Riding My Trials Bike in my Front Yard

trials in yardDSCN9837

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The Dirt Bike Movie


Check out this link to a video made by two very talented teenagers. It was shot in the Mohave Desert on a trip made possible by Oasis For Kids.

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The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Program in California is Under Attack and May Be Eliminated Unless We Act Now


The Chapter in the Public Resources Code that created the Division of Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) as a separate Division within California Parks and Recreation has a sunset clause that eliminates the Division if the legislature does not reauthorize it before January 1st 2018.  It appears that our opponents have taken this opportunity to organize hostile political forces in Sacramento to eliminate the Division of OHMVR.

The state parks transformation team is recommending that OHMVD be moved back into the Offices of the Department of Parks and Recreation. This would eliminate the Division of Off Highway Motor Vehicles as a separate unit of State Parks and Recreation. It would include eliminating OHV-related grant funding to the Forest Service, BLM, counties, local sheriffs’ departments, non-profit trail and conservation groups as well as possibly limit funding for off-highway state parks.

Under this proposal the dedicated OHV funds raised from off road riders would be commingled with funds for the Department of Parks and Recreation and likely directed to non-OHV facilities and uses. These funds consist of our registration fees, entry fees and fuel taxes used in our off-road vehicles. Our enemies have long coveted our OHV trust funds. The program has been reauthorized in the past but now the opponents of OHV in California are using this provision to eliminate the program altogether and take our OHV Trust Funds for their own use.

Don Amador who is a tireless OHMV advocate says this about the proposal:

“Based on what I know today, I believe the Transformation Team’s proposal has nothing to do with improving government efficiency.   Rather, it is a crass political maneuver to eviscerate the OHV program and lay the groundwork for permanently sunsetting the program on January 1, 2018.

The good news in the dark aforementioned potential future of OHV is that there are millions of motorized recreationists who can speak up as a strong political force against the Transformation Team’s plan.

Your loud voice was heard 20 years ago to save the CA OHV program and now government officials in Sacramento need to hear from you once again!”


What can we do specifically?

There will be an open house to allow stakeholders to comment on this proposal on Tuesday July 19, 2016 at 6:00 to 900 p.m. in the Resources Building Auditorium at 1496 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 945814. Stakeholders include OHV riders and adjacent land owners. Many of the conservationists who are opposed to OHV recreation in California are not stake holders.

The open house will provide a forum for the public to learn about what they refer to as the Organizational Structure Opportunities project, and for the Department to hear from the stakeholders. The members of the OHMV Commission have been invited to attend. Our opponents will be there and we need to do everything possible to make sure our voices are heard.

We also need to send letters to the committee, our representatives and Secretary Laird. See: http://www.savecaliforniaohv.org/

We have to raise our voices and be heard. This is too important to ignore if you ride off road in California. The future of off-highway recreation is in jeopardy and we must do everything to ensure that our voices are heard. Go to these sites and learn all you can about this proposal and how it will affect our right to ride. Then go to the meeting if you can and write letters to the people who are in charge. We have no time to lose!

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Hangtown Nationals 2016

This gallery contains 46 photos.

Photographs courtesy of Dave Duffin

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I like to keep tabs on who is going to my blog and recently I noticed someone from Tunisia. I have a real sympathy for the Tunisian youth left behind in the current Tunisian economy.  Of course the hit on my blog might have been the security force looking for terrorist sites. I don’t think I have anything to fear from them. I am an American, after all, and certainly no advocate of terrorism.

Tunisia with its Jasmine revolution, was the first country in the Middle East to oppose and overthrow corrupt and ruthless leaders during the Arab Spring. It was also the only country to overthrow its government and democratically elect new leaders. In the end the new leaders became corrupt and released their security forces against perceived opposition (the unemployed youth).

Due to a stuttering economy, too many Tunisians are left jobless and isolated just like they were before the revolution. This is especially true of the educated who have a strong technical skills but no education in the humanities. They are bitter and isolated and they are an easy target for  to Salafist Muslims. These religious leaders preach a strict Moslem code of behavior and the hatred and  destruction of infidels, especially the secularists and the Americans. Too many of the Tunisian youth, lacking hope and direction in their lives, go off to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

I guess that I feel sympathy for them and I would like them to be able to get jobs and start a family like people in our country. I don’t blame them as much as I blame an economy that is in shambles. I think that if we really helped build up the economy in countries like Tunisia, as we did with Europe after the Second World War, we could defeat terrorism throughout the Middle East. These are people are like you and I and like our sons and daughters. They need jobs to have a future and something to strive towards in their own lives.

They need jobs to enjoy recreational activities. Even though we do not live in  a perfect democracy (the tyranny of the majority) in this country, and we have to keep fighting for our rights in the political forum, it is a democracy and we have hope. Tunisian youth need hope too.

