Last time we ran through a list of Guilty Pleasures, things we all enjoy but don’t like to admit it. Following on from this, this month we’re moving sideways into the geek zone. Because there are certain things about riding dirt bikes, certain little foibles we all have, silly mini-victories and secret pleasures that occur each weak without ever being mentioned – it’s the riding equivalent of breaking the gold bit on the top of a coffee jar
Of course by compiling this list, we do run the risk of delving a tad too far into the Ride Expeditions psyche and coming up with a list of things that no one else shares, setting the therapy back by years. But in for a penny, in for a pound, here’s our top ten Hidden Joys of dirtbiking –
1. EATING PROPERLY
This sounds a bit of a simple one, as we all know that eating well before go riding will make you perform better and get less tired, but it does take a irritating amount of planning – like you have to buy the stuff in advance! It’s no use thinking your going to make yourself a mango and banana power smoothie, when all you fridge contains is a bottle of WKD Blue, half an onion and a lump of slightly stale cheddar. So the act of going to the supermarket to stock up on all the recommended performances foods (soon to be listed right here) makes you feel distinctly smug and professional. And tucking into carb rich, high energy nosh for breakfast starts the day on the right foot. One proviso – real men don’t grow their own wheatgrass.
2. BEING ON TIME
Like many of the items on this list, arriving on time for the days riding is a distinct pleasure only in comparison to its opposite – being late. If you’ve put aside some of your valuable time to go riding, you might as well make an effort to make it a laid back and relaxed experience . Allowing yourself plenty of time to check over the bike, top up the fluids, change the lenses in your goggles and all that stuff the night before rather than just before you leave – it just makes you feel relaxed and ready to go. This is infinitely preferable to the guys that barrel into the car park with minutes to spare before the run leaves, on a still dirty bike and minging kit. Oh and don’t even talk to us about the jokers that arrive and need fuel before we’ve even started …
3. PASSSING SCRUTINEERING / TECH
This is just for the racers out there – why does the weekly check on your bike make you feel so nervous. It’s hardly an exhaustive vehicle inspection is it? Not like a roadside check from a ticket-happy traffic cop? I mean, you have every intention of racing this bad boy all day, so a run over basic safety shouldn’t be a problem, should it? So why does it always make you feel as twitchy as passing through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ channel with a bag of crystal meth up your back end? Even with a brand new bike, there’s still that worry that you’ve missed something and you’ll be sent back to the van in shame. Which means that being awarded the little sticker on your number plate make you feel like you’re a winner already – you can now swagger over to signing on like a pro racer ‘Hey check me out – I passed!’
4. SPLASHING THE CASH
OK – so there’s a definite feeling that expensive products are the best, no matter what evidence to the contrary. So every now and again it’s nice to treat the ‘old girl’ to top of the range consumables and aftermarket parts. We all know that an anodized orange petrol cap will not make a blind bit of difference to the day’s riding, but damn! it looks good. And top of the range fluids are much the same – the manufacturers know how shallow we all are – they only have to put ‘Race tested’ or ‘High performance’ onto the bottles and we’re already interested. The fact that modern thumpers get through oil changes almost on the hour doesn’t seem to matter – nothing but the best for my baby – Premium Grade, High Performance, Race developed and the more expensive the better. Niiice.
5. TALK TIME
Now you’ve probably noticed from point 4, that allowing your bike to become more than just a lump of inanimate metal is not difficult. You and that bike are a team – out every weekend come hail or high water, battling the elements, taking on the track and , whupping the opposition ( in your head…). So it’s not wrong to talk to it during a ride, is it? It’s not unusual to mutter and encouraging ‘Come on girl’ as you attempt to negotiate yourselves up a snotty climb littered with downed riders and fallen bikes. And no-one could really say it was weird if you give the bike a bit of a congratulatory pat once you reach the top, could they? Oh right, it’s just me then, I’ll get my coat.
6. WARM FEET
If you’re not a fair weather rider, then you’ll have to put up with some pretty crappy weather in the average season. The UK’s so-called ‘Maritime Climate’ combined with the effects of Global warming mean that you really have no idea what to expect each weekend – it’s as likely to snow in August as it is to have a heat wave in February. But one constant in all this is that riding in the rain is pretty unpleasant, from the seeping of the water into every crevice, to the plastering of mud into your eyes as you had to ditch your goggles in the first ten minutes. But all this can be endured and overlooked just as long as you feet stay warm. It doesn’t matter if they are wet, or even crammed with sand, as long as they’re not cold. Once the size tens feel like they’re in the meat freezer, its game over as far as we’re concerned.
7. BATTLE SCARS
The ways of injuring yourself with a motorcycle are almost endless – from our mate’s Dad’s ill advised attempt to check the chain tension by putting his thumb between the chain and sprocket, to splitting my chin on the handlebars genius from launching off an unexpected jump ( note to self – always walk the track!). But no matter how bad the pain at the time, you can rest easy in the fact that once the bleeding has stopped, you’re going to be left with a cool scar. OK this doesn’t work so much for girls, but for blokes, having a collection of scars that can trace your racing history is the ultimate accessory – far better than another Celtic Band tattoo! From battered knees from the time you popped your ACL whilst leading the club championship, to the two inch-long gash on your bicep after a fist sized rock smacked into you on the last race of the season, yet you still went on the finish third. This is an essential part of scar legends – finishing the race, with a ripped race shirt dripping in blood is the mark of a true hard man.
8. CLEAN AND AWAY
OK this one may be firmly into the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder category, but we can’t abide unloading a mud-encrusted bike into the garage and leaving it till next weekend. The certain knowledge that the chain is merrily rusting away, all the fancy alloy is rapidly oxidizing whilst left dirty is enough to get us twitching and stammering like mad man – I’d prefer to go to bed without a shower myself! So part of the Sunday ritual is jet washing the bike down, blasting away the clag that is disfiguring your ride. Obviously this is followed by blasting up and down the road to drive off the water and dry the brakes regardless of the time, a swift covering of WD40 and its job done – deeply satisfying.
9. THAT MONDAY FEELING
Why should going to work at the start of every week feeling like you’ve just been ten rounds with Manny Pacquiao be a good thing? Why should having legs that ache every time you stand up and force you to emit an involuntary groan be a pleasure? Simple – because you know you did something at the weekend, because biking makes you feel king of the world and there’s no other feeling like riding dirt bikes. Look around your workmates – how did they spend the weekend – laying some decking? Trudging around Ikea?
And the final Under rated pleasure, the one that keeps us all going, toiling away from Monday to Friday…..
10. JUST KNOWING THERE’S A DIRTBIKE AT HOME
It never fails to bring a warm, satisfied feeling to know that no matter how crappy your working life might be, no matter how frustrating the daily commute may become – once you get home, you can walk into the garage and see your baby. Just the knowledge that if you want, you can load up the van, hit the trails and throw some roost – Priceless !
So what do you reckon? Did we get it dialled or did we miss something? Let us know …
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What’s not to like there?