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Learning to Ride ATV After 30 Years of Dirt Biking


Last month, my family and a group of friends snuck off to a riding spot called Pole Hill near Estes Park, Colorado, some of us on quads and others on dirt bikes. I rode my dirt bike, but switched over to the ATV later, learning a lot about the requirements for handling it.

The Riding Area

About 150 yards from the trail head, a large boulder field litters on a long uphill climb. The trail was full of water crossings, downhills, uphills, basketball-sized rocks and forest riding. It's not long; maybe 9 miles, and while I have seen larger, but this one offered plenty of obstacles.

The ATV Ride

After the first time round, some riders decided to call it. I wanted to try the quad, so I donned my helmet and hopped on. The same obstacles that I handled easily on the motorcycle gave me some troubles on the quad. I wasn't afraid; I was unsure how to maneuver and what to expect from my machine. How would the balloon-like ATV tires compensate for the terrain? 

On the motorcycle, I know when to stand, lean, throttle and brake; on the quad, I’m still learning. I’m not sure which way to lean or when to stand. I have a pretty good handle on shifting, at least. I enjoy it in spite of the learning curve; I find it more relaxing than my motorcycle, and I'm not as tired after a long ride. 

On the final ride, we bounced our way up the boulder-covered hill. My first thought? Good thing the Carlisle ATV tires are in good shape! The hill really put them to the test!

After spending about an hour on the trail, we decided to be done for the day. This small ATV trail system offered a variety of obstacles that provide training for bigger, multiple day trips. While I'm still learning how to position my body to maximize the ATV tire performance, I thoroughly enjoyed not being nearly as sore after ATV excursions. 

I'm amazed in the difference between my bike and the ATV. After thirty years of riding dirt bikes, I am making the transition into quads. 

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