Over the weekend, I attended RawHyde‘s first training course in Colorado. No only did I meet a bunch of great folks (instructors and fellow students), but I learned far more than expected, and had an absolute blast. For anyone that is interested in riding a big bike offroad, I can’t recommend these guys enough. I’m sure I’ll look into their more advanced courses once I’m back next year.
I went into the course knowing that I’d run into rough dirt roads on my trip, so I felt like a little training would go a long way to increase my confidence and safety in confronting this type of terrain. My goal was to be able to feel safe on these types of roads when they were absolutely necessary to get from point A to point B. But now, having completed the course (and learning far more than expected), I feel like I’ve learned to actually enjoy this type of riding, rather than just learning to tolerate it. The shit roads that I will cross have possibly changed from a necessary evil to an incredibly exciting part of the trip!
Yesterday, I practiced flat tire repairs (with Frankie Mechanic), which will be inevitable on this trip. I pulled both wheels from the bike, and removed the tires and tubes, not only to figure out any little tricks to make the process faster, but also to make sure that I will have all the necessary tools to do this while on the road. Its a pretty straightforward process, which I’m sure will speed up after doing it a couple more times.
The rear wheel was easy enough…just get the bike on the center stand, and it’s elevated and easy to remove.
The front was a little more sketchy. Rather than having the bike nice and upright on the center stand, the trick is to put the bike on the side stand, place a pannier below the left pannier mount, then tip the bike over until the bike is on the rear tire, side stand, and pannier. Not too bad on good level ground, but I’m not sure how well it’d balance on a hill.
Once I’m on the road with full panniers and a heavy drybag on the back of the bike, it may be enough weight to elevate the front while on the center stand, which would be a lot more comforting than this circus act. And if a rear tire repair is necessary, I’d just have to remove the panniers and drybag once on the center stand, which is easy enough.