You may have seen that we are branching out to the Adventure bike world. My goal is this; to help riders use a lower standing position to enhance their ability to handle the difficult situations they might face on gravel or dirt, with zero spills. Our first training day was held at Awhitu this month and we were a winner on both counts.
All of this came about after many conversations with Victor Haupt, an experienced adventure bike rider who is also my neighbour. We decided to work together, a partnership that I believe worked well.
Victor lead our riders to the venue from our meeting place in Waiuku where his road riding experience was obvious. He naturally wanted to tip into turns like it was the most natural thing in the world, without riding too fast for the rest of us. It looked like fun and would have helped the riders behind him get into a good groove.
Reaching the gravel it was interesting to watch how they entered a fairly loose corner. In the future I would like to marshall a section like that and spend some serious time working on them, but today there was some serious technique work to do on the dirt.
We started with my main priority; standing. It happened that the best traction was on the motocross track so that is where we headed, after some preliminary work and bike setup next to the Bunkhouse.
After getting their tyres down to a lower pressure we stood through ruts in a straight line, through soft turns, up and down hills. Our body weight was always changing depending on the need; forward, back or in the middle, but always low to the bike when life got more technical. It was by no means easy, but the riders agreed that it was effective.
Lunch was a delicious casserole and I must admit that it was tough work getting up again to go ride. If it was a camp we might have given ourselves another twenty minutes or so, but there was work to do.
We worked on hill recovery, which involved a number of elements, but it was Victors teaching on how to get going again once stopped on a slippery or steep hill that had me most interested. It was all about pushing hard on one footpeg while powering away, something that gave the tires much more traction. Once again it was not easy, but very effective.
After an afternoon working on things like braking and gentle obstacles we headed back for coffee and cake, before finishing with some tight turns on the gravel area outside the bunkhouse. Holding a small turn of the throttle and looking around the turn was key, especially on the Africa Twin and its special automatic clutch.
We had done a lot of good things, yet there is no doubt that a camp would give us much more time for training while enjoying the social time and rest that the riders needed. August 8-9 is the plan, where we hope to spend more time on the gravel and give a greater chance for recovery. I have even discovered a brilliant area of sand and sandstone that we will look at using. The future is bright.