Dirtbiking – Somewhere South of Peterborough

Amy, Krischele and I arrived at the car pool parking lot off of Highway 115 just after 5pm. We sat in the back of a pick up truck, soaking up the sun, and awaiting our rendezvous with a staff member from Trail Tours. As we sat there reflecting on the age old debate of hotdogs vs. hamburgers, a dirtbike came driving into the parking lot carrying our instructor Allan on top of it. Handshakes and introductions ensued, and then it was time to get down to business as we followed Allan out into the ATV and dirtbike training grounds.

I was told that all we needed to bring was ourselves and a pair of socks. The temptation was strong in the hot may weather, but we all opted to come fully clothed. Still, we were hooked up with the full power-suits: knees pads, pants, boots, elbow pads, shirt, helmet, goggles and gloves. There are even instructions posted on the wall inside the change room on how to gear up. Somehow Krischele still managed to come out of the change room after five minutes and ask us all “How sweet do I look?” followed by “And where do these go?” as she held up her knee pads – the first thing you put on underneath everything else.

Once the gear was on, we were on the bikes and getting familiar with our machines. At first it was a bit intimidating – like many first timers I was excited, but worried that my lack of experience would embarrass me.

The bike’s controls come down to this – your right hand controls the throttle, as well as the front brake. Your left hand controls the clutch. Add in steering and the responsibilities for your hands are covered. Down below, your right foot control your rear brake, and your left foot shifts gears. I know, it makes other first time activities sound easy. The first couple times around the track you have to be very conscious of what each of your limbs are doing.

After 30 minutes of instruction and practice we had it down, all three of us were ripping around the track and what had initially seemed like a complicated alien control system was already becoming intuitive.

Our lesson ended with us heading out to kick up some sand on the forest trails. As I became more and more comfortable on the bike the temptation grew to pop the bike into 5th or 6th gear and just open it up. There were some moments where we were really tearing through the bush, and while I expected some more wipeouts, Amy was the only member of our crew that pushed herself hard enough to take a spill. She wins the soon-to-be-named award for the person who shows the most dedication to a quick learning curve while providing entertainment for those in the immediate area and the online community.

Full credit to our instructors, Allan and John, as well as Jen and Tori who helped us get a lot of the footage. If you’re looking for a place to give dirtbiking or ATVing a try, get in touch with the crew at www.ontariooffroadadventures.com. You can go solo or bring a crew as large as fifty if you’re thinking about a corporate getaway.