I got my first dirt bike when I was 16. I’d been mowing lawns since I was in 5th grade saving up my money for…well actually I didn’t even know at that point but I had a good chunk of money by the time I was 16. Right around this time I had just quit playing lacrosse, which I had been playing since I was in 5th grade too. I quit mostly out of laziness. I hated going to practice for 2 hours every day and not having time for anything else and the fact that our coach was an army drill sergeant, so practice was a lot tougher than what I wanted to do.
After I quit, I had a couple friends and neighbors who had dirt bikes and would go riding every weekend and honestly, I’d always wanted one. So, taking all that money that I’d saved up I went out and bought myself my first dirt bike. I was now in the dirt bike rider’s community, and knew close to nothing which was pretty daunting. Luckily, I had some great neighbors and friends to give me a crash course on everything involved with buying a dirt bike, general maintenance and what not.
In the community of dirt bikers there are a lot of terms that I found very unfamiliar. I had no idea there were two different types of dirt bikes you could get, a two stroke and a four stroke and that in the riding community there is an ongoing battle to decide which is better? 4 stroke lovers say the 4 strokes are faster but the diehard two stroke fans say, ‘If you’re not mixing gas, you’re not hauling a$$.’ There’re so many different sizes of bikes depending on your preference and skill level ranging from a little 50cc to a 500cc dirt bike. A smaller cc two stroke is just as powerful as a larger cc four stroke. So many tiny details I had to learn along the way. How was I supposed to know you needed special riding boots so you wouldn’t break your foot if you crashed? Well, riding dirt bikes you learn these lessons quick and you never forget them.
I didn’t know anything about dirt bikes so I was pretty lucky to get the one that I did. It was a little Yamaha 250 four stroke. It was big enough so I wouldn’t have to worry too much about having enough power to get up the hills, but small enough so I wouldn’t wheelie over. Over the next 6 years I constantly upgraded, buying and selling different bikes.
1. Yamaha 250 four stroke
2. Kawasaki 250 four stroke
3. Kawasaki 450 four stroke
4. Yamaha 250 two stroke
5. Suzuki 450 four stroke
6. Yamaha 250 two stroke
7. KTM 300 two stroke
It actually became a hobby of mine. I loved buying a new bike, riding it for a little bit, then making it look pretty and selling it to upgrade to a newer bike. In the end I came to my own personal conclusion that I was going to stick with two strokes because they are much cheaper on maintenance, and if they blow up it’ll cost you around $250 to fix while with a four stroke it’ll cost you around $1000 to fix. And on top of that they are more fun to ride.
There are many different types of riding and racing. You have the riders who won’t ride anything besides the motocross track with big jumps and a set course so you’re doing the same laps over and over again. It’s a lot of repetition and trying to get faster and faster lap times. Then you get the desert junkies who love going out in the middle of nowhere, finding a trail and seeing how fast they can take it to wherever it ends up. This is super fun and dangerous due to the fact you’re going as fast as you can but you don’t know what’s up ahead. And that’s all part of the fun. Normally track riders aren’t very good at trails. The last one I can think of is woods riding. This is very tight and technical riding which requires a lot of skill maneuvering your bike through the trees and over fallen logs. This is the kind that I prefer. It’s like going on a hike and once you get to the top of the mountain, the view is unbelievable. And it took half the time it would’ve taken to hike there.
Right now, it’s winter. Winter makes it miserable to go riding due to the freezing temperatures and the frozen ground. And since a lot of the riding I do is in the mountains there is about 4 feet of snow so I’m stuck either finding something else to do for winter or taking the trip down south as often as I can where the weather is warmer and better for riding. Only about another month until riding weather. The moment it’s warm enough you’re going to see the dirt bike community DE winterizing their bikes, loading them in the back of their trucks, and heading to the track, the desert, or the mountains early in the morning, when the dew gives the dirt more traction on your tires and when the brisk morning air lets you know it’s going to be a fun day of riding.