I went dirt
Since getting the Strom I kinda figured that I was only going to use half its potential if I never went off-road with it. The problem being; apart from a few small sections, I’ve never ridden off road. My only real experience being a single lap of Larbert road on MickC’s KLR250 and on the same say dropping Gos’s monster Z750 Dirt-thing in the sand.
I bunged up a message on CR asking if anyone would mind taking me out so I could get a handle on it. Basically someone to baby-sit me while I at least get comfortable with the whole concept. A mate, Terry Cunningham messaged me and said he was happy to. A couple of others also did so we decided to meet up at the Caltex at Hume this morning.
By the time I rocked up (having forgotten my wallet the first time) there was close to 20 bikes there. This wasn’t going to be daunting at all….
The dirt bit was to start up in a small town called Hoskinstown (which I’m still not 100% sure where that is, I just remember the sign) and out through Tallaganda Forest. I have to be completely honest and say I’m really unsure where we actually went (seems to be a pattern here) however I know we did stop at a stunning little Campground at Lowden Forest Park and its old time water wheel.
I really went out expecting just to get a feel of a normal, graded dirt road. Nothing exciting; but the kind of thing that may sit in between me and a place I want to go out on a tour someplace. What I ended up having to tackle was (for me at least) some pretty knarly firetrails and and a lot more hard-core (cough, splutter – I know) tracks that I expected.
BUT! I’m damn glad I did. I learned WAAAAY more than I would have other wise. I got to learn how the bike feels and behaves on rocky downhill runs, on soft sand and mud (dont like those bits honestly), and belting over whoops.
So some, but limited to…..
- I like having the grunt of that engine to push the bike up slow hills.
- Although not knobbies – those Tourace tyres are not horrible on dirt
- The bike feels 10 times heavier when your tired and sore
- Speaking of; my neck and shoulders are RUINED. But I know thats from hanging on too tight (hanging on for grim death more like it)
- I wasn’t expecting so many people to show up, but in the end the faster, more experience guys didnt seem to care and they were all good guys.
- I haven’t gotten to the point of standing and riding. Mainly because I dont feel i have the required throttle control. Also my knees are WAY above to tank to try and steer.
- Speaking of, I think lower pegs and (even) higher bars are coming.
- Also a bash plate.
- It was FANTASTIC to get out into a world that would otherwise be inaccessible to me. I’m not sure I’ll ever be a hard-core dirt rider, but its nice to know I can and with more practise the easier it will be.
- I really started to enjoy riding over the whoops, until I got a little too enthusiastic and got air and landed funny… in mud. Kept it up tho 😀
- I’m really sore.
- I shat myself when I saw the dip into Lowden Park, but made myself do it and was fine. Win.
- I eventually learned to look out for and stay out of runts. Which by the way can be disguised just dirt, but theyre ruts FULL of soft dirt… which tend to lead to the edge of the road. Where there are trees and pain.
- I dont like soft sand.
- The experienced riders going past standing up, in a silent (I wear ear plugs and they had stock exhausts) haze of dust is a surreal experience. Don’t know why – just is.