SAFETY

Failing, It's Going to Happen | A Guide to Staying Mindful & Managing Expectations When Learning to Ride Dirt

Discouragement is something that can come from learning any new challenging thing. As more and more people take to the dirt, we think it’s important to talk about how to overcome the mental block we sometimes experience from “failing” or not advancing as quickly as you think you should. Take it from me, if I had a $1 for every time I failed hard while riding (or in life), I’d be richer than Oprah.

Manage Expectations

Street to Dirt? Should be Easy Right?! Not exactly. For the majority of riders, going from street to dirt may seem like a breeze but we promise its an entirely different animal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been riding street for over 10 years, the dirt will humble even the most skilled person (and that is ok!). These machines do not acknowledge ego so if you go into it with a level you think you should be at but simply are not there yet, you are going to have a really hard time focusing on learning or potentially getting injured.

  • Slow down (mentally and physically)

  • Invest in quality gear that fits

  • Accept that you are starting as a new rider all over again

  • Take the time to learn trail etiquette

  • Stick to open spaces and green trails then work your way up

  • Don’t give up

Practice Makes Perfect

You won’t become a better rider without putting in the seat time. Make the effort to add a few ride days with pals who are a bit more experienced on your ical and enjoy the camaraderie that follows. The feedback, cheerleading, and advice you’ll get while on the trail from your buds is the best . Whatever you do, don’t give up. No friends yet? Well damn… come to Babes in the Dirt 5 and meet some :)

Take Lessons | Ask Questions | Watch YouTube Videos

There are so many incredible classes you can take to become a better rider. Google your area to see what is close to you, you might be surprised. Nothing in your area? There is a world of YouTube videos on technique that you can watch and apply on your own.

Some of our favorite classes are taught by:

Babes in the Dirt

Riding Season is Here! Time to Brush Up on Trail Etiquette

With riding season coming straight at us we thought we'd brush up on our trail etiquette. No matter how many years you've been riding, it's always a great idea to remind yourself of these simple ways to keep yourself, your friends, and other riders as safe as possible while being courteous at the same time. Take a minute to review and please share! Even though you may be experienced and knowledgeable, there are so many new riders that may need an introduction or a friendly re-fresher on trail etiquette :) The more we talk about it, the more riders it will reach <3. 

Babes in the Dirt

Symbols: The presence of a symbol without a red slash through it or the presence of a symbol beneath the words "OPEN TO" indicates the route is open to that use. Make sure you take a look at what other vehicles (or animals) will be using this trail. 

Be familiar with who you are sharing the trail with and be on the look out. Always yield to animals and non motorized trail riders.&nbsp;

Be familiar with who you are sharing the trail with and be on the look out. Always yield to animals and non motorized trail riders. 

Staging: Staging is where you off-load and prepare for your ride. When staging, pull off the road at the trail head to prepare your vehicle and group. Don’t block access to the trail while staging. Be mindful of trailers and stow your ramps & other loose items. Be aware of how much space you are taking up to be courteous of other adventure seekers coming in throughout the day. 

Keep exits and entrances clear at all times

Keep exits and entrances clear at all times

Use Hand Signals: One of the most necessary ways of keeping you and your group safe is by using hand signals to alert other riders of how many riders to expect coming up or down the trail within your group. When passing or meeting other riders on the trail, give them a hand signal to let them know how many riders are left behind you in your group. Use four fingers if you have four or more riders behind you. Riders behind you should be signaling how many are behind them as well. Below, images show (2) riders behind lead, (1) rider behind lead and when you see the closed fist, the trail is clear as the fist represents that person is the last rider in the group but remain alert, no telling when another group will be heading your way.

Letting Others Pass: When approaching another vehicle from behind, pass on the left, keeping a safe distance and speed. Once past, let them know the number of remaining vehicles in your party. This can done by speaking to them or using hand signals.

Finally, understand vehicle differences. Motorcycles have a certain minimum speed they can travel before they want to flop over, especially on rough, rocky, or uneven surfaces. When passing a full-size 4WD vehicle, be patient. It can take a while for them to maneuver to the side of the trail. Motorcycle and ATV riders need to be mindful not to roost the vehicles they just passed. Nobody likes a cracked windshield or a mouthful of dust.