How to Survive May Long Weekend
Many areas will be saturated with weekend warriors looking to get out, camp, party and enjoy their OHVs.
Know the area you are going to, the traffic it will have, trail systems available, how to utilize and access them appropriately and legally. Maybe drive up and crash in your buddies camper or the back of your van or truck, Keep things simple or plan an all out mini vacation!
UNDERSTAND THE TRAIL SYSTEMS
There are thousands of trail systems across your individual riding area, contact local clubs & race circuits and ask about trail system maps. Hook up with some riders on a facebook group or Instagram rider who can give you a tour with riders of similar skill and ability. They may know some routes that will be less traveled on the busy days of May Long. Use EXTREME Caution on Quad trails, Slash Lines & Survey Lines! These can be fun at speed on a weekday but the likelihood of there being someone coming the other way is high.
Take it slow and keep to the right when climbing up a hill or a sharp blind corner
Use your phone as GPS recorder or locator, there are free apps and cheap ones such as Locus. These can help you connect with other trails in the network or find a broken bike later on.
- Connect with a dirt bike club before you venture out
- Get maps of the area on government websites.
- Know of any area closures
- Trail conditions may not be the best, keep off the mud.
- Ask the Conservation officer for trail maps upon entering riding areas.
- Be registered & Insured
USE HAND SIGNALS
Trails will be busy this weekend, know that around any corner could be someone coming to the opposite direction, going just as fast or faster than you. Utilizing hand signals will help keep other riders and your buddies safe and educate other users on the importance of using signals.
The hand signals are Very Easy, using your LEFT (clutch hand), signal how many riders are behind you.
1 Finger = 1 Rider. 3-4 Fingers mean 3 or More riders behind you.
Do not use 5 fingers as it can be mistaken as HELLO!
A Closed hand looking like a Fist pump in the air Can Signal ZERO riders behind you. Make signaling cool, do it with your friends and anyone you see on the trail so they can understand what you are doing and why.
HAVE A FIRST AID KIT, TRAINING AND AN EMERGENCY PLAN
You most likely will be camping this May long for 3 or 4 weekends, it is best practice to have at least a minimal first aid kit and some training or understanding on how to handle injuries that may come up with your camping friends or others that may be enjoying the outdoors with you. How to handle eye injuries, concussions & serious cuts should be known by almost anyone and having a first aid kit in a well-known area for anyone who may need it even if they are not from your camp.
- Know who has First aid training in your group and the kit.
- Have first aid kit readily available and STOCKED (check it before you leave to camp)
- Pack superglue and duck tape, these can save your life.
- Keep Emergency Numbers written down for your area (Fire, Fish and Wildlife, Law enforcement)
- Have GPS Location & KM Marker where you are camping/riding.
- Be a designated camper for a night, you cant drive your truck drunk!
BRING EXTRA GEAR
You should have at least 2-3 days of fresh gear, you might get stuck in a rainstorm, fall into a puddle along the trail or get roosted by your friends, at least 2 Goggles & 3 pairs of gloves should be brought with you, If you have an old or 2nd pair of boots it is a good idea to bring those too, for you or someone else who may have forgotten or swamped their gear on a ride. Extra riding socks and riding underwear is good to have so you can have a fresh feeling when you throw your leg over the bike first thing in the morning. Make a riding gear check list!
BRING A SHOVEL
A shovel has many uses! Getting a truck unstuck from the mud, building a fire pit, helping create a nice loo with a view, Hammering tent pegs, fending off a wild animal, even splitting wood or kindling if you forget your axe (We use Fiskars, they rock!)
BRING BASIC BIKE REPAIR TOOLS
Its Saturday afternoon, you have 2 more days of riding ahead of you, and your bike is broken down. It could be a flat tire, watered out, stuck float bowl, fouled plug, clogged injector filter, or your seat bolt fell out (older ktms…)
Make sure you have a basic bolt kit, 8/10/12/13MM wrenches, and sockets with extensions, bike pump, tube repair kit, 3 tire irons, extra 19 or 18″ tube, (a 21″ tube can go inside a rear tire if you really need to!. Lots of fuel, premix and 2-stroke spark plug (even if you don’t ride a 2 stroke, someone may need to buy some mix off you for a beer! A 2nd air filter or filter cleaning items can save the weekend if it’s really dusty. Bring a master clip for a chain! Someone usually needs one. Have a lighter in your trail pack to burn off a fouled or wet spark plug!
A large heavy duty garbage day can save you from a frozen ride home in the rainstorm!
DO SOME TRAIL MAINTENANCE
The trails may be too busy to ride at the pace you want or have bottlenecks throughout, May Long can be the perfect time to relax on the trail and clean up trails or do re-routes around troublesome & wet spots.
Monkey See, Monkey Do, If other riders see you cleaning and chainsawing blow down they will be more inclined to help out and get involved with your club and help maintain the trail systems!
It is a good laugh when a dirtbiker has a chainsaw on their back but the ATV & Side By Sides that go by only have a soda pop cooler. We like to stop them and ask if they know their chainsaw fell off, they always look confused…
ADVERTISE YOUR CLUB & EVENTS!
Do you see a group of dirt bikers and campers that have the Weekend Warrior Feel? Introduce yourself, the club you are with and the races and events you put on, It helps spread the word of the organized world of offroad riding & trail building and maintaining, many hands make light work and can help bring in potential advertisers and sponsors to your events. Many trail systems are created for offroad races and later adapted to public use.
EDUCATE OTHER RIDERS
You will see a rider not using the land properly, it’s inevitable as many provinces & states do not have proper OHV programs or education in place and are majority underfunded to do so. Take the initiative and help out by POLITELY, educating & informing riders who are on closed trails, riding on the road where not allowed, or simply just ripping by the campsites with a bike that has no exhaust packing in it creating dust, there’s always at least one of those guys by that needs a good talking to. They can think you are a jerk all they want, but they add to tensions in areas if they are ripping on roads. You teling them wrong can save riding areas.
BE A RESPECTFUL CAMPER & PARTIER!
Camping and Drinking by the fire come hand in hand, if it’s not for you, it will be soon. But that doesn’t mean you can be a ruthless party animal in the forest. Don’t cut down standing green trees, keep your fire a respectful size (remember that shovel you have to make a fire pit?)
Keep a large bucket of water nearby the fire in case sparks get out and start up a rogue fire, or you have to wake up your friend who passed out by the fire, either way, win-win, just be faster than them, or tie their shoes together.
Keep 2 bag holders readily available for garbage & empties so your site looks spotless all day, don’t forget to put your garbage bags under your trailer storage at night.
Don’t be the idiot at 1AM shooting guns or fireworks! Set an example that dirt bikers can be pretty cool and respectful to people and land. Understand there will be ALOT of party animals May Long, bring ear plugs!
ENJOY THE VIEW
Get up earlier one morning to catch the sunrise on a mountain or sneak a peak on the wildlife around your camp when everyone is still sleeping away. It is a great time for a morning walk with the dog when everyone is still snoozing and you will get to hear all the quieter sounds of the forest before things get busy.
DO NOT RUSH, MAKE A LIST NOW!
There are many ways to survive and enjoy a weekend out. Try to not rush your way to the weekend, you WILL have hiccups and forget stuff along the way, but travel safe on the roads, plan ahead as much as possible and make a list to help you plan your week of getting everything together for your mini holiday.
Now get out there for a rip and take in what mother nature has for you and respect what we get to enjoy!