As with most things, the key to becoming a competent off-road rider is persistence.
There are now a growing number of off-road skills providers in the UK and abroad, in line with the rise in the popularity of adventure motorcycles.
However, when Julia Sanders of official Continental partner GlobeBusters took to the dirt for the very first time, it was a very different story. After several pillion trips with husband Kevin to far flung corners of the planet, Julia was now riding the Trans-American Highway with no off-road experience.
In the March 2016 edition of RiDE Magazine, she’s been describing just how quickly you can pick up some basic off-road skills when the going gets tough.
The first test was a 15-mile gravel road in Canada, which Julia took at a steady 10mph, wobbling along and feeling “like a drunk trying to walk in a straight line.”
Her second experience was a three mile stretch of the Mokee Dugway in Utah. Julia had picked up the pace across the Valley of the Gods, with her confidence increasing until she bounced over a dry river bed and slid towards a 10-foot drop, stopping the bike just six inches short of disaster. After overcoming a wave of nausea, Julia climbed back on the bike, because if she didn’t, the next four months of riding would be over before they had even started.
The next major challenge came at Copper Canyon in Mexico, which consists of 80 miles of dirt descending into a tropical canyon. Battling against the road conditions and the searing heat, Julia turned a corner and was confronted by nothing but rocks. Knowing that it was possible, but coming close to bottling it, she managed to pull herself together and come out of the other side with just a single minor tumble to knock her off her stride.
Now down in Patagonia, following a single tyre track snaking through soft mud that has baked hard in the relentless sun, the danger is the mounds of gravel on either side of her. This road stretches for 400 miles from Perito Moreno to El Calfate, and at the time of their trip, it remains unpaved.
With several months of off-road riding now under her belt, Julia had learnt to trust both her bike and herself, as well as trust her limits. It’s amazing what you realise you are capable of when you have no other option…
Of course, one other thing that helps is having the right equipment for the trip, right down to the two tyres which connect you with the ‘road’ you’re riding on, wherever it may be, and whatever state it might be in.
As official partners of Continental, GlobeBusters use our tried and trusted range of adventure tyres for a wide range of trips around the world, whether that be the ContiTrailAttack 2 for trips on the tarmac, the aggressive block pattern TKC 80 for when things get tough, or the latest TKC 70 – which combines the best attributes of the two.
Pick up the latest copy of RiDE Magazine this month for the full story from Julia.
You can check out our complete adventure tyre range here.