Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

Mud in Your Eye

OHV Clubs Therapy for Winter Blues

Tuesday, December 30, 2008
With winter set in and less time for riding, there’s still plenty of reason to stay active, and that means more than just getting out on the trails whenever Mother Nature allows. We’ve all heard of Blue Ribbon Coalition and the AMA, but there are smaller organizations that you can be a part of and which can create more immediate changes to you as an individual. Riding clubs come in all shapes and sizes, and you've likely been to an event that was hosted or sponsored by one without even realizing it.

Steve Croucher
President of the Motorcycle Riders Association, Steve Croucher, leads by example during a March cleanup event.
These little groups of passionate volunteers are the blood and soul of our sport. It’s easy to get caught up in everything else that’s going on in this crazy world of ours and put off joining a club. I’ve been riding the local hills for years and taking advantage of the maintained trails, staging areas, races and events that are only available because of the Motorcycle Riders Association. I’ve been paying my minimal dues in a weak attempt to support my riding community, but it takes more than 15 bucks per year to really make a difference. After a half decade of all take and no give, I finally dragged myself out to a cross-country event and left my race gear at home. Instead I brought warm clothes and a rain jacket. Instead of paying my race fee and receiving a number, I paid with my back muscles and received an orange vest, two outposts and instructions not to return until the last rider went by.

After witnessing the gritty battles throughout the day, the rider in me was jealous as hell, but getting to watch good racing and knowing my efforts, however small, contributed to a successful event was satisfying. So while you’re waiting for the trails to thaw out, consider donating your time and efforts to a good cause. Everyone wants to get something for nothing, but that isn’t going to be the case with off-road privileges for much longer. Rampant use gives all of us a bad rap and it’s causing our resources to dwindle by the day. Even if it’s just clearing brush or hauling trash from a common area, the more manpower available the better – and focusing it is vital. That’s where clubs really create a powerful presence, by uniting individual efforts. Legal representation, grant writing, lobbying, you name it and there’s a concerned group of motorcyclists out there trying to get it done and in need of a helping hand.

Even with its stiff MX suspension the Suzuki RM-Z450 proved to be a capable beast out on the trails.
HIlde's been
taking advantage
of club activities
for years.
I won’t pretend to be the ideal model, but getting started is the key. I bought a folding saw to pack with me from now on, and I’ve bookmarked the upcoming calendar for the MRA. I’m sure my pickup will see a trash run or two and I sign as many pro-OHV petitions as I can get my hands on. It turns out that my buddies from local shops like OMA-KTM and The Bike Barn are active members too, so I get to hang out with them more often. The best part about being a club member is that it isn’t all work and no play. These clubs are started in the first place because we all share a love for riding, and I’ve yet to hear of an event where the bikes aren’t unloaded. Plus you’ll end up expanding your riding network and making a whole new set of instant friends. So ask around, do a little research about local club activity and sign up. Chances are you’ll feel better about yourself, benefit your riding opportunities and have some unexpected fun along the way.
Post Tags: Blue Ribbon Coalition, OHV Land Issues, AMA, Motorcycle Riders Association
Follow on Google Plus Follow JC Hilderbrand on Google+
Blog Archive
2012
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
2008
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
Kurt Beckman -OHV Clubs Therapy for Winter Blues December 30, 2008 09:08 PM
Definately great to see this article JC., it is great to see someone bring attention to the small clubs that really, truly make a difference. Sure BRC, CORBA and the AMA do more than most of us know, but its the small clubs like our MRA that have their finger on the pulse of it's local and not so local riding community. The local connections and the GREAT people that selflessly get involved in bettering our sport and image are the main reasons why any of us still have a place to ride. Now, if we could just educate the rest that think being involved doesn't matter, then we can really make some headway...remember the opposition doesn't notice the care and concern we have for the environment, but they do notice one person being an idiot...the negative stories are what grab the headlines, not our positive ones...THANKS FOR DOING YOUR PART TO HELP CHANGE THAT.
Jeff Moffet -OHV Clubs Therapy for Winter Blues December 30, 2008 07:37 PM
Nice article Hilde!It almost made me tear up. Our local club has made a huge difference in keeping our riding area open and has been using OHV grant moneys to purchase land, improve our trails and staging areas and purchase trail maintance equipment like dozers, utility ATV’s,chain saws,equipment trailers ect. We need other clubs to do the same and go after this OHV money that has been set aside just for this purpose. Oregon state parks controls this money for our state and seams to make there own rules as they go. If we had more clubs working together we would have more say in how this money is distributed. So again nice job Hilde see you at the next meeting.
Georgie -AMEN! December 30, 2008 04:32 PM
AMEN!!!