Dirt Riding for older nOObs?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by BCKRider, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Apr 6, 2007
    Annapolis, MD
    I agree with Judo. If you wear good gear, take it easy and ride a lightweight bike then your crashes are going to be about picking up the bike and carrying on rather than getting hurt. Like he said, trail riding is way different than racing or even serious offroad riding. Nobody says you have to ride a high powered 400+ pound adventure rig that will hurt you in a fall or a blazing fast plated enduro.

    My 640 is capable of ridiculous speeds offroad and I frequently take advantage of that. I have also paid for that with a couple of big crashes. But that is something I enjoy (the speed not the crashes) and I have been doing this a while. Therefore I am as prepared as I can be for hard falls and haven't been injured in many years despite some ugly get offs. Good gear has bailed me out several times.

    But you don't have to ride like that. As we say when I get together with my friends, somebody needs to carry the cooler. If you don't want to push your luck then be that guy. You don't have to try to tackle gnarly trails or haul ass. To me, that isn't what trail riding is about anyway. Trail riding is about getting out and seeing where the bike takes you not testing your skills. Speed and technical ability will come in time - or not.

    Who cares either way? Offroad riding encompasses everything from my slow ass old friend on his ancient DT175 riding his family cow pastures to enduro racing. For trail riding just choose your bike well, choose your trails well, respect your limits, keep your speeds reasonable, wear decent gear and you will likely never even get bruised.
  2. TheLoiteringKid

    TheLoiteringKid n00b

    Mar 11, 2013
    +1 for dirt first.
    My very first experience on a bike, was a Yamaha 125, no knowledge whatsoever how to ride, revved the motor a bit, let out the clutch, bike did a wheelie without me and i was kinda just standing there holding the bike up as the wheel dug in the ground, I was a big kid and the bike couldn't pull me over in that state:rofl. A couple trys later I got as far as making it up and down the block in 1 peace. A few days later i Was introduced to a warrior 350, they tossed me on it and first thing i do was manage a 20+ foot wheelie, completely unintentional. From that point forward i'v always wanted a bike/atv.

    Well 10 years and 1/2 a continent later my friend sez hed like to go dirt biking, he had 2 bikes and didn't want to ride alone in case something happens(him being allergic to bee stings being 1 of the concerns). Tell him i havn't tuched a bike in 10+ years, so he throws me on a 86 Yamaha xt350 and soon as i was able to make it around his mom's pasture without a problem, he then proceeds to drag me to the mountain. It was terrifying, but that terror ingrained every lesson i learned up there and i rarely if ever made the same mistake twice because if it. My friend who had many years of riding on his belt, pushed me every time we went up there, i thank him and hate him for that, and because of that i am a better rider then if he hadn't pushed me.

    Now I'm not saying you should head to the nearest mountin and push yourself to the breaking point, but having a solid feel for a bike under you on dirt will go a LONG way to being a better street rider. Do some resurce find what kind of trails are near you, a nice tame jeep trail is a great starting point.
  3. Okie Preacher

    Okie Preacher Long timer

    Aug 11, 2010
    In the middle...
    One big safety advantage of the dirt...much less to no automobile traffic to watch and avoid so you can worry about riding and not about getting run over.

    And, you don't have to ride like the Dakar podium is at stake. 100 miles of fire roads and trails @ 30 mph offers a whole lot more smiles than 1,000 miles of pavement.
  4. Kootenai Rider

    Kootenai Rider Gentleman of Liesure

    Nov 2, 2008
    What are you talking about. Everyone knows that street riders don't use their front brakes. :evil

    But seriously, the front brake can be used very heavily off-road without putting you down. Even on steep down hills.

    If you're that heavy handed on the front brake, maybe you should consider your overall bike control regardless of on or off road. Perhaps practice.... Offroad.
  5. Neil E.

    Neil E. Been here awhile

    Jun 1, 2004
    Gormley ON
    Dirt skills are valuable skills. How are you ever going to find out what you can safely do when poor traction situations arise?

    A good video about riding offroad when you're older. Maybe you haven't seen it yet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_T41kJm-PE
  6. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Oct 18, 2008
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    That was my thinking when scheduling my first dirt skills class ever. It will be this Saturday. I'm 63. :D

    Nice video!
  7. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day.

    Jul 9, 2008
    Southern Illinois USA
    Well. The OP obviously know nothing about dirt riding. As that "EVERONE who rides dirt has repeated falls" is bullshit. I’m old too and I wouldn’t do it either if I fell repeatedly, da. Lots of good comments here from people who know about riding dirt. It always seems the people that never rode dirt say you don’t learn good riding on dirt, but those that have rode dirt say just the opposite. I would tend to believe those that know something about the subject more than those that have never done it. Sure there’s no traffic but you should learn how to deal with traffic in a cage. I don’t want people running in to my truck or bike.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    As far as that front brake on downhill’s thing in dirt, learn to use your front brake dude. There no weight on the rear on a steep downhill so no rear wheel traction so it ain’t gona slow you down like the front. In dirt I always say the front brake is for slowing/stopping the rear brake is for turning.<o:p></o:p>
  8. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    I use both brakes, dirt or pavement. I bias to where the traction seems to be though, unless I'm purposely trying to slide something.
  9. Blue&Yellow

    Blue&Yellow but orange inside...

    Jan 31, 2010
    If you live in a convenient place don't be afraid to swallow your pride and buy an old 125cc or 250cc bike and just play about a bit.

    Not so easily done if you live in the big city perhaps but if you live in the country side I'd say go for it.

    Don't think of it as training - just ride, be careful, explore, pack lunch, go slow. You'll learn pleny without thinking about it and you'll have a great time too!
  10. rgoers

    rgoers Been here awhile

    Apr 27, 2011
    Northern Utah
    I'm in my mid 50's myself. I find the more time I spend off-road, the less I like being on-road. I look at "pavement" as a necessary evil that I must endure. Even riding the twisties has become very boring to me. The only good thing about pavement is; it gets me to where I really want to be.
  11. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

    Apr 3, 2006
    Pleasanton, CA
    Regarding falling in the dirt...

    My bike spends more time on the ground when riding in the dirt, but that doesn't mean that I do as well. Most of my dirt get-offs are at low speeds. There have been times when I've just stepped away from the bike and was still on my feet when the bike went down.

    You learn a lot more about maintaining traction by riding in the dirt than street only. I'm still of the opinion that you'll be a better street rider with some dirt experience. It works for me and for some of the best riders that I know.