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.
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.
of club activities
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.
Follow JC Hilderbrand on Google+