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Conquering Obstacles with Your ATV

ATVs are great for exploring the outdoors. They're versatile, they allow you to explore off the path, and they always test your skills. To maximize your adventures, ensure you're prepared for any type of terrain that may come your way. IF you're new to ATV riding, go with an experienced rider who can help introduce you to new obstacles. Always be sure to observe safety precautions and err on the side of more careful. 

Plot Your Path

Before you put your foot to the pedal, examine the terrain ahead. If you're at the base of a hill, map out an approximate path from bottom to top with the least resistance. Evaluate the obstacles you will encounter and make a plan of attack. 


This is something you'll want to have practiced on obstacle-free hills before you attempt one with rocks, logs, etc. Start your ATV, rev your machine to about half capacity, and ride the trail in second gear. As you progress up the slope, you'll have to increase throttle to maintain speed. Don't go too fast. Allow plenty of space between riders. 


You'll want to make sure your center of gravity is constant and you assume a reclined position to ground your body to the ATV. Increase speed slightly, switch to third or fourth gear, and approach the object with caution. Make sure your front tires don't lift more than a few inches. You'll want to maintain some speed, but nothing excessive. Expect your tires to slip and slide over the rocks; your reflexes will be tested. If you're with a group, send your most experienced rider first. Another should start once the person ahead has well cleared the outcropping.


It's likely you'll encounter fallen trees during your off-road ride. Consider size and ground clearance in addition to the type of ATV you ride (think handling and suspension). Some logs may be too large to clear; do not attempt anything reckless. If you determine it's clearable, shift to first gear and make your approach. Right before contact, rev the engine, lean back slightly and engage the clutch. As the tires touch the log, your ATV will lift off. Be prepared by shifting your weight forward so it's over the middle of your ATV. Failure to shift weight could result in tipping your ATV backward. This is an advanced skill. Be sure to wear proper safety attire and practice by starting small and slowly upgrading as you master each size. Take an experienced rider.

With anything, practice builds skill. Always start small. The "go big or go home" approach is not applicable here. As always, be safe, and enjoy your ride!

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