Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now it's always riding season...

For the last 20 years or so I've been riding street motorcycles, with an occasional ride on a dirt bike, but not really dirt riding. Until last April...

A couple of years ago I bought my older son Pablo (14) a Honda XR 100 enduro bike, so he could learn how to drive. Given that there are many motorcycles at home, I felt that I couldn't forbid motorcycles to him, on the contrary I'm inclined to encourage him so we can ride together.

At first Pablo was very enthusiastic about the bike, we rode the two of us on it (picture us... actually he looked all right, it's me who looked like I was sitting on an inline skate).
Since he couldn't reach the ground (this was on purpose) he had to ride with me as passenger and learn all the controls gradually.

After he got the hang of it the thrill of riding with a 150 pound passenger was mostly gone.

So after my last birthday I decided it was time to go back to dirt bikes (which is what I started riding almost 30 years ago) and start riding along the poor kid's side.

While shopping for an XR 250 I ran across a pristine Honda XR 600 with a lot of aftermarket bits, and couldn't resist it. The bike is large and a little heavy in the hills, but the power of the engine and that sound, are totally worth it. And in open areas with less slope it's one of the most comfortable bikes I've ridden.

I've been doing some mountain road and trail riding with my friend Andres lately, and while I still have a lot to learn, I'm riding decently and having tons of fun... as you can see on some of the pictures along this note. This was last weekend up the Andes (Santuario de la Naturaleza for the locals), until we reached the snow (that still a bit slippery for me).

I've also gone along the same road with Pablo in his XR 100 (the excuse was to go riding with him remember?) and we go riding somewhere every other week, he is getting more confident and faster every time, and is becoming a better rider and a skilled mechanic while we have fun together.

On my last trip to the US, I got both of us enduro boots and pants (of course we already had the helmets and gloves) so we go riding in full matching costumes, we stop to rest, drink water and chat, admire the nature around us (and yes, pee all that water), and we are having a great time.

And what this has to do with the title of this article? Well, while riding up the dry hills this weekend I remembered how much nicer the grip is on wet soil or even a little mud, compared to completely dry ground (or even worse... loose rocks).

So while on my street bikes I've been avoiding the rainy days (unless we are talking about an open highway), I think I'll start welcoming the moist soil after a rain in the XR 600. It's definitely a fine bike for a rainy day. It's also a great bike for sunny days.

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