The couple that rides together stays together—well at least in theory right? With so many new moto enthusiasts on the trail it’s hard to tell who’s inspiring whom but the best part is that a lot of couples are going together. We put together some tips and tricks to ensure a (relatively) worry free introduction to being equipped to rip and knowing the ropes before you go. Go over this together, as there’s advice that applies to both the veteran and the newbie.
1.) What bike do I buy? Any bike is a good bike, really; however, consider the experience you want to have. Swing your leg over just about anything smaller than 250cc if you’re planning on sticking to a flat area but consider weight and clearance if you want to go on longer rides. Most manufacturers make beginner bikes around 100cc. They’re lightweight and most people can touch the ground if you ride over some sketchy stuff.
2.) Do all bike prep at home where you have access to all your tools should you strip a bolt or need a vice. All repairs should be completed a week before your trip in case you ordered the wrong part on accident.
3.) Bring along packable spare parts that often fail on the trail. A broken clutch lever or flat tire could mean a long trip back to the truck riding two up.
4.) If your bike didn’t come with one, a basic tool kit will run you under a hundred bucks and give you the added assurance that you can make a quick fix trailside.
5.) Bring walkies. Spend $50 on a decent pair with good range in case you lose someone in the scrub brush or they go down in a ditch. They easily zip-tie to the shoulder straps on a hydration pack and more advanced units wire right into your helmet.
6.) Water. Carry at least two liters in a hydration bladder or ask your partner to shoulder the weight if you don’t like the feeling of a pack on your back.
7.) Most designated OHV areas will have rudimentary trail maps but it’s always wise to have back up nav with a GPS or smart phone. Triple your security with a satellite tracking device to summon local rescue crews if shit really hits the fan.
8.) Snacks keep everyone happy, especially when you underestimate you or your partner’s stamina.
9.) Stash an extra fuel can back at the truck if the revs are running high and you want to top off for another lap.
10.) Don’t be dumb and try to be a cool guy in jeans and a t-shirt. McQueen rode in construction boots and an opened-faced helmet because he was a pro and that was the kit of the time. Getting injured is a total buzz kill for everyone and easily preventable with the right kind of protection. Also remember that you’re only as fast as the slowest person so keep checking on whoever is bringing up the rear.
11.) Stay patient and positive. The learning curve for getting good isn’t too steep so with the right attitude you’ll get bit by the bug and want to ride together again. Oh, and always remember that a tired rider is an injured rider so go at your own pace even if you’re eating dust.