Suzuki DRZ 400: My Very First Dualsport Ride

Suzuki DRZ 400: My Very First Dualsport Ride

Today marked a new chapter in the book of my riding life. Under the patient tutelage of some of the guys at ADVrider, I went on my first dualsport ride.

Being a complete noob, I put myself firmly at the tail end of the group of bikes when we pulled away in the morning. As I focused on the line of bikes in front of me, I could see the tarmac fall away and puddles of water began to speckle the roadway.  Before I knew it, there I was in the sandy mud.

Long Island Sandy Muddy Road

The moment my wheels crested into the mud the bike started to gently squirm around under me. I felt like a new rider again. I was filled with fear, excitement and adrenaline. The fast guys up at the front of the line disappeared out of my view. I went into hyper “concentrate on what you’re doing!” mode.

There seemed to be more and more water coming at me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find that completely alarming. I tried to focus on the tracks that had gone through ahead of me and to follow them. I opted to skip a big puddle that swallowed one of the KTM 950s and went around the outside through the downed reeds. This was when things got really shaky for me.

With only street riding to compare to, all that squishing and wiggling going on below me was setting off all sorts of alarms in my head. I had one goal, one focus – keep moving forward! Somehow that is what I managed to keep doing. I wish it was skill, I wish it was confidence but I think it was just pure luck that carried me out to the other side.

When I finally putt-putted my way to the end of the road, 3 of the guys were waiting. It’s funny how experience changes your perception of these moments. To those 3 guys sitting there, this wet, sandy loop was just a walk in the park. On the other hand I felt like I accomplished something big. I felt like I climbed my own personal mental Everest.

These guys were all patient and knowledgeable and made my day really fun. I really appreciate that they were willing to take a baby bird on the first flight out of the nest. I hope they’ll have me along again.

Things I Need to Remember

  • I won’t always be afraid everything.
  • I will learn to accept the bike moving around underneath me without panicking
  • Sometimes slowing down isn’t the answer
  • I won’t always be afraid everything.
  • Eyes up!
  • Get up on those pegs!
  • I won’t always be afraid everything.
My First Dualsport Ride Long Island Long Island Great South Bay Dualsport Motorcycle Ride Suzuki DRZ 400 Dualsport Ride
Suzuki DRZ 400 Dualsport Ride Long Island Long Island Great South Bay Dualsport Motorcycle Ride Fuzzygalore First Dualsport Motorcycle Ride

20 Replies to “Suzuki DRZ 400: My Very First Dualsport Ride”

  1. That’s great, Rach! I would have had about 12 heart attacks on that section you did. 🙂

    Please tell me that tail bag has the Lucky Moldy Goldfish in it. 😀

    1. My heart was thumping through the whole section. When i made it through to the other side – I asked for a hug 😆 I think they were surprised to not have to come back and fish me out of a puddle.

      I have to say, i think you would enjoy giving it a try. It is hard to put your motorcycle in places you’ve been taught NOT to go for so long, but I guess that too is what makes the process exciting.

      There is nothing edible in that tailbag… yet 😉

      So much to learn….

  2. Congrats on “ridin dirty” Fuzz! IMO, there’s no better way to learn how to control a bike!

    FWIW, when in doubt, give it more throttle 🙂

    1. Thanks guys 🙂
      Once I come to the understanding that not every wobble, every slip, every slide means will end up on my ass – i think i’ll progress much better.

      I was timid but okay on the ride. I had a tendency to not look far enough ahead, i think. Its not something i do street riding but i felt like i had to see what was directly in front of my tire. Also – i know standing up would have given me better control of some situations like the sugary sand – but i felt scared, like i’d be more out of control. so as my mind was going 300mph, i stayed put in the saddle. I’ll get there eventually. ::knocks wood::

      Pims – I actually hosed all the salty water off the bike when I got home, if you can believe that 😆

  3. Congrats on getting that thing dirty, you’ll be an old master in no time. Keeping your ass off the seat and minding that front brake are two things that really make a difference and run contrary to street riding.

    If I had a dollar for everytime I barked at Hailey to get up on the pegs or get her butt on the front of the seat in a turn or to keep her nose over the front fender uphill…. 😀

    1. @Two Buck Chuck – Thanks muchly! I hope to do just that.

      @Nathan – It’s been a long time since I felt that green, that excited of the “unknown” in the motorcycle universe. I did forget what it was like. It’s pretty exciting just thinking about getting out there again.

  4. My first “real” dirt ride was with guys from ADVrider up at Hopkinton-Everett in NH. I’d gone over to an old railroad bed once before that, but that barely counts.

    Anyway, I’ve only gone maybe 5 times total, but I can promise you that it gets easier. You’ll be surprised what you will be able to make your bike do with not a whole lot of practice.

    Oh, and don’t listen to people talking about your tires – I have the same ones on my XT225. They plow through or over anything, and with the exception of soft sand, I haven’t found myself wanting.

    Stay on the pegs and the gas, and remember to have fun!

    1. Heya Lon 🙂
      Thanks for the encouragement. I keep thinking that it’ll never feel the first time ever again. Once you make it over the hurdle of the unknown, you never get those same feelings back. I am definitely looking forward to the time when I can approach the riding with the same confidence I do on the street. Hopefully that day will come 😀

      Everyone that I’ve met from ADV has been really great. They’ve all been really patient and helpful with sharing their knowledge. What’s you’re screenname there?

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