Last weekend I did my first solo riding in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey on the KTM. Up to that point, my riding in the Pines had always been with friends. But when you’re a boat anchor, you have to know when to cut the tether and let everyone else float away. It’s no fun to feel like you’re holding people up and it’s no fun for them to be held up. That’s how I found myself moseyin’ around in the forest on my own.
The games that we play with ourselves to deal with feeling unsure are funny. I happily ride alone most of the time. But I reasoned that if I was going to be in the forest, I needed to keep myself in places where I could easily relay my location if I needed help. It sounds funny now when I type it out – I wasn’t in Siberia or anything. But the mind works in mysterious ways sometimes.
Following the easy extraction plan meant keeping mostly to roads that had names that I could read on my Zumo 660 GPS. It has only road maps loaded.
When you’re in Wharton State Forest (if you are unfamiliar with the area) you might be surprised what constitutes a road. It can often be a sandy 2-track affair, covered in pine needles, encroaching branches and looks like nothing has traveled on it for years. And yet, glancing at the GPS you’ll find yourself Traveling on X Road.
Granted, in more rural areas than south Jersey maybe you’re used to 2 track forest roads. Not quite as common here in congestion-land.
All in all my first ride alone in the forest was pretty awesome. I got to stop and take pictures, lollygag while looking at trees and streams and the light filtering through – it was exactly what I love about road riding alone. I can hardly wait find myself there amongst the pines again.
Every time that I ride the 690, I am acutely aware of what a great decision it was to buy it. Why did I wait so long?