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ADV VideosWatch: Through Good and Bad, Why Off-Road Riding Keeps Calling Us

Watch: Through Good and Bad, Why Off-Road Riding Keeps Calling Us

Adversity reveals our true nature. This video explains why that’s a good thing.

Published on 09.06.2019

We’ve all been there. You’re riding with your buddies, maybe on a trail, maybe on a dirt or paved road. The weather’s nice, the riding conditions are excellent, the bikes are running great. You can’t see the smiles under the helmets, but you know they’re there.

Then it happens. Someone crashes hard. Someone pulls over with a flat or a dead fuel pump 10 minutes before sunset. Someone is lost. The skies suddenly open up and the road turns to slop. Your perfect riding day is not so perfect anymore. You can’t tell for sure, but the smiles under the helmets are probably fading.

How you react speaks volumes about who you really are. Do you freak out and throw a tantrum, cursing the moto gods for ruining the ride? Or do you quietly assess the situation, figure out how to get things back on track and reassure the group that everything will be OK?


Tantrums & Quiet Achievers, a video from the dirt bike lovers at Cross Training Enduro Skills, makes the point beautifully. Though you may not realize it at the time, the tough stuff, when things go sideways, is the good stuff because it’s only when people are tested that their true nature is revealed.

The video starts with a great question: What is it about off-road riding that we really love so much? Yes, the bikes are cool and the scenery is often stunning. But after a few seasons of riding, what keeps us coming back for more?

The answer is camaraderie, the chance to be around people who not only share an interest but are genuinely good folks. That deep connection is difficult to find in the modern world, but among off-road riders it seems almost common. “There’s all these really good people in dirt biking,” the narrator says. “All my friends are dirt bikers. It really comes down to the next level of human relationships.”

In the video, the “it” is an unexpected encounter with snow on a group ride. Does anyone know how to ride on snow? Can they even get through? Some riders sail across it, others flounder and get a faceful of the white stuff. It’s amusing footage that serves as a backdrop for an anecdote the narrator tells about a rider who had an awkward meltdown on a group outing, screaming at others and throwing a fit. No one mentioned it again, but no one forgot, either. “Essentially what’s happening is you are vetting people around you,” the narrator says.

The flip side is the person who is confident, helpful and in control no matter how bad things get. Not necessarily the most skilled rider, but the person who takes it all in stride. “That is an incredible person to have on the trail,” the narrator says. “If you have any brains at all that will be your friend for the rest of your life.”

Of course, the same lesson applies to off-road travelers, and maybe in a more intense way. When you’re lost in foreign country, far from civilization or your pickup truck, and you are dealing with a broken bike or injury in your group, you might not even speak the local language… How do you react? 

It’s spelled out at the end of the video: Be the kind of person others want around when the sh!t hits the fan.

Have you had experiences on the trail when someone revealed who they really are?

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby

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September 26, 2019 10:45 am

Sailors call it, “Good man in a storm”.


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