Free “How to Ride Off-Road” booklet

how not to ride off roadI found this booklet, written by Dave Peterson, available for free download on his site, bestrestproducts.com. Its full title is “How To Ride A Motorcycle Off Road – Riding Techniques for Large Dual-Purpose Bikes”. It’s full of useful tips for off-road riding as well as travel, preparation and packing tips for adventure motorcycling. There is inevitably some promotion of his own products, but mostly they are good products (I have some of them myself), and anyway, it’s FREE, what do you expect!

Some advice in here will of course not be news to experienced riders, but I find it’s good to be reminded of these things once in a while, no matter how old… err mature… you are.

Here’s an extract;

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A few rules of thumb about OR’ing:

  1. The smaller the bike the better, especially when learning new techniques. Learn small, grow big.
  2. The less gear you have, the better. Practice OR without all your gear to help you learn the basic techniques. Before you head to the hills you need to demonstrate that you can still perform those techniques when the bike is fully loaded.
  3. When heading out on a journey, don’t take the kitchen sink.  Avoid carrying too much gear, keep weight to a minimum. I seem to have trouble remembering this rule. After the Continental Divide Ride I weighed my gear – it topped the scales at 90+ pounds. I evaluated each item I’d carried, and determined that 25 pounds of it wasn’t needed. If you’re carrying more than 50 pounds of gear, you’ve probably got too much stuff.
  4. The more you practice your OR technique, the better you become. Reading about it doesn’t cut it. Doing it once won’t teach you much – you have to practice.  Practice, practice, practice.
  5. The more you read, the more you’ll learn, and the better rider you’ll become. Educate yourself, read Articles, watch videos. Don’t rely on one source for your OR education (that means you shouldn’t rely on this Article as your only source of information).
  6. Know your limitations. If you’re at Level 2 of the Competency Matrix, don’t attempt some ride beyond your ability. On the other hand, don’t play it safe all the time. At some point you’ll need to test your limits. Be willing to spread your wings, be willing to leave the comfort of your nest. Do it gradually, taking small steps.
  7. Smooth is fast. Don’t try to ride fast. Instead, ride smooth.  Smooth means using proper techniques, at a comfortable pace. Eventually your smooth pace will result in faster speeds.
  8. Don’t let others set your riding pace. It’s common to see a group of riders take off at a brisk pace, with one rider being dragged along at speeds (and conditions) beyond his skill level.  Eventually he crashes.  Don’t let that unfortunate rider be YOU. Ignore your buddy’s comments that you’re riding like an old man. Remind them that you ARE an old man.
  9. Ride only as fast as you’re willing to crash. A friend once cautioned me about my riding speeds on my KTM 450. He commented that I was going pretty fast, and asked me if I was willing to crash at that speed. My reply was a firm “NO”. I was pushing my skill limits so I dialed things down a few notches. Silly me.
  10. Check the testosterone at the door. Don’t get into a macho match or a pissing contest when it comes to riding OR. You’ll lose. It hurts and it costs lots of money to repair the bike (or yourself).

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Available as a PDF from the Best Rest Products web site:  How to Ride a Motorcycle Off-road – Riding Techniques for Large Dual-Purpose Bikes

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