Riding Tips | First Ride After A Long Break
It's been a while, the first ride back:
Now that restrictions are starting to lift following the worldwide shutdown, riders are keen to throw their leg over their dirt bike! Exciting as that sounds now is not the time to rush into anything. A slow and steady approach will allow you to improve your riding over a longer period of time, while a rushed return could put you at risk of a crash and potentially even more time off the seat.
For this riding tip, we have MXstore employee Mike Sleeter explain ways that riders of all skill levels can make the most of a break and what they should keep in mind when making their return to the track or trail. This advice can be applied at any time, following time off, injury or a holiday because sadly all of us will be forced to park the dirt bike up at some point whether it's our choice or not.
YOU AND YOUR BIKE:
If you know that you’re going to have a break for longer than a month, take the time to sort those loose ends. Give your bike a once over, checking things like sprockets, chain, tyres, grips, clutch and sort out those routine maintenance tasks like a top-end or suspension service if required. Always drain your fuel and use fresh fuel when going out for a ride after time off. Make sure your bike is sorted for when it’s time to ride again as there's no worse feeling than having an issue before you even hit the track.
The same goes for your body, if you have underlying injuries you now have time to get those annoying aches or pains sorted. It might be time to get some physical therapy or even orthoscopic surgery. If your body is okay, then use the time to build your fitness level so your body is prepared for the first ride back.
*Make it a point to get your bike and body ready for your return!*
When it comes time to ride, you need to set realistic expectations. Did you improve your fitness? Did you make changes to your bike? The amount of work that you put in during the time off will show as soon as you throw your leg over. Be patient and keep safe while adjusting to any changes that your body or bike have had in your time off!
Take your time during practice and make it a point to apply the techniques that you know or have learned about. Be sure to take it easy during the first few laps of practice and don’t take unnecessary risks by trying to do big jumps or bow up a berm. Even if it’s a track or trail you ride often and the layout hasn't changed, you should always roll the track to make sure there’s nothing new or that could catch you off guard.
When it’s time to pick up the pace, this is when it’s best to be realistic. It's easy to want to go and rip around as fast as you can however we strongly recommend focusing on the track or trail, knowing your lines and gradually increasing your pace, it will eventually be the same as always. Be happy that you are back on the bike, take it a corner at a time, and be sure to enjoy it.
Evaluate what you did at the end of the day. Were the changes you made to the bike correct? How does your body feel? Is your fitness up to standard? Your first ride back will set the tone for your second ride and so on, so it's best to take your time and learn. The best part is you have the power to change the things you aren't happy with and be better each time you go riding. Remember to keep safe and RIDE MORE!
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