Choose your own adventure.
Obstacles met when out dirt bike riding are supposed to present a challenge, not a health hazard.
In 1976 Edward Packard created the concept of "Chose your own adventure". OK, so these were just story books, but life is meant to imitate art; so here we go.
You are 30 something; or maybe 40 something. You've been off the bikes for quite a few years, but now you're developing an itch that you just aren't able to scratch. Why?
Because there are three fundamental roadblocks in the way.
1) You have a mortgage and, although you have done all the right things (i.e. you have equity and a little 'mojo' money on the side), you can't really afford to get injured to the point where you would need to take 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave;
2) You have kids and you know that if you get a bike all you will hear, everyday until the next millennia dawns, is "Dad, can I have a dirtbike? Dad! Can I? Muuuuuummmmm......?????"
3) Your spouse does not want you to indulge in a mid-life crisis that will ostracize you from him/her and the kids every other weekend.
But that itch! It just won't go away, will it? Well, it is time to chose your own adventure.
Do you:
a) Throw caution to the wind, wander down to your local and drop $16 K on the latest that Beta, Gas Gas, Sherco or Husqvarna has to offer? Imagine it. You could spend every coming Sunday rolling through the single tracks up at the Power Lines. Or splitting closed-canopy forest fire trails down south of Manji. Or roosting the white powder dunes at "Lano". It would be magic, wouldn't it?
If you chose this adventure the story ends here, because you and I both know how this will pan out. Even if you come home on Sunday evening without any broken bones (which is far from guaranteed for any trail rider), the kids will be hanging off the rafters, the dishes will be toppling out of the sink, the dog will have dissected your favorite slippers and the lawn will have grown an inch longer than it should have in a day. Why? Because, when you leave your family behind to ride, there is a shift in the space time continuum and more things will go south on the home front than are practically possible in the time you were away.
Or do you:
b) Give careful consideration to the family as a collective, and drop similar coin on a 'family-sized serve' of bikes - one for each member of the family (except the dog, of course).
If you chose this adventure, then there is some hope that your adventure is prospective.
If you throw your dough at a bunch of non-ADR compliant dirt bikes you will be very limited for choice as to where you can ride. You could join a motorcross club, but you will quickly find yourself taking a lot of extra time off both your work and your mortgage repayments to deal with injury. You could take it down a notch and try to find contentment riding in one of the 'Recreational Moto Parks'. But I will wager that, instead, you will quickly find yourself feeling that a lobotomy would be a better way to spend a Sunday. Either that or you will spend the day riding around wondering if it is actually possible to impale yourself on a 'white good'.
The reality is that if you want to ride dirt-bikes with your kids there are about four places in the entire metro area you can ride. And I said ride, not ride safely. Pinjar has a few km's of single track; but it is about as flat and featureless as Lake Eyre and comprised principally of boggy, whoopped-out sand. Gnangara pines is a power-sucking vacuum of the same horrible grey sand that is so chopped up it makes the surface of the moon seem as smooth as a new-born babies buttocks. As for Metro Road? Well you will spend most of your day pulling the kiddies out of the path of the oncoming quads and side-by-sides.
Are we having fun yet kids? (photo: Nigel Crisp)
If only there was a was a way to enjoy the best riding our own back yard has to offer, as a family, without succumbing to toxic shock in a peri-urban dust bowl.
Close your eyes and picture this.
You pack the trailer with four bikes that weigh next to nothing; you pack a thermos and a soft esky full of tasty sandwiches and snacks. You roll out of your drive way and straight into the rolling green pastures of properties situated, more often than not, less than an hour from Perth.
An entire day of riding is laid out before you and you will venture not more than a kilometer, at best, from your car. You can take in the challenges of the terrain as it suits not just you, but your entire family.
Though to complete a full 'Trial' is nothing short of a physical and mental challenge, completing a full trials event is taken by many of the non-competitive riders as an option rather than an obligation.
This means that, as a family, you can opt to ride an event at your own pace; with each family member tackling sections to their own level and the entire family moving around the course together.
This is not a 'utopian fantasy'. It is one of the properties on which the landowners welcome Trials.
And when the kids get bored of riding they find their fun elsewhere. They don't stuff themselves in the back of the ute and burn a beautiful winters day on their devices. They are out jumping in muddy puddles, climbing rock castles and making the most creative cubby houses their little minds can imagine; all in the safe confines of a gated paddock in the care of their greater trials family.
The real reason there are no biscuits left in the Moto Dynamics trailer!
So, if you have an itch to scratch and you really want to scratch it, don't chose your own adventure; chose one for the family instead.
Chose Trials.

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