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Tips and Tricks | Out'a' Sight, Out'a Doors

The thrill of riding powerful machines in a natural environment is difficult to beat. Whether the machine is a dirt bike, a quad, jet ski or a moped/goped, the fresh air, the sunlight and, yes, even the mud, accentuate the experience. There are a number of considerations you should take before and during each ride to make certain your outdoor experience is fun… and safe. Here are some great tips for your recreational vehicles:

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Chain Sense: You have purchased a brand new moped or goped. Ahhhh, the pleasure of jumping onto the frame and starting her up and going for the ride has adrenalin surging through your veins. Hold on a moment… think before you journey onwards. With a moped or goped, especially a new machine, take the time to check the screws to ensure they are tight. Also apply chain oil to the chains. This latter habit is good practice before you ride your machine the first time each day, after every hour of riding, and just before you store your goped/moped for the night. Doing so will definitely help safeguard your chains from breaking or stretching.

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Water-Wise: For those with more of a desire for water-based sports, your jet ski is your ideal recreational vehicle. Keep in mind that without power to your jet ski, you have no control. Allowing your engine to return to shut-off or idle halts the jet pump from pushing water through the machine. You cannot steer when this occurs. You can turn to starboard or port all you want… your jet ski will continue on in the same direction it was heading when the power failed. And when you do wish to stop, make sure you allow yourself plenty of room for this maneuver. Unlike other recreational devices, when you release the throttle or shut off the engine, your jet ski does not immediately come to a stop.

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Quad Quality: Your quad (ATV) allows you to travel places other folk in their conventional vehicles will never experience. This means you must also have a mature sense of considerate riding and keeping your quad to marked trails. By doing so, you have no compaction or impact on nature’s beauty. Realize, especially during colder weather, that if you ride off trail, you will also be causing frost levels to be driven deeper into the profile of the soil. This is especially harmful during early spring and late fall, with the rust so caused disturbing the natural percolation and runoff of water. A considerate quad rider also keeps the speed of his machine low and steady when approaching other riders, cabins, campsites or homes.

Sandy Stuff: Attempting to change directions when riding your dirt bike in sand can be extremely frustrating. You can be bucked off the bike or your turn radius exceeds the norm… when you get into the rut, lean your bike over and flow with the turn. The last thing you should be is tentative. Remember, to rail through a sand turn, charge hard, use some front brake, but only enough, and ride in a semi-crouched position up on the bike’s pegs.

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Electric Scooters (and Gas Scooters with an electric starting battery): Rule #1-- Yes, you want to try your new scooter out right away, but don't. Let it charge fully the first time. Fully! (If the manual says 2-4 hours, let it charge that long.) Rule #2-- It seems minor, but the scooter does indeed go farther on a charge with the headlight off. So turn the light off if you are riding during the day (obviously, leave it ON when riding at night!)

Riding a recreational vehicle outdoors is a liberating, enjoyable experience. Make your adventure on your machine even more so through consideration for others and the safety of your person by thorough inspection of your ride before and after each dirt-encrusting, sweat-inducing, water-saturated journey.


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