slower
car the local police were in hot pursuit.
Mr. Berg, a veteran motorcyclist and windsurfer from Boston, was
riding through Europe on a classic adventure trip. "I love
challenges on a trip that force you to discover new capacities and
qualities in yourself," he says, echoing some of the reasons
millions of travelers want increased adventure these days.
When the angry police finally snared the errant twosome, the
outcome of the escapade gave Berg another reason for adventure
travel: great stories to tell when you get home.
"We didn't know it was the police," says Berg. "Every time the
little car got closer, we returned their waves and sped away. When
they finally stopped us they were all wearing guns and furious at
us. They said we had to pay $800 on the spot for speeding. When we
refused, they took us to the local station."
Behind closed doors, the two cultures tried for understanding
with only sign language to help. The tide turned somewhat when Berg
said they were willing to spend a night in jail, but, "Hey, you
guys want to take a ride on the motorcycle?" Later Berg and his
friend were released and roared away as the police waved cheery
Whether traveling well away from the beaten path like Berg, or
in small, organized groups on rafts churning down a Chilean river,
the increasing numbers of adventure travelers today continue to
profoundly impact the travel industry worldwide.
For many adventure-travel providers, like Outer Edge Expeditions
in Walled Lake, Mich., business has never been better. "We nearly
doubled our sales in l997," says Brian Obrecht, co-founder of Outer
Edge with his wife, Lisa. "Let's face it, travel is a luxury." he
"The economy is good, and more and more people are willing to
leave the Club Med experience for something more challenging," he
adds. Estimates by some travel experts put the number of adventure
travelers today as high as 50 percent of all United States
One indication that interest in such travel runs high in the US
lies in the use of national forests. According to The Adventure
Travel Society, use of US national forests has increased in the
last seven years from about 250 million to 857 million recreation
days. (A recreation day is defined as one person spending 12 hours
in a forest.)
"I predict strong growth in adventure travel for the next 40
years," says Jerry Mallet, president of The Adventure Travel
Society, a trade association based in Englewood, Colo.
"The huge growth is going to come in other countries," he says. …