It was a lazy weekend day in more ways than one. The temperature outside was warm and the sun was in and out of the clouds. Not too sunny and hot and not too cold, it was just right. I too was lazy in more ways than one. It was about 10:30 AM and I was still in my sweats and a t-shirt padding around the house planning how I might round out the rest of the day doing nothing.
That plan however, was soon to go astray, to my good fortune. For coming up the road, first softly but then more insistent was the sound of single cylinder motorcycles heading up our gravel road. Hmmm… I wondered. Who was going to go play on the class four road at the end of my gravel road? There were lots of downed trees and mud, it would be quite a challenge to run that I thought to myself. But as I daydreamed about who might be taking on the challenge, the sound of the bikes became louder. Not just louder as in closer as they passed my house, but louder as in they were coming up my gravel driveway.
It must be Fredo I thought, and as I scurried to the windows at the side of the house, I found it was indeed Fredo and another friend Joe. Fredo on his KTM 250 XCF two stroke and Joe on his KTM 690E four stroke. Awesome was my first thought. So as I semi-ran down the stairs to greet them, my second thought was, I think I may be going for a ride today! And ride we did. It was great, I’ll tell you all about it shortly.
But first let me tell you about Fredo. If you’ve ever wanted a riding buddy, someone who you could ride with just to go out and have fun, it would be Fredo. That definition doesn’t extend just to the riding times either. On and off the bike, Fredo’s the kind of guy that just hanging with is a joy. Always with a smile and something good to say about everyone, Fredo is the epitome of the guy you want as your friend.
Oh, and Fredo can ride, FAST. Although he claims there are other guys much faster than him, Fredo is one speedy and accomplished muchacho. For example, I was at the KTM shop where we both bring our bikes for service. I was talking to one of the techs about how Fredo kicks my butt each time we ride in the woods and he quickly added, “Hey, I’m in my 30’s and I can’t keep up with him.” Well dear reader, I’m here to tell you that I’m in my 50s and I can’t even stay near him when he’s on the gas. The truth be told, when I’m quickly vanishing in his mirrors, he’s probably not really on the gas for him. But he’d never say so. Oh well…
But that brings me to the point of this little article. I’ve been riding with Fredo for about 3 years or so now. We’ve ridden some pretty cool terrain. We’ve done wide gravel roads, we’ve done single track woods, we’ve done mud, water crossings, rutted hills, ridden in snow, over rocks, leaves, you name it we’ve ridden it. In riding with Fredo, I’ve learned a lot. More than I would have learned riding by myself in many, many years.
Sometimes, it hasn’t been very easy and frankly, I’ve fallen off quite a few times trying to keep up. In fact, on this particular ride, I had my first inadvertent off trail excursion. Coming down a hill with the speed up (for me) trying to stay with Fredo and Joe, I somehow managed to lose the front end and off the trail and into the woods I went. It was one of those moments when you get religion real fast. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and I can now add another place. There are no atheists on careening motorcycles headed off trail into the trees.
Luckily, I did not have communion with any trees and the only injury I received was a severe bruise to my already battered ego. But once again Fredo came to my rescue. Noting that I was not in sight, he turned right around and found me off trail in the woods. He wouldn’t even let me ride out. Noting that I was pretty winded, he basically took my bike away from me and hand manipulated it back onto the trail which was no easy feat since I had gone down an embankment several feet.
What all of this leads me to is to tell you that you need not go a long distance to get adventure in your riding. The single track, woods riding, water crossings, mud, rutted hills, all the different and challenging terrain each present various forms of adventure. Take advantage of it when and where you can. This particular ride only lasted 3 or 4 hours but gave me a significant sense of adventure. It will do the same for you if you let it. Get out on some terrain that challenges you. Make it a bit of work and learn some new skills. You’ll be better off for it and with your new found skills, you’ll be able to conquer that kind of terrain when you go on that long “cross-country” adventure ride, or find yourself on terrain that you hadn’t expected. Bring a friend along who hopefully has better skills and learn together. It will be fun, you can count on it.
I would say you could ride with Fredo, but he already has enough of a challenge with me.
Ride2Adventure – Shrink the Planet, One Ride at a Time