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March 19, 2010

Good Dirt for you

Spring is here, let’s go riding! You know, I’m not a huge fan of the cold, bitter weather of Canadian winter, but it definitely makes me appreciate these warm, sunny days that much more. All I can think about is calling in sick, loading up the pickup with a YZ and heading out to Gopher Dunes

On the topic of riding, OFTR’s Ken Hoeverman was in the office yesterday discussing the going-ons of trail riding in Ontario. Ken is a passionate, intelligent guy who has some really good ideas, many of which are already in action, to promote off-road riding throughout the province.

His main objective is answering the most simplest of questions for new (and even current) riders. Things like, Where can I ride? Do I need a license plate? Do I need insurance? Where can I learn how to ride? Furthering his proactive approach, Ken wrote these questions down on hang-tags, and has sent them to supporting dealerships to place onto bikes.

Makes sense … I’m buying a bike, now tell me where I can ride it. It’s not like it used to be; you can’t just fire up your bike and head out into the great unknown. Well, you can, but it’s not going to help the cause.

Insurance has been a longstanding battle for those wishing to hit the trails without spending a fortune. Fortunately, the wall is starting to crumble. Ken and his group have worked out a deal with Open Skies Insurance. Beginning May 1, 2010, Open Skies is offering a flat rate liability only insurance for trail plated bikes in Ontario. The rate is $160/year for non-members, and OFTR members receive a 25 percent discount on the premium. Not too bad, eh!

Stay tuned to their website, oftr.ca, for more details.

Noise (more sound = less ground), who to ride with, training facilities, current stats, and general trail riding responsibility was discussed as well. Probably the biggest hurdle that keeps us dirty dirt bike riders from gaining more ground, is the fact that we’re still looked upon as “bad.” We’re no good. Our bikes our loud, we kick up dust and promote chaos everywhere we go. I don’t mind being considered a badass (chicks dig it!) but this “dirt bikers are bad guys” has got to stop.

Most of those on the trail are reasonable, approachable people, and it’s usually families and kids looking to enjoy our land. Our tainted image won’t be removed overnight, but if we work together, and support clubs and organizations who are taking on “the man,” we’ll get there.

I’m more of a track than trail rider, so my knowledge of trail riding is limited. But I am working on making contact with other regions in Canada, and will do my best to bring the pertinent info to you guys and girls here. Darryl Copithorne of Alberta Society of Off-road Motorcyclists (ASORM) touched base with me today, and appears to be trying to create some structure in his region. I’ve also shared some conversations with Scott Josey, who works with the Nova Scotia Off-Road Riders Association (NSORRA). Those guys should be able to answer any questions in their respective regions.

If you have any suggestions of places to ride, that won’t cause a fuss, feel free to share them with us. Or if you have ideas that could help bring new light to off-road riding, share them also.

Keep the rubber side down!


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Posted @ 3:18 pm in Authors,Commuting,Dirt,Yamaha Insights   

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