The Library of All Knowledge

The Adventure Bike Riding School

The Basics

So you've mentally wrapped your head around the ride, and you're ready to attack. Now is the time to meet the road. (metaphorically of course.)

Riding on pavement is awesome. Insane levels of grip and speed combine to create an experience akin to flying.

However since your riding on gravel or dirt, the dynamics change. The surface can either be firm or loose. It may provide traction or act as a set of rollerbearings. So don't do anything sudden or stupid. Keep the speed down to a point where you can keep balance. Faster you go the more the centripetal force of the wheels keep you upright. As you get experience, practice balancing with your body more than with the wheels. This will help you when you get into uglier terrain.

Balance is the key. One way to practice this is simply forcing yourself to balance. I practice this by keeping my feet on the pegs as long as possible when coming to a stop or riding around a parking lot. You can do this on pavement, and you can do this either sitting or standing. I will stress that BC has a law on the books that forbades riding a motorcycle in any position other than one that involves buttocks firmly planted on the seat. I have heard of similar provisions in other places. So be careful.

A parking lot is a good place to practice after hours. One of the beauties of practicing on pavement is that traction remains constant. Practicing figure-eights is excellent as well. Keep the wight of youbody over the center of the bike. Start big and work your way smaller and slower as your skill level increases. Also riding in a straight line, slowing down and speeding up is great practice in throttle control and shifting.

Also practice some full on panic stops. You know the kind that involves a full on lock up of the brakes. You can stomp on the rears, since a lock up of the rear just makes a bike skid. And the engine will stall if you forget to pull in the clutch. The fronts require some delacasy as locking those will cause the front to fold and the bike to crash. Alslo throw your weight as far back as you can to avoid weighting the front end. Bike with ABS will shine when you do this on pavement. They will royally suck when you do it on gravel, this is another reason to keep the speeds down in the rough stuff.

Contents Copyright (C) Michael Fodor 2012.