Sunday, November 16, 2008


It wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles 3 years ago and bought a BMW R1200GS Dual Sport bike, that I got adventurous and hit the road-less trails. In all my excitement I must have failed to read the bike’s warning label:


You see - as I hit the dirt I suddenly began to question my 25 plus years of experience as rider. Quickly realizing that just because I had a bike with dirt abilities didn’t mean it had special powers to certify me as a DIRT RIDER.

I mean - ten years of city riding in Paris, another 15 years of motorcycle commuting in New York City, crazy fun on race tracks, weeks on the road traveling – all that experience on pavement – meant nothing here! And now the silence of the desert sands and the spectacular horizons from mountain top trails was where I wanted to be.
Fast forward to the day I overcame my death wish and met Laine MacTague of EarthRider – Adventure Moto Guiding & Instruction Here in Ventura County, California.
I heard of Laine through a friend who had been taking instruction from him. He suggested I simply go to Laine’s site and ask if I could come along on a ride. Laine you see organizes rides for people of all levels. So I met the group one early Saturday morning as we gathered over coffee to catch up on our latest riding experiences. After greeting the newbies (that would be me) we followed Laine through trails and practiced the skills necessary to ride the dirty way.
And Oh, How I got dirty.

To start we cruised some pretty easy trails and all seemed peachy, until we hit deep sand. If you’ve never ridden in deep sand it’s like riding a possessed vehicle.
I fell every 100 yards! If that wasn't embarrassing enough, I was slowing down the group who kindly waited for me as Laine patiently and with good humor helped me up time and time again. Over and over he carefully explained the dynamics involved and what I needed to do to stay up. I clearly needed PRACTICE. This is the kind of skill you learn over time and with a great teacher you can advance quickly as I did under Laine’s instruction. I gave it my best, made it through the day and now I was hooked.

Every month Laine organizes rides for all skill levels and styles that take place all over Southern California. Most of them are day rides and some are full weekend adventures.
After each ride Laine writes–up the day's experiences on his blog adding plenty of pictures that riders took. So you can proudly show your peers what you were up to over the weekend.

Once in a while Laine organizes what he calls Drill Skill days, where he takes a group of us to practice the fundamentals of dirt riding at a discounted fee. Plus, if you’re seriously thinking about becoming a dirt rider you owe it to yourself to take one of Laine’s one-on-one private lessons.

It's been a year now since my first ride with EarthRider. I do my best to ride with the group at least twice a month. Dirt is still a challenge for me but I'm over my fear of sand, water-crossing and single tracks ! And as my dirt abilities improved my once fragile male ego is back on the road to good health !
Laine knows so many spectacular locations to practice in - It's no surprise he attracts kind and helpful riders to this group. Plus he has a great passion for dirt riding and loves sharing it.

If you’re a dual sport rider and live in Southern California or are just planning to ride in the area you have to try one of these little dirt adventures with Earth Rider . Make sure you tell them "Fredo" sent you !!!