A few weeks ago, I decided to enroll into a beginners dirt bike class with a few of my friends. It was held at this great place nestled in the Texas Hill Country called Hidden Falls Adventure Park. If you love everything that is dirt related, you would love this facility. This place accommodates just about every kind of off road vehicle on its 3000 acres of freedom. hiddenfallsadventurepark.com
The instructor was able to put something together for the five of us, a relatively small class. I have to say, it was more challenging that I originally thought. I’m a late starter to this love that is motorcycling. Started riding back in 2005 and since then – only on street bikes. What made me want to take this course was the hope that I can pickup a few more “tips/tools” to add to my riding tool bag. From much reading, the confidence and skill you gain from riding on loose terrain is a plus when you combine that skill to street/track riding.
The class was filled with the similar challenges as you would find on your street bike MSF course. But with one anomaly, loose terrain. At first arrival, we were greeted by our days instructor, the bikes we would be riding and the relatively small course we were going to become very very intimate with. The course was about half the size of a football field, somewhat flat and with gradual inclines on one end. A very controlled area and away from any trees or other hazards we may launch ourselves into. Among our group, only one has had dirt bike experience in their past and another that had recently purchased a lovely Yamaha WR450R. The instructor’s first comment when looking at his group of Sport Touring riders, was our gear. We all wore our textile riding gear with regular street helmets and non-armored leather boots. Only the friend that was riding the WR450R was wise enough to wear his moto style helmet and other gear. But the instructor assured us what we had on was enough for what we were going to experience that day.
The day started with temps in the high 40’s and never really got over the 50’s. With looming clouds and forecast of rain, the weather gods blessed us with dry windy weather. My first impression of a dirt bike was it was very tall, very twitchy, hard to kick start. I decided to pick a Honda (the only one in the lot of 2 smaller Kawasakis, and a KTM. I sorely missed my electric start but I knew this may be a requirement. As the day progressed, the physical demand of these bikes quickly made us shed our base layers and mop up the sweat from our brows. I was immediately stunned on how well these bikes road over all kinds of rocks, small logs and holes. It was a little hard to completely trust the bike and myself when rolling over these objects but the bike was more than willing. As the lessons became more technical, requiring more clutch/throttle finesse. My twitchy Honda got the best of me, spun the bike into a 180 degree spin and I ended up with a strained hamstring. Was able to complete half the course and watch on the sidelines as the rest completed the rest of the class.
Over all, I had a wonderful time and I’m looking forward to a do-over class in the near future. My hamstring is feeling better after a couple of weeks of rest and care. I highly recommend that folks take a class like this. It will give the street rider a little bit more confidence in the event your rear wheel breaks loose and it allows you manage those kinds of experiences better. Will post my experience from my 2nd time around. Hopefully before the Texas Summer heat gets the best of us.
Until then, I have track day coming up tomorrow. Will post my experiences and maybe some video.
Y’all Ride Safe!