Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow riding--at long last!

Kevin Novello/Trail Rider Magazine

Back at it! Weather is cold and snow conditions are perfect in Vermont. Yesterday I had the privilege of being a rolling road block for some of the fastest guys in the region, and even got a lesson on surviving snow ruts from three-time NETRA Enduro champ Jim Senecal. The full report is forthcoming in the February issue of +TrailRiderMagazine--thanks to editor Kevin Novello for that awesome photo!

In the mean time, here's some helmetcam footage from a nice solo ride on my home track last weekend. This is actually the first ride I have ever GoPro'd for this blog--I didn't want to let y'all see how slow I am, but what the heck. I'm still keeping some secrets--for example, I cut out the lap where I fell coming up the icy hill and slid all the way back to the bottom...


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year: Imaginary Dirt Bikes in Taiwan!

The Imaginary Dirt Bike Blog has been a little quiet lately for various reasons, one being the onset of winter and complications related thereto. These are more or less out of the way and as soon as I am home, snow season will begin in earnest--but more on that later. The current barrier to progress is that my dirt bike is in Vermont and I am in Taiwan. If your geography is shaky, let's just say that when it is 6 AM for the bike, it is 7 PM for me. I am visiting family, who are not Moto People in the sense that you are probably a Moto Person if you are reading this--but don't get me wrong, Taiwan rolls on two wheels, and these folks have nerves of steel.

Scooters: the Taiwanese steed of choice. 

See the guy going in the wrong direction and the car swerving into oncoming traffic? Par for the course. I'm happy to weave in and out of traffic on a bicycle in New York City, say, but in a place where nobody else stays in their lane either, I get queasy. At first I was wondering why I saw so few proper motorcycles in the city, but when I got the opportunity to ride in traffic myself, at least one good reason became clear to me: on a scooter, you can tuck in your knees. That is, when a speeding farm truck tries to slam you into a taxi on a narrow street, the fairing of the scooter gets hit before your legs. Thanks to their CVT transmissions, they don't need to be shifted, are impossible to stall, and won't kill you if you accidentally give them too much gas. No foot controls means you can even ride them in nice high heels--and people do. Plus, they turn on a dime.

Speaking of turning on a dime, you can probably imagine my relief when we ditched the weekend crowds in Kenting to take a ride up a winding mountain road similar to the ones back home--give or take the tropical flowers and the sparkling blue ocean in the distance. Below is the most exciting thing that has happened to me all week:



Well, my mom and my second cousin think it's exciting, anyway. Notice the wobble right at the beginning--I threw it into the corner like it was a proper bike and it headed for the bushes on the inside of the turn. It didn't break traction, though, so next time, I should probably go twice as fast. Only one question remains: how the hell can you get these things to wheelie? I know you CAN, because this picture exists:


Marquez going around a corner + scooter photobomb = best image known to man.

Seeing the family (and above-zero temperatures) aside, I can't wait to get back home and hit the trails. That won't be for a week, though, so to tide everybody over until that happens, here's Lovey's narration of his NETRA Winter Scramble from last year. His GoPro falls off some 15 minutes into his first lap, but somebody mailed it back to him out of the blue! You know what that means--he's destined for YouTube stardom. Have a look!



Happy 2014 everyone!