I like to think of myself as a man of few rules, but I was reminded of at least two of them yesterday while skipping over some rather large rocks on a gnarly trail up the side of a very beautiful (but with somewhat of a large drop-off) ravine.
- Do not go in to the trails alone – a mishap can happen in a moment and if you have a dead bike or damaged body and no cell phone coverage (thanks Rogers). Oh, and you’re quite a ways from anywheres. Well, let’s just say it could spell trouble.
- On Mondays and Wednesdays always make sure that you’re home by 2 pm to get your daughter from the school bus drop off.
It was Wednesday, late morning and I was alone in a ravine having a great time powering the KLR over some pretty testing terrain.
After the last FDSR scout I had figured that that was that, but October continues to amaze, with high teens temps and clear skies, meaning that CMG office work was shelved and the KLR pulled out for one last mission to find out potential gravel options to any paved sections still in the base 450 km loop.
Since it was supposed to be ‘easy’ gravel I didn’t think that a solo ride was going to be problematic. Yes, a mishap at 120 km/h on a wide gravel road could be rather nasty, but unlikely. From my experience most problems happen in the closer tight stuff when a slow bash against a tree or a drop in some mud can quickly become an issue without a second body to help right it.
But then coming up with alternative routes by picking a series of black lines out of a Backroads Map does not guarantee easy gravel roads. A trails may look perfectly reasonable on paper but in the real world it can quickly deteriorate into a succession of mud holes, deep ruts and/or steep rocky climbs. The trick is knowing when to opt out and turn around, the further you push through it the more likely you are to push on as you know all too well what is now behind you.
Thankfully being in my mid-forties with dependents meant that I didn’t push through, and always made sure that nothing too troublesome lay behind me. I actually surprised myself.
The good news is that the 2014 Fundy Dual Sport Rally is going to be a grand day out for any self-respecting dual sport rider who needs an excuse to come out to the east coast for a holiday and a great ride. Yes, there’s still more scouting to be done, but there’s the spring for that, which will be a good time to find some of those mud holes and more challenging options for the rider who wants to get off the main route and, err, test themselves a little more. It’s also a good excuse for me to get out into the trails on the absolutely brilliant KLR project bike (full test coming soon – honest).
As for my ravine experience yesterday, I made it out sans fuss and got the girl from the school bus with plenty of time to boot. I also found a great challenging option to add to the rally. Now all I have to do is organize the damn thing.
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