Henry and I spent Saturday morning riding our dirt bikes. Henry brought both the 2-stroke PW50 (which he learned on, and loves) and the bigger 4-stroke TT-R 50 which he is learning to operate. Henry rode the PW50 for about 4 minutes before switching to the bigger bike. He stuck with it for the rest of the day and made big strides in in his shifting and braking on the more complicated machine.
I got to ride a little on my bike, but spent most of the day tagging along behind Henry. He’s really building his confidence, and his initial reaction to most tricky situations seems to usually be the right one.
Henry had a challenging day of riding. Wednesday night was his first time out on a three speed dirt bike. It’s hard to get the hang of shifting with one foot and braking with the other. He loves the bigger bike, and it fits him well, but the extra coordination it requires sapped enough of his concentration that he crashed twice.
He didn’t let it get him down though. Henry dