I am a huge proponent of rider training and will preach MSF courses and advanced training until the cows come home. I believe proper riding skills can and will make a safer rider and in turn allow that rider to explore far and wide by moto with confidence. But, Adventure riders tend to find themselves in far off, uninhabited areas. And we all know that no matter the amount of training and preparation; things can and will go afoul.
Do you know what to do when you or your bike cease to function correctly - perhaps when you are many miles from civilization?
The Bush Moto Training and Tour was conceived to teach, not only rider training, (that's a large part of it) but also survival strategies that may help you navigate unforeseen circumstances one might encounter when riding off the grid.
In addition to off road rider training, some of the topics covered were; wilderness first aid, wild food foraging, fire building and starting, shelter building.
Dusty breaks the ice by pushing over a BMW R1200GS. First lesson: dropping and picking up an adventure bike.
It's actually quite simple if you have the correct technique.
Proper alignment between body and controls is essential. Dusty carefully demonstrates, then sets up each bike to fit the rider's body as best as possible.
Once everyone is comfortable standing up and reaching their controls the on-course exercises begin.
Mike,our wilderness first aid instructor has worked as an EMT, and on several remote wilderness rescue teams. He currently works as an emergency response coordinator at a local hospital.
We spent about 90 minutes discussing the essential first steps of stabilizing a rider immediately after an accident. Mike used me as a dummy (no pun intended) and demonstrated bandaging and bracing of common injuries related to adventure motorcycling.
We awoke to a beautiful day and morale was high. Dusty was particularly jovial as we headed onto the course. Here he is getting animated with Pete in the off camber figure 8.
We took off for lunch, but using the groups new skills, we took some more interesting roads. We ended up at the Lincoln store this time.
The rain picked up as we arrived at our lunch stop. Dusty discussed deep water crossings and how to best navigate mud and sand.
Sandwiches, homemade chili, hot coffee and fresh pastries from the Lincoln store went over quite well.
This particular trail was quite challenging and the rain did not make things easy. We took it slow and Dusty and I were there to help and advise through the tough bits.
Back at camp, we slipped into some dry clothes, hung our boots out to dry and were soon discussing the many edible and medicinal plants available to us in the forests of Vermont.
Ari, of themushroomforager.com, delighted us with his passion and knowledge for wild edibles. We especially enjoyed some of his stories about poisonous plants and mushrooms.
Some samples Ari brought with him
Ari took us for a walk and showed us some plants that we could eat such as dandelion, wild strawberries, ramps and fiddleheads. We also found some medicinal mushrooms called Chaga. The below mushroom was not edible, but sure was pretty.
Tour portion begins
The day started out quite rainy. We crossed over Lincoln gap and then Roxbury gap with little visibility. Finally the weather cleared.
We took a break to dry our visors and take in the scenery.
The next road we happened on posed quite a predicament. It was being regularly used by a group of cows with apparent digestion issues. The road was therefore covered by a thick, and very slick, coating of bovine excrement. Dusty and I informed the group that anyone dropping a bike here would be sleeping outside of the yurt that evening. We all took it very easy going down.
Using some exciting and scenic roads and trails, we made it all the way across Vermont to the Connecticut River Valley and the Roots School.
We met Brad from the Roots School, he showed us around his beautiful 200
acre facility. Impressive structures and shelters were hidden all over the place.
Sarah gave us a demo in starting fires with a bow drill kit. Some of us had more luck than others...
Some retired to the Yurt after the long day riding, but it turned out to be a gorgeous, star-filled night and someone had a bottle of bourbon so some stayed up quite late.
Around Midnight, we were pleasantly surprised when Sarah showed up with some fresh Pizza from their outdoor Pizza oven!
We arose to a crisp and clear Vermont spring morning. After some cowboy
coffee the group was eager to hit the road.
Along the route we came across a picturesque sheep farm. A friendly wave from the farmer beckoned us to stop and take a closer look. He offered us an amazing demonstration of his sheep dog's herding skills.
All in all it was a great tour with a great group of riders. There were some small spills and even an opportunity for a trailside repair when a Triumph shift lever was bent on a rock. We took it off, banged it straight and made it work well enough for Daryl to finish the tour and ride back to Maine... no charge for that by the way Daryl.
Many thanks to all the attendees of the First ever Bush Moto Tour!
And, thank you to Dusty Wessels of West38Moto for coming out and sharing your riding knowledge and curriculum with us.
The Inaugural BushMoto Tour took place in May 2017. Please check MotoVermont.com or West38Moto.com for 2018 dates. or call 802-860-6686