Hello all, I'm a new rider on a '13 WR250R. I bought the bike on July 5th, and as of this posting, I've ridden slightly over 100 miles. Other than the PSSOR Intro to Offroad and the BRC, that's my total exposure on two wheels! I'm Breaking into the scene as wet and green as they come! Before this forum, I joined another forum with an active local community where I hoped to get my learn on. However, it's more of a superbike/street scene and I'm feeling the proverbial round peg to their square hole. If there's a forum superhero out there, I'd like to get a roadmap of what to do in terms of gear, classes, practicing on my own, difficulty progression in rides (i.e., parking lot > drive to work > a sample weekend ride on google maps > ?), groups to join, and so on. Would this book cover everything, or do you recommend a different one? I know I'm asking a lot, but I'm facing two issues: I've been gearing up for the street, and it hasn't been a cheap thing to do. I believe in having the right stuff without needing the perfect stuff, but I'm worried about becoming a 'gear whore'. I'm thinking I need a separate dirt helmet and maybe something other than my street coat, but wondering where the line is on going overboard? I also belong to a 4x4 small adventure-oriented truck club. In two weeks, we will drive the WABDR starting in Packwood. This is going to be pretty ho-hum in my truck, but probably over-the-top for a first big outing on the bike, so I better tuck my tail and wait to bike it another time. We also have an annual meet in Tillamook State Forest in late June, and two of the guys that are seasoned motocrossers want to see me join them. I'd like to figure out how to get 'ready' so I can say yes. EDIT: Below is a summary of what I've learned, for quick reading First Things First Take offroad courses first. Trying to generalize, I would do the following order: Intro to offroad: this style of class should be for people who have never touched a bike, and over the course of the class, you will have learned enough basic skills to be ready for the beginner on-road course. I suggest that even if you only want to ride a Gold Wing, this class will begin giving you a mastery that comes slowly to an on-road-only student. Bumps on the ground, throwing bike weight around, going creepingly slow... it will all apply and be easy once it comes to take a test for your license later on. Offroad 101 style course: even though you could take the beginner on-road course now, I would still suggest taking this beforehand. Now that things are no longer an introduction, this course reinforces your skills and makes you prepared for a great deal of road conditions, body posture, and speed control. Beginner on-road course with testing to get street licensed: This course will feel stressful because there's a test, but if you've taken at least one offroad course, the pressure really comes down, and now you only have to pay attention to road rules, refinement in some body posture, and staying in some painted lines. Have a way to get your bike home. Without going into a long story, I managed to hurt myself during a training course, and I had not pre-planned a way to get my bike home while I went to the hospital. I lucked out and found someone who could ride it home. Next time I will either have ramps and a truck have a hitch mount carrier and a tow rig be able to use or rent a trailer, and have a tow rig have a friend on standby who can drive the 'tow rig' to come get me! have a motorcycle friend who can come ride the bike home Going slower is harder than going faster. If you have nothing better to do, go out and do the sharpest corners you can at the slowest speeds you can. It's probably the BEST thing you can do. Before logging miles, learn how to maintain your chain Chain cleaning is needed every 300 miles, or after a ride when moisture contacts your bike. It's an easy process, but there's some tools you need (do you have a bike stand?) and chemicals to get. At every 300 miles, you need to check chain tension. This can be intimidating, so spend a lot of time with YouTube. There's some really bad info, and some really good info. The two tools I use is a ruler with 1/64ths measurements (which is overkill), which I place on the swingarm to check chain tension, and a set of digital calipers, which I use to check rear wheel alignment. There's better tools, but these were probably $20-$30 total. Gear for You Upgrade in order of what makes you comfortable and safe. Being able to have correct posture, survive a fall, and withstand riding for prolonged amounts of time is your primary concern. You may have more than one protective jacket: I have an Olympia Airglide jacket, and even with it being partially mesh, it gets hot as blazes in the dirt going slow. It also gets really dirty, so if you believe in hi-viz, it starts turning brown! If you are on an adventure trip, you might have to compromise, but if you are capable of bringing more