Tag: dirt riding

Just a Girl And Her KTM in the Forest

Just a Girl And Her KTM in the Forest

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?

Am I Finally Getting Better at Dirt Riding?

Am I Finally Getting Better at Dirt Riding?

Time – the most precious commodity there is.

When you find a person who willingly shares such a precious resource with you – it’s a great feeling. I have a friend, Gary who has taken me under his wing and has gone out of his way to help me along with my dirt riding. He has a manner and patience that seems to be helping to turn my mindset around.

He’s just a good dude.

fuzzygalore and advwannab

The last few times we’ve gone out riding, Kenny gets to zip off and run with the gazelles while Gary babysits me and coaxes me in to relaxing. Not by doing anything in particular but rather just being his natural laid back self. The result has been a boost in my confidence and pace.

fuzzygalore in the woods

When Kenny and I drove home from riding in the Pine Barrens last weekend I couldn’t help but remark that it was the best day of dirt riding that I’d ever had. For the first time I felt like I’m actually getting better. Can you believe it?

fuzzygalore  in the cranberry bogs

It seems like with Gary’s encouragement and patient tutelage I’m finally chilling the fuck out. I’m just so glad to be feeling good.

Big Kids Playing in the Puddles

Big Kids Playing in the Puddles

At some point you just come to terms with your shortcomings. I will never be a confident dirt rider. There is something about the looseness of it that I cannot give myself over to. That and the fact that I don’t do it nearly enough to become good at it.

Riding dirt roads, gravel roads, dirt trails – I’m fine. As soon as I see water and mud? Forget about it. I freeze. When the answer is often to keep your momentum going to carry you through I end up shooting myself in the foot and slowing down to collect my thoughts before tackling whatever sopping mess is in front of me.

When we were riding in Berkshires this spring, things were…. damp. I tentatively putt-putted my way through some big, long puddles.

fuzzygalore riding in the puddles

My dude and fellow unicorn spotter Gary directing me to avoid a big rock under the water.

fuzzygalore riding out of the puddle

He must’ve been looking out for me after witnessing me fling both me and my bike down an embankment about 10 minutes earlier. Judging by the look on his face when I came back to Earth and looked at him, it must’ve been quite the spectacular wipeout. Oopsie.

fuzzygalore riding in the puddles

I’ll just keep tagging along on these dual sport rides when I can. If nothing else, the scenery is always great! 🙂

Day 13: Drop In, Pop Out – #29in29

Day 13: Drop In, Pop Out – #29in29

There is a funny thing the happens to the look of terrain in a photo.

Dropping In

– click pix to embiggen –

Popping Out

When you’re standing there in person looking over the edge of a drop, it looks like a cliff. Then when you get home and look at the photos, it seems so much more tame. Photos never seem to do the terrain justice.

This climb was too much for me. The last portion was a vertical wall. I didn’t even contemplate trying it. Instead, Chloe and I were a cheering section for the types with balls.

You can see this particular hill climb in a video posted on StayOnTheGas.com.

Day 8: This is the Coolest Motorcycle Chick I Know – #29in29

Day 8: This is the Coolest Motorcycle Chick I Know – #29in29

The Coolest Motorcycle Chick I know

I often wonder what it’ll be like for her someday when she thinks back to the time when she first learned to ride a dirtbike as a kid. Will she be a lifelong motorcyclist? Will she always carry that torch in her heart? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we sure are having a lot of fun riding together as a family. I couldn’t be any more proud of her – on or off the bike.

Meeting a Rockstar on the Trail

Meeting a Rockstar on the Trail

One of the things that I’ve always said interest me about off-road riding is that you have the opportunity to see things that you might not when you’re on your streetbike. Getting to see animals that aren’t squished is always a treat.

On our last ride, Chloe and I saw deer and a red fox. For a kid who loves animals that was a major score. But, my favorite animal of the day was Rockstar Horse. He was hanging out doing horse-things with his friends in a corral at the edge of the property.

