Ladies in the dirt: Introduction to Adventure Riding
Some of us have the strong urge to explore beyond our daily surroundings; we dream of high mountains, vast desserts, and the shorelines of faraway places – constantly longing to traverse the roads less traveled – far from cities and towns, down long dirt paths to remote camp sites. If you are reading this, you have likely envisioned yourself traveling to these places via a motorcycle. But for someone with little to no motorcycling experience, this can seem a daunting task, especially for a woman wanting to step into a heavily male dominated sport.
Six vibrant and adventurous women joined the MotoDuo Adventures team in Tellico Plains, TN back in August to learn to ride their motorcycles off-road at our first ever all women’s class. Some had been riding for years and some were basically brand new to riding but all of the women shared common goals; To become more comfortable on a motorcycle, to learn to handle their motorbikes off the beaten path, and to gain the confidence they need to set out on their own riding adventures.
The training weekend began Friday afternoon as everyone rendezvoused at Cherohala Mountain Trails Campground, a beautiful motorcycle camp ground located in Tellico Plains that so graciously agreed to host our ladies course for the weekend. We spent the evening getting acquainted over dinner. When our meal was done our pupils learned how to make camping stoves from soda cans and had fun playing with fire starters. There was excitement in the air as the six women eagerly awaited the training they would be receiving the next two days.
The goal for Saturday morning was to improve the student’s ability to maneuver and control a motorcycle at very low speeds, because “if you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it fast.” Most of the drills consisted of clutch control and riding while standing, which our students later realized are two essentials to riding off-road. As with any class of this nature there was frustration at times, and there was joy at times, as everyone pushed themselves to try techniques they never had before.
In the afternoon, we set off on what most of the women would call their first dual sport ride! Equipped with Sena helmet communication systems, we were able to discuss cornering and braking technique as we rode the gravel loop around Citico Creek. Our students had no idea that within the first day of their off-road riding careers, they would be on a twisty gravel road following alongside creek beds and beautiful mountain ridges in the Cherokee National Forrest. By Sunday afternoon we tackled even rougher gravel roads as well as their first water crossing on part of the Trans American Trail!
The instructors could sense the confidence level rising in each student as they tackled more than they may have imagined for the weekend. These ladies pushed themselves outside of their comfort zones, some riding further away from blacktop than they ever had before. That’s what adventure riding is all about – pushing yourself to do extraordinary things in extraordinary places, and these amazing ladies did just that! Each one of them left with confidence to ride any gravel road they could find, a sense of independence, and most importantly, a sense of adventure! Happy Trails!
Interested in becoming a more confident and comfortable off-road rider? Check out MotoDuoAdventures.com for more upcoming classes to fit your riding skill level from basic to advanced! It will leave you seeking adventure around every corner! For all the adventurous women out there; look for more women's only events coming soon!
“I was HUNGRY to learn how to handle the beast on gravel. After one day of instruction I felt so much more ready to tackle the curves and more. Day two I was taking curves in gravel better than I'd ever thought I could and I'm just beginning! Add to that the great instructors and mentors and awesome women to learn with and you've got the ultimate learning machine.” -Kim Teems, Student
“I went from a 2 to a 10 on the confidence scale this weekend. Besides seriously improving our off-road skills, we had an awesome time in a beautiful, relaxed setting while making incredible new friends and connections.” -Tracy Mayo, Student
“This course was such a good opportunity to go back to the basics and get rid of bad habits. I already feel like a better rider and can't wait to continue to practice the drills that we learned.” Cory Wall, Student