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Trail Riding Tips

This is a discussion on Trail Riding Tips within the ATV Tech Tips forums, part of the Can-Am Tech Area category; From Justwheelin...... Trail Riding Tips! ATV riding isn't very difficult, the first thing it requires is common sense. Our first recommendation is not ride terrain ...

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Old 06-04-2005, 08:45 AM
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From Justwheelin......

Trail Riding Tips!

ATV riding isn't very difficult, the first thing it requires is common sense. Our first recommendation is not ride terrain beyond your ability. If you come upon a trail riding area or situation where you're not sure of how to handle the ATV or what you would do in a worst case scenario, don't do it! Take a minute and think of:

Is my ability up to it?

What will happen if I do have to bail?
Are you by yourself? How far away is help?

Go ahead only after you're satisfied that you can deal
with the consequences of your actions.

Learning how to recover after a technical error, or knowing when to bail is a fine line. For young or inexperienced riders, it's best to ride with seasoned riders who have also had to learn how to ride and can share their expertise.
Another requirement is a respect for the environment. Don't do anything that will harm the environment. Combine these principles with a few easily learned riding techniques, and you've got the makings of a perfect ATVing adventure.

Crossing Obstacles:
Often you'll have more success climbing over obstacles by approaching them straight on. This holds true for downed trees as well as some stairstep hill climbing. With 4X4 ATV's, approach very slowly, and once the wheels are touching, give enough throttle to slowly crawl over the obstacle. ( Not too much throttle, or you may end up doing an out of control wheelie) When your front wheels pass over the obstacle, keep the momentum going so your rear tires will make it also. Or you may end up sitting on your skid plate, not being able to move forward or backward. Also be aware of what your ATV's ground clearance is, as well as your own capabilities.

Don't traverse a hill:
Always climb straight up or straight down a hill. Never try to climb at an angle. And do not try to traverse a hill. Your ATV's weight and the spinning wheels can cause you to slide further sideways than you intended. Depending on the steepness of the slope, sliding sideways can cause an ATV to start rolling.

Don't Spin Your Tires:
Don't spin your tires in mud sand or soft soils. If you sense that your tires are just spinning, and you're no longer making forward progress, stop immediately! Spinning your tires will only dig you down deeper, And if you get buried down to the frame, it will be much harder to free your ATV. If you sense that you are beginning to lose traction, turn your wheels from side to side in a 4X4. Sometimes this will give you a better bite.
Some situations are simple to get into, and easy to get out of, but others can be a test of nerves, stamina and vocabulary. The quickest way to get unstuck is to think your problem through, planning each step you need to take. Planning ahead will save wear on yourself and your ATV!

Stream Crossing:
Cross streams as slowly as possible, creating the least amount of disturbance. Do not cross at speeds that will create "rooster-tails" of water. Always' determine the depth prior to crossing, and know how high your ATV's air intake snorkel is, and never drive up or down a stream. Driving up or down a stream needlessly stirs up dirt and silt, and disturbs the streams' ecology. Cross either at a 90 degree angle to the direction of the stream, or head slightly upstream.

Turning around:
NEVER attempt to turn around on a steep narrow trail. If the terrain is unstable and your ATV gets sideways, there's a dangerous possibility that it could start rolling. If you fail to climb the hill, grab your brakes very hard immediately. If possible, put it in reverse, and let the engine compression and front brakes slow you while you back straight back down the hill.
WARNING: This is one of the most dangerous situations you can get yourself in. If at all possible check the climb very closely before hand, by getting off your machine and walking ahead.
Know what's ahead:
If at all possible, know what to expect from the trail you're riding on, and how difficult it is prior to you getting there. If you're not sure of the trail conditions, be prepared for the worst. Tow ropes, winches, come-alongs, etc.

Have the more experienced riders lead, and watch how he or she handles some of the tricky situations.--
Until they start installing brake lights on quads, raise your left hand to allow riders behind you to know of unexpected terrain changes or obstacles in the trail.

Get to know your ATV! Know your ground clearance and exactly where tire placement is.

The ATV coming up the hill has the right of way. If it's a steep long climb, pull off to the side, and let him pass you before proceeding. Stopping on a long uphill can cause you to lose traction and control. When riding up long steep hills, keep your momentum going.

If you unexpectadly turn a corner or crest a hill, and there's another ATV (or anything) coming straight at you, make a quick turn to the right while slowing down. Hopefully your counterpart will do the same.

When coming up on someone on horseback, pull off to the side, stop your engine, and take off your helmet. A horse doesn't recognize you as a human, when wearing a helmet, as a result the horse may be frightened by this weird "animal".

Let others enjoy the outdoors in peace. Don't play loud music. Maybe you like vintage Zeppelin blasted at top volume, but that's not what others come to nature to experience.

Always offer assistance to somebody in need of it. And always be prepared for medical emergencies with a good First Aid Kit, and Ace bandage for wrapping compound fractures.

Never blaze your own trail.
Pick up any litter you find, even if it's not yours!

Restrict your drinking alcoholic beverages until after the riding is over.

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