Yamaha Motorcycles Dealer

GETTING BETTER ON THE DIRT

Who doesn't want to get better at riding on the dirt? John Stein of Cycle World has recently provided a nice cheat sheet for improving your skills. He also says that riding on the dirt can be extremely helpful to street riders, since the main fear of street riders is losing traction. Well, for dirt riders, losing traction and loosening up the back wheel is the fun part. It goes without saying that not only do you need to have good skills, you need to have the right equipment. Yamaha motorcycles dealers can take care of that.

But in terms of improving, Stein offers the following advice:

Choosing your line: Unlike the road, when you ride on the dirt you have to choose the best line. It is like skiing in the trees. If you only look directly before you, you are going to hit a tree eventually. Finding the right line means you are not only aware of what is in front of you but also aware of what is coming. The art of glancing ahead can be tricky, but expert riders do it without thinking. The best is to do it when the immediate trail does not need your whole attention.

Practice: Get a bunch of stuff lying around the house—cans, buckets, etc—and throw them into an empty parking lot. Set yourself a course and ride through them sitting down and standing up. Perceive how comfortable you feel when making turns standing up and sitting down.

Play around: Of course, we all do this, but Stein wants us to take it seriously. Find a patch of open trail and give it some throttle, and then hit the breaks. Feel out the bike. Learn to test the limits without going past them. The more you feel comfortable when the bike is at its limit the better you will be.

Stay alert: Epstein says it best when he writes, “While it’s easy to zone out while tooling down the highway, in the dirt, even a few moments of inattention can send you to ground.” It is easy for your brain to wander when you are at work, but when you are riding at 30 mph down a trail this can have serious consequences. This is a hard skill to master, and the best way is to be mindful of when you are getting tired from a long day of riding and slow down if needed.

And, of course, stop by one of Pete's Cycles three convenient locations--Bel Air, Severna Park, Baltimore--for all your riding needs.