Why We Ride

We all enjoy riding/racing our dirt bikes for different reasons,714 and those reasons can change over time. Yes there are commonalities like the thrill, the competition, the exercise, the relaxation and the camaraderie. However the primary driving force that leads us to spending many weekends chasing each other around is surely different from rider to rider.

Initially, I took to motorcycling because it was both thrilling and relaxing. Nothing was better than the wind-in-hair exhilaration (when I had hair) of riding a motorcycle down a winding road, unburdened from the stress of everyday life.  Public roads though, were not the place to really test oneself, so I found myself on a progression of dual purpose bikes that got increasingly more off road capable.  At that point I should have taken the next step into hare scrambles or enduros, but instead went road racing, after watching a friend successfully try his hand at it. Racing was thrilling to say the least, competitive to be sure, friendly as anything I had ever done, but very expensive, especially the crashing part.

After four plus years of crippling the family budget road racing, I gave it up and bought an ‘enduro’ bike, and shortly thereafter couldn’t overcome the urge to compete on it. September 1984 saw the start of a 30 year love affair with the Corduroy Enduro. I rode all of the other enduros offered up over those thirty years, chasing trophies, testing and training myself in preparation for the Cord. For the first half of those 30 years, I was driven by trophy and championship hunting. I am sure that today there are many of us that are in that chase, just as hard as I ever was. That’s not to say that those riders aren’t enjoying the riding and the camaraderie, but their focus is winning.Paula

Riding for me has come full circle. Sure it is still fun (thrilling?), good exercise and even a bit competitive, but it’s family and friendship that get me out to the races as often as I can.  My most solid friendships continue to come from motorcycling. It is rewarding to see my family and extended family embrace it much the same way I have, which brings me to the Codrington XC, September 2013.

Ah yes, Codrington, the little village just over two hours and 200 kilometres east of my home in Milton. I was excited that my son and his son were joining me in the camper for Codrington. All was going well as we set up camp, just before sunset, beside my daughter and family, until I realized that I had left all my riding gear at home.  That is how I know the Milton to Codrington distance so well. I promptly drove back to Milton for my gear and a bite to eat, then u-turned to Codrington, arriving about 1 AM Sunday.  Thankfully, that was the end of the bad karma for the weekend.

The rest of the weekend exemplifies why I ride. The courses, all of them, were great. The weather could not have been better.  My bike was cleaner after the race than before.  Except for my three year old grandson, who isn’t riding yet, my entire family had successful races. ReidReid, the three year old, got to see many of his friends in the Head, Brogan, Tustin and other families. He also got to introduce his great grandmother to his hero, Connor. Reid and HeroUnbeknownst to me, my parents showed up while I was out enjoying the morning race. I don’t believe they had met up with any of our family before the Head family made them feel right at home, offering them a seat by the pits. My folks are in their mid eighties and don’t get around well on flat ground, let alone the undulations of the farm, but they truly enjoyed the day. They surprised me two fold by staying until after the PM race to watch my son in law finish.

For the record, the competitive one, Mark, came third in his class. My grandson, Mitchell, rode his first Pee Wee race and loved it – can’t wait for spring. MitchellSon Jeff, riding his only event all season, Paula, and I all finished mid-pack in our classes. That is the competition part of the weekend. The exciting race part for me was getting and maintaining the hole shot until the first grass track section, at which point the fast guys blew by. It can still be thrilling!

OO was formed to provide low cost, but competitive, family oriented racing. My parents got to see what it is all about, and after years of asking when I was going to give that silliness up, my mother conceded that she understands now, why I still ride. Thanks to the Thursday Night Trail Riders for a great event, and all the people who, along with the Heads, made my parents feel part of the ‘family’.


Rick Day