than one jacket, having purpose-built gear can be a godsend. Conversely, a plastic padded offroad jersey is going to explode in a pile of fail and agony when it comes to pavement. You will have more than one pair of gloves. I already have two. You will most likely have more than one helmet. A road helmet is freaking hot in the dirt. Full face helmets FOR THE WIN! I've headbutted the dirt at about 15mph, and my first thought was, "Yeah! I just kicked the Earth's ass!." I had no injuries to my head or chin. I can only wonder about open face helmets. Gear for the Bike and Bike Adjustments Street riding is the part we put up with between stretches of "the good stuff". Adjust the bike accordingly Reading other rider's build threads are more important than you think. They can sometimes tell you what doesn't work or what does. Handguards help deflect wind, keeping your hands warmer. Notice I didn't say warm. If it's that cold, you probably should be worrying about ice, which means 4 wheels might be a good idea. Getting handguards sooner than later is probably good, since it does offer hand protection. Consider shorter levers. You only use the first two fingers of your hand to work a lever. Notice how short upgraded levers are. You could get upgraded clutch and brake levers that are all nice and short, but a workable shortcut is to use a hacksaw on those immensely long levers. It's an easy measure twice cut once, but if you are bad at DIY, just be ready to buy new levers Adjust the brake and clutch levers so they angle more downwards. This makes them easier to operate in a standing position. PROTIP: On many bikes, the mirrors are mounted to the brake and clutch controls. Loosen the control mounts just enough that they can be adjusted by gripping the mirror stalk and rotating the controls. This is also helpful if you fall and the levers get shifted inwards - now you can pull them back out! Get bar risers. You will be standing most of the time offroad, and having bars that are too far down limits your control. To measure bar risers, stand on the bike in an attack position (imagine catching a football) with hands out Where your hands are is where the bar needs to be raised to. Get wider foot pegs. Stock footpegs are like standing on the short end of a 2x4 piece of wood. Relieve those feet! Adjust the shift peg. For my bike, I just had to remove a retaining screw, rotate the peg, then put the screw back. For most people, they will want to move the shift peg upwards so that it is slightly higher than the foot peg. This makes it easier to shift, rather than having to duck your foot under. If you have very large feet like me, try to get the shifter so it is slightly higher than the plane of the foot peg so that you can slide your foot forward and shift with the boot like a wedge. Adventuring Work on storage as a last measure. They may limit what sorts of rides you can do in terms of distance and multi-day trips... but what good are these upgrades if you are uncomfortable and in danger? (Although he didn't outright say it, the underlying message here is to go on trips that you and your bike are presently capable of. Chances are, you need practice at your current level of gear capability!) When it comes time to get storage, you want the weight to be low on the bike, otherwise it becomes top heavy and wiggly! Don't forget to evenly distribute the weight You probably need new camping gear. If you have you gear 'done', your bike outfitted, and you are planning for that camping trip, now is the perfect time to get new camping gear. Ultra lite camping is not just for yuppies and hippies. There's been a huge advancement in camping tech. New gear is lighter, packs smaller, keeps you dry, and keeps you warm. When rolled up, my old sleeping bag is the traditional big bulky thing you remember from Boy Scouting or hunting back in the day. My new sleeping bag is about the size of two stacked coffee cups. To avoid the high cost of ultra lite gear, try checking out videos by 'preppers' who create bug-out-bags; they typically try to get inexpensive stuff, or come up with an unconventional alternative. Invest in clothes that keep you dry and happy. This goes double for the camping folks. I used to have clothes like Randy Parker. Big thick stuff made of cotton which made me hot, got wet, and stayed wet. Now I wear thin poly or wool shirts in layers with a eVent or Gore-Tex rain jacket. Nylon pants with zip off legs (so you can convert to pants) work well as almost 3 season clothing, dry better, and pack better than jeans. I'm still working on finding good pants. PRO TIP 1: Despite the release of Smart Wool and fancy synthetics, this is hardly new tech. Remember your grandpa and your dad wearing those wool, plaid, button-up shirts? They work the same as the new stuff. PRO TIP 2: Value Village has tons of ugly wool sweaters and cast offs. Make sure they say 100% wool on the tag, and after that it's cutting edge sportswear on the cheap.