Riding a 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré to Meet Friends and Raise Funds For Good Causes

Mark Stratton finds his perfect machine that serves his purpose.

custom bikes, yamaha Super Ténéré, readers rides
Motorcyclist reader Mark Stratton and his 2012 Yamaha Super Ténéré.

NAME: Mark Stratton
AGE: 60
HOME: Tucson, Arizona
OCCUPATION: Retired Water District Manager

A little over 10 years ago, a couple guys from the Seattle area rode motorcycles to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) national conference in San Francisco. Around the same time, another water professional from Phoenix and I rode our motorcycles to an industry event in Vegas. The two groups merged, and we decided to call ourselves The Water Buffaloes. Our first group ride was to a conference in San Antonio in 2006.

Soon after we formed, we decided to partner with a charity organization associated with AWWA called Water for People, which helps third-world communities develop sustainable water sources so residents don’t have to travel many miles just to get clean water. There were 12 riders on that first ride to San Antonio, and we raised about $20,000. The next year’s event was in Toronto, Canada, and we doubled what we raised. This year in Anaheim, which was our 10th year, we raised more than $100,000.

I’m the only member who has ridden to every single event. We don’t trailer our bikes; we come from wherever we live and we pick up other members along the way, building the herd as we go. We try to find the most scenic routes and have a little fun getting there too.

I bought my Yamaha Super Ténéré used with 2,500 miles. I've got 34,000 miles on it now. It has some nice modifications for touring—a National Cycle VStream windshield, a Corbin heated seat, driving lights to help with visibility, and more. It's a great adventure bike, even if I ride it mostly on the road. I did a couple sections of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route, but these big bikes are just pigs in the desert sand.

The Water Buffaloes are always looking for more people to ride with us and support the charity. You don't need to be a water professional—you just have to enjoy riding with a bunch of crazy people. Check us out at ridewithpurpose.org.