Plan the Ride, and Ride the Plan!
Preparation will save you in the bush!
Getting ready for a ride is not just a case of throwing the bike on the trailer and grabbing your gear. Your preparation will have an effect on the entire ride for yourself and your riding mates. You want to enjoy your ride time instead of being caught out in the forest due to poor preparation of either yourself or your bike. And I can tell you, nothing will lose your next ride invite like having a bike that breaks down because you don’t look after it.
Think about the grade of ride you are going on. Are you fit enough? Are you capable enough? If you’re not sure take a step back and think about it. Committing to a ride that you can’t handle will put a burden on yourself and fellow riders and can lead to exhaustion and possible injury. It also that means your riding mates are the ones that will have to ride your bike over logs, up hills and through areas that you can’t in order to get you home.
Fatigue is different on bikes than for truck or cars – it’s more “tiredness”. Loss of concentration (“don’t care”, loss of attention to detail) leads to simple mistakes with painful outcomes.
Are you going to ride even though you know you aren’t up to the grade level of the ride? Are you being inconsiderate or perhaps irresponsible? This is about mental self-inspection and acceptance of knowing your capabilities.
On the other hand is if you show behaviour that brings dirt bikes into disrepute. Showing off in the carpark or doing dumb things while riding to try and impress someone can not only hurt a fellow rider but also the public and property. Let me tell you that NO ONE is impressed by an idiot doing donuts in the car park and spraying rocks all over their cars. It all results in stereotyped bad image and unreasonable treatment of the rest of us that do the right thing.
Identify your environment and ride accordingly. Be aware of walkers/picnickers/children/horse riders/etc and any possible risks that you may put them under due to what you are doing. If you are not sure, back off or take an alternate route, or even stop, shutdown and wait.
Trying too hard
Trying to keep up with faster riders or not even realising that you are is a recipe for disaster. Inexperience leads to going too fast for your ability and tackling sections that you have no idea of how to ride. Basically, you are incompetent and don’t it. Stay within your capabilities but certainly have a go at stuff – but let a fellow rider know so they can be there to help. Be able to grasp the risks so as to manage them intelligently.
We want you to have fun and stay safe!
Is your bike ready to rock? A breakdown on the trail can bring a halt to an entire ride and that can leave 20 riders not happy! The guy that comes to the start of a ride, has to check the tyre pressure, fuel up, change oil, clean the airfilter before they can ride is not going to win any friends. Not carrying your own tools and spares is another no-no. Just is not having the skills to fix your own problems. You get a flat in the bush, you get to fix it while everyone else stands around offering lot’s of advice. And you better know how to fix it.
Some breakdowns are pure bad luck and entirely understandable and acceptable, but a bike failure due lack of bike prep is NOT acceptable. It will get you a reputation that you might not like.
So, here what you should double check…
- Spares (plugs, chain links, spare tube, puncture kit, etc)
- Water, Food, Snacks
- First aid
- Maps (if required)
- GPS (if required)
- EPIRB (if required)
- And ABSOLUTELY check your bike maintenance and have your spares ready to carry.