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Carnegie Hillcllimb: April 8-10, 2016

carnegiehillclimb 2016_n

See: http://skipspromotions.com/

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2015 Yamaha WR250F My First Ride

2015 Yamaha WR-250F

2015 Yamaha WR-250F

In 2009 I got the chance to ride a Yamaha WR-250F in the Peak District of Northern England. It was an all-day outing with Overlander Trail Tours. I wrote an article about the ride that got published in Dirt Rider Magazine. See: http://www.dirtrider.com/features/online-exclusives/141_1004_a_british_off_road_adventure/

It was a quite an eye opening experience since it was the first time I had ever ridden an enduro bike or especially a Yamaha WR 250F. I was surprisingly impressed with the bike. I could not keep from praising the motorcycle for its light nimble handling, forgiving power band and properly silenced muffler. In Great Britain these bikes are street legal off the showroom floor and so they have to meet stringent decibel levels. I later published an unedited version of the article in my blog. Did I mention that I loved the bike? The new 2015 model is a very highly upgraded machine because it borrows a lot from the motocross version without losing the enduro tuned engine and suspension.

I never imagined that I would purchase the bike myself. That is until the 2015 version showed up on the showroom floor of my local motorcycle dealer. I took one look and I was over the moon in love with the bike. I couldn’t stop drooling. It is the most updated version of the venerable Yamaha four stroke enduro bike that I had ever seen. It incorporates the latest motocross suspension (KYB speed sensitive spring forks and KYB rear shock with a 50mm piston; both front and rear with Kashima coating) and the radical center of gravity design that the Yamaha engineers had dreamed up with the motor and fuel tank in the center of the bike. It incorporates the backwards engine and four titanium valves from the motocross version, the YZ 250F.

Of course it is fifty-state legal, but the thing that really caught my eye was the fact that it looks a lot like the class winning 2014 YZ250F. From the backwards engine, to fuel injection, to the latest Yamaha motocross suspension; it was a lot more than just a replica of the famed Yamaha motocross machine. On top of that it has a wide ratio six speed transmission, a lightweight plastic skid plate, an eighteen inch rear wheel, a fan for low speed sections, an engine tuned for enduro riding on single track and conquering big, scary obstacles, a side stand, electric start and an enduro computer complete with a low fuel light indicator and engine light. With one or two minor modifications it is a competitive mount for riding national enduro type events.

I was hooked and I purchased the bike without a second thought even though it had the ungodly seat height of thirty-eight inches just like the motocross version and it weighed quite a bit more (248lbs dry). It had a big power deficit compared to the Yamaha YZ250F and it cost a few hundred dollars more. It had virtually no power once you got into the upper revs but had a torquey low end and a decent mid-range.

At the advanced age of sixty-five I didn’t need a race bike and the fact that it had almost the same motor, chassis and suspension as the motocross version with enduro tuning made it irresistible. On top of that it was good for the environment with a mildly tuned four stoke engine.

So does the bike perform or does it just look good? In short; the answer is a big YES! Once you are in motion riding the bike, it disappears underneath you and feels basically weightless. It is light and agile until you crash and try to pick it up. That is when you feel the extra weight. The suspension deals with small low speed hits as well as huge high speed G-outs. I am still breaking it in and so I have not fiddled much with the settings except for the pre-load. This post is just a first impression.

At one point I tried to power my way through a set if steep faced seemingly endless whoops and when the bike hit the weak high rev part of the power band the front wheel dropped. I gave it throttle going up the next whoop and it flew into the air and came down front wheel first into a deep depression between whoops. I thought that would be the end of my test ride, but the forks absorbed the hit and I motored on through the whoops. It was amazing although not as versatile through the whoops as my open class bikes. They have an endless power band no matter how long I have to hold the throttle on to clear a long section of whoops (my CRF 450 and KX 500).

It climbs the most steep, treacherous and rutted trails and comes back down as smooth as silk. It winds around tightly spaced trees and goes over roots without flinching. It feels unstoppable on the most hazardous single track. Just hold it on and go. If it is necessary you can shift up or down through the gears or slip the clutch. However, most of the time you can just use the throttle and go where ever you want to go. The bike can be flicked around effortlessly. It steers mostly with the front wheel or you can slide the rear wheel by leaning the bike and spinning the rear wheel around with the throttle. Of course, you can steer with both the front and rear wheels if you prefer. It is that versatile.

It jumps naturally without any theatrics and you can just use your weight and the throttle bring up the front wheel to clear obstacles in the trail or get good air coming off of jumps. Of course it is not as powerful as a motocross bike and so you are limited on the track. But, if you choose your lines and your gears carefully you can keep up to some degree. It is advantageous if there are a lot of tight turns that the bike can flow through without having to slow down and where you can use the throttle to maintain momentum coming out of the corner. You feel like a pro throwing it around on this type of track.

By the time of my second or third ride the rings seated in and now it is like my one-twenty-five two stroke of old but much, much faster. You just leave the throttle on and use a little clutch and it jumps to attention in the upper revs. It is a typical Yamaha clutch which is one the best in terms of engagement and disengagement. It is always right where you need it with a very progressive feel. The bike is so powerful that it feels better than an open class bike in terms of throttle response. Wow… Now I can go through those whoops without the fear of the front wheel dropping and hitting the steep edge of the next whoop.

I still don’t have a lot of seat time but these are my first impressions of a near stock, not heavily modified bike. Later I will describe the bike more fully as I get more time to ride it in enduro type conditions.


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