Dirtbike riding is a sport unlike all others. Endurance, strength, determination, and just a little insanity can all be found inside each participant.
Beyond the veil of our sheer drive to succeed and win is a much deeper connection between all riders. Anyone who has ridden sand dunes or trails can attest to the “family” mentality that helps us all stay running and getting back home safe. It truly is a testament to a sport that prides itself on brotherhood and togetherness as one, even though this is the same sport that has been given the reputation of needing to be a self focused, out to kill everyone on the gate with you mentality.
We all can remember the feeling of throwing our leg over our first dirtbike while dad holds the clutch lever and tries to be as calming as he can. The last words you hear from a somewhat shaky voice are “be careful, you will be fine!” The first time he let go as you dump the clutch and hammer the throttle, speeding away with legs hanging back like Pee Wee Herman in his big adventure, was the scariest yet most free feeling yet. Once your legs somehow magically find their way to the foot pegs and you realize ‘I got this’, suddenly you feel invincible. What started as a way to become free and escape the “stress of being a 10 year old” has quickly become a competition amongst friends and family.
The drive of a raging pre-teen is a force to be reckoned with. The mixture of inexperienced recklessness and the willingness to do whatever it takes to win creates a “boom or bust” mentality. All these feelings, emotions and experiences shape us as we grow older and more mature. From the inexperience and recklessness we gain an awareness and capacity to teach others from the mistakes we had once made.
From the deep desire to win at all costs we gain a respect for those who also share our same passion and drive. Together, as our circle becomes bigger and our network grows stronger, we not only have an opportunity but it is our responsibility to pass along our vast amounts of knowledge and experiences to progress the generation to follow in our footsteps.
I have learned some core values with a unique upbringing such as this that I think are worth passing along.
The ability to persevere. If you have ever had a bike blow up miles from camp you know what I am talking about. You don’t want to push your bike through the soft sand in all your gear with the sun beating down on you but, you do it because you have no other choice and your dirtbike is valuable to you, just like your family
Cleanliness just like we learned in Boy Scouts, the golden rule of camping “leave it cleaner than you found it”. Boy this would be great if everyone learned, so many times have I gone to unload after finally finding the perfect camp spot and walk up to the fire pit and it is full of abs and broken beer bottles. GLASS beer bottles!? like we don’t use riding machines with tubeless or tubed tires. But anyway that’s another rant for another day. I love when you are about to leave and see how clean that campground is knowing that whoever uses it next will be happy to not have to shovel the fire pit or clean up under the shady trees before they can even enjoy the fact they are out there.
Caring. Simple but important. If I could count how many times I have had to ask or have been asked for anything from plastic forks to firewood and as I learned karma is a funny thing. “For every act of kindness, you align with the world around you, the world in return rewards you 10 fold”. This sport I love so passionately has blessed me with meeting some of the most caring people who would give you almost anything to help you get by, and here is the crazy part, for nothing I return. Dirtbiking seems to have a very different mindset that is unique to it. “Pay it forward” and I have adopted that mindset from childhood watching interactions between my parents and people they came across.
Independence. I struggle watching the lack of this in the generations to come. I enjoy getting out alone and spend the night just to reassure myself how strong I am and capable of supporting myself in any situation. In my personal opinion if you are not capable of taking care of yourself you are not capable of taking care of your family. A strong grounded man is willing to stop at nothing to get the things done to provide for his family, not only camping but in life.
In closing on this personal belief and observation of mine, I ask you what are values or traits you have learned by riding. Do they look like mine? Let me know what about this sport keeps you going and the lessons you pass to your children as part of your legacy.