Riding your motorcycle off-road is so much fun but it can be very dangerous. If you’re looking for a new challenge and you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, you might decide to leave the roads behind and try your bike out on some off-road tracks. However, if you have only ridden on roads in the past and you aren’t used to difficult terrain, it’s a big adjustment. Your risk of accidents is much higher, so it’s important that you know how to prepare yourself and handle the bike safely before you set off. These are some of the best safety tips for riding your bike off-road.
Get The Right Gear
Whenever you are riding, it’s important that you wear the right motorcycle clothing to protect yourself. This is especially important when you are riding off-road because your risk of falling off is much higher. The rough terrain is also more dangerous if you do fall off, so make sure that you invest in some good quality gear. A safety hamlet, good quality boots and tough leathers with shoulder and elbow protection are all essential.
If you are riding off-road, it’s also important that you protect your eyes. You will kick up a lot of dirt and if it gets in your eyes, that’s incredibly dangerous, so you should at least pick up a good quality pair of sunglasses. If you follow this link, you’ll find plenty of great sunglasses that are perfect for riding. You can get more protection if you wear a visor on your helmet as well but sunglasses give you added protection from the UV rays and make sure that your vision isn’t compromised while you are riding.
Bring A Toolkit
When you are riding off-road, your bike is under a lot of stress compared to what it is when you are on normal roads, which means that it’s far more likely to break. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere and you run into issues, you need to be able to fix your bike up so you can at least make it to a mechanic and avoid getting stranded. It’s a good idea to bring a basic toolkit with you whenever you ride and spend some time learning a few basic repair techniques.
Before you head out on your ride, make sure that you are up to date with all of your routine maintenance. Check the tire pressure and brakes and make sure that you have a full tank before you leave. Small routine maintenance jobs can help you to avoid serious problems in the future, so don’t neglect them.
Tell Somebody Where You Are Going
There are plenty of well known off-road spots where you are likely to cross paths with some other riders. However, if you spend some time doing your research, you can find some great secluded spots that other people don’t really know about. This is great, but it can also be very dangerous because, if you fall off and injure yourself and nobody knows where you are, you will find yourself stranded. Before you head out on your ride, you should always let somebody know where you are going and what time you plan to get back. You won’t always get phone signal in the middle of nowhere so you won’t be able to contact anybody if there is a problem, so it’s always good to have somebody looking out for you.
Be Cautious Of Other Riders
If you are on a busy trail, it’s so important that you are cautious of other riders so you can avoid accidents. Don’t assume that all riders will be heading in the same direction and always be aware of people coming towards you. If you do see another group heading in the opposite direction, you should always signal to the head rider how many are in your group. The last person in your group then gives them the all clear signal once you have all passed. This will ensure that people manage their speed until the coast is clear and you can avoid any dangerous collisions.
It’s also important that you are sensible about riding on busy trails, even though you already know the dangers of riding your bike on the road because trail riding is a lot different. If there are already a lot of other riders, it can be dangerous so you may want to consider heading to a different spot or at least waiting a while until it’s a bit quieter.
Use Two-Finger Clutch Operation
Before you ride off-road, you should always adjust your clutch so you can operate it using only your index and middle finger. This allows you to maintain grip on the handlebars at all times, which is so important when you are riding on rough terrain. It also gives you a quicker response time and makes your clutch operation a lot smoother, so you can tackle difficult obstacles easily.
Maintain Your Speed
When driving on the road, you slow down to stay safe on a tight corner or in heavy traffic. But when you are riding off-road, you need to do the opposite and speed up to stay safe. It seems counterintuitive but when you are riding in sand and silt, you are a lot more stable at higher speeds, especially if you ride a relatively light bike. When you slow down and lose momentum, it will be much harder to keep the bike upright, so if you feel yourself start to slip, hit the throttle and you should be fine. Shifting your weight backwards will add more traction to the rear wheel and stabilize you even further.
Be Careful With The Front Brake
Using your front brake on a corner is always a risk when you are riding off-road because you can easily lose control. It’s actually far safer to pump the front brakes on a straight before the corner to manage your speed and then let up on the brakes and accelerate into the corner.
Learning to ride off-road is a bit of an adjustment but as long as you follow these safety tips, you will have a lot of fun.