Never in the world would I have thought that I'd be riding a motorcycle, be a motorcycle instructor, tv co-host, or adventurer. My life has changed so much in the last 4 years. WOW! is all I can say.
Today I was shooting a segment about off road riding for Farkle Garage a tv show I am a co-host on. I tried dual sport riding for the first time on a BMW GS650. It was a whole different world to me, one where you're standing up on the pegs and shifting your weight. This style of riding seemed so foreign to the way I normally approach riding and very far removed from street riding. I have to say it was physically challenging, but very enjoyable.
It shares some of the common principles of street riding, utilizing your friction zone and good solid slow speed skills. There is no going fast involved in this type if riding, good slow speed skills are king.
Looking where you want to go to avoid target fixation is a key component to this type of riding, just as it is in street riding, so the basic skills are the same. You need to have your head up and eyes looking way down the trail, so you can avoid objects and fixating on them. Unfortunately I fixated on a cow pie in the field, yup, I rode through the squishy glob of poop. I think cow pies would be excellent cone replacements because of the definite avoidance and ick factor.
I was definitely a novice rider all over again. It was an absolute blast, but I think I would have to do some pretty hardcore fitness training due to the physicality of this type of riding. It definitely brings home to me how my novice students feel when learning a new skill. My interest is definitely piqued and I would like to learn more about dual sport riding. Unfortunately there aren't any pics of me standing on the pegs. I was too busy riding, and there wasn't anyone extra to take pics, but they will be in the Farkle Garage segment when it goes to air, so you'll have to stop by the Farkle Garage FaceBook page and check the episode out.
The Instructor Ry was great and very encouraging and walked me through the process step by step. We discussed riding gear and the different aspects of dual sport gear compared to street riding gear where you are more concerned about asphalt/pavement with sliding and abrasion. In dual sport off road riding you are going slower, so are more concerned about impact and wearing good body armour and comfortable lighter weight all purpose gear. So again there is a good element of farkles to purchase!
Safety is definitely a key factor and important to being successful in all aspects of motorcycling. I learned today that there is more to off road riding than just buying a dual sport bike and going for a rip on the trails. It truly is a different type of riding and riders will be better served if they are well prepared and take a course and have a good solid basic skill foundation. As with everything moto, you have the potential to get yourself into a whole lot of trouble in a big hurry. Riding off road can be unpredictable, particularly as most rides are in out of the way places, which may not be as accessible to help should you need it. So if you are going out, go with a buddy and if you can't make sure you tell someone where you're going and expected arrival at your destination and arrival home. There is also fabulous technology available for all motorcyclist who travel in the form of spot trackers which are satellite driven, they work where cellphones don't. You activate them and they let people you know you are okay or can trigger them to send help. These are amazing tech tools for motorcyclists or anyone who likes to wander. I barely scratched the surface of the training during our short segment, I definitely see the value of learning from a professional. Who knows there may be a dual sport adventure or two in my future, but that also might entail a new bike, which due to my newest ride edition probably isn't in the cards any time in the very near future.
The hub better make more room in our garage!
Another element to this style of riding is that women are embracing it! As with the basic rider course I teach, we have noticed that a significant amount of riders enrolling are women, it is roughly 40% . This speaks to women falling helmet over heels in love with motorcycling and that they are entering the sport at all levels of motorcycling, street, offroad, track, supermoto, motoX, touring, and scootering, nothing is off limits.
One of the things I loved the most about today's adventure, was talking about what makes riding dual sports special. Seeing Ry's face light up when talking about the zen and magic of being intimately engaged in his surroundings and the passion for this and all forms of motorcycling. It was pure joy connecting on that level. It is the common bond all motorcyclists share, whether it be street, dual purpose, off road, track, weekend hobbyist, daily commuter or year rounder. We all love the feeling of oneness, the melding of mind, soul, and body with the machine.