Friday, 9 June 2017

Big bike off road?

Things change

I've been having somewhat of a renewed interest in off-road recently and during a weekend in Wales I discovered the GSA is probably a lot more capable than I am.
Going the wrong way (up) a one-way track, apparently. Dropped it turning around.
Didn't break the half-dozen eggs that where in the left pannier though. 
It was a steep rocky climb, tough on a big bike but I really enjoyed it, though only short-lived. I'd already been making plans for a trip to the Pyrenees as I really fancy the idea of getting my bike up a mountain and I'd even planned out some routes but following this trip my usual riding buddy decided to stick to tarmac from now on leaving me as Billy-no-mates.

I'm quite happy to ride on my own but it's wise to have help when venturing off-road. I had put together a 5:1 "Z-Drag" or "Z-Rig" recovery system in anticipation of doing more severe tracks, giving me a fighting chance of getting the behemoth right-side up again, even on my own. I enjoy playing boy-scout with rope and cord and I can now tie a Prusik, Bowline, Clove hitch, Taut-line hitch, Trucker's hitch, Fisherman's knot, Figure 8 etc. All fine assuming I'm not injured.

So I should probably just get better at riding off road to reduce the risk of going solo, after all, overlanders do it solo all the time, no? Maybe I should get some more local dirt miles in again. There's a group of guys I could probably ride with but they've kind of migrated to dirt bikes which is a different kind of riding and they don't tend do the longer distances and touring that I like to do.

I do have some experience of "off-road" riding, though most of it was a few years ago, so I thought again about doing the BMW Off-Road Skills course. I'm thinking it'd probably be wise to do level 1 & 2 before a solo trip to the Pyrenees, but that's a fair bit of cash I can't spare and would push back the trip by a year at least. What to do?

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