Chloe and Mommy

We parked our bikes up on a hill and walked down to take a look. I’ve heard it said that horses get kind of creeped out when they can’t see your eyes, so Chloe and I took our helmets off as we approached them.

Rockstar Horse

Check out that sweet Andy Warhol hairdo!

Look at ‘im. He’s all hipster-pony and “Whatevs, I was totally into Band of Horses before they got big.”  I just love this guy.

Do horses get winter coats or are some just naturally more shaggy than others?

Moto Photo: Me and My Shadow

Moto Photo: Me and My Shadow

It’s that time of year when the shadows start to get long early in the day.

me and my shadow

This photo was snapped on the GoPro when Chloe and I were out riding our dirt bikes. Just my girl and me… and our shadows.

How About You?

Have a blog? Have a photo of you and your shadow on the bike? Let’s see it!

Memorial Day Weekend Family Dirt Riding

Memorial Day Weekend Family Dirt Riding

The long Memorial Day weekend gave our little family a lot of time to do the things we love, together. We hung around on the beach, barbequed and thanks to the generosity of friends – there was even some time to do some family trail riding.

Kenny Family Dirt Day

Chloe continues to progress in her riding. As a mom, I stand around watching her go – just beaming.

Chloe riding in the woods

With a child, you carry the hope in your heart that they do things  – not to please you – but because whatever it is speaks to them. That was one of the things I wrestled with, when we surprised Chloe with her dirt bike. Never having ridden one before how could we possibly know whether she would like it or not?

I can say with confidence that my monkey loves her dirt bike, not because anyone wants her to. But because it’s fun.

Chloe on the trail

Watching her move through the trail with confidence and grace is inspiring. Seeing her unfazed after wiping out, picking her bike back up and get going again makes me so proud. She has a self-sufficiency and fearlessness that I wish I could master.

Kids can teach you so much.

The Joy of Being a Motorcycle Momma

The Joy of Being a Motorcycle Momma

Chloe has never asked for a dirt bike of her own so getting one for her birthday was a big surprise.

While at work last week, I got a video clip of Chloe masterfully doing circles and figure 8’s around the backyard. Watching my monkey out there motoring through the yard absolutely lit my heart up.

In no time at all, she went from tentative wobbling to graceful motion.

I can honestly say that I never really knew the limitless depth of happiness until I became a parent. The ability to be truly happy for someone else went to a whole other level. Watching your child triumph is a gift.

Okay, Let’s Ride!

On Sunday, Chloe got to try her new wheels outside of the confines of our yard. Our family went to a trail riding event hosted by the Long Island Recreational Trails Conservancy.

She began her day riding around a course that ran through a plowed cornfield. It is designed to let beginners exercise their new skills while parents can clearly see them move through the course. The ground is soft, there isn’t anything hard to run in to. It’s a great low pressure environment to learn in.
Chloe Riding the beginner course

Just watching her riding along, it seemed to me that a kid possesses some innate knowledge of how to do things. I guess “life” hasn’t clogged up their thinking with a bunch of what if’s and noise. They just seem to operate on instinct.

Chloe riding in the woods

Once she got comfortable moving through the course, we took her into the woods. She seemed completely relaxed navigating her way along the trail and snaking through the trees. When I consider this was her first day of riding a motorcycle on something other than the wide open grass of our backyard, I was completely impressed. She did great!

Kenny and Chloe riding in the woods

There was no complaining, no I can’t or I don’t know how – Chloe jumped in with both feet and went for it.
Oopsie - Chloe picks up her bike

Sure, she fell along the way but she became adept at picking herself back up and getting herself back on the trail. I could stand to take a few pointers from her.

I had a great day!When we came home, we sat outside talking about the day. I asked her what her favorite part was. Her answer was, “I didn’t have one.”

I must admit I was a little taken off guard by that until she followed it up with, “I loved all of it. Well,… not so much the falling.”

After being out on the bikes all day, Chloe asked if she could ride some more in the backyard.

I love her spirit, resilience and her ability to accept the idea that anything is possible. That last bit is something so many grown-ups seem to un-learn.

I’m one seriously proud Momma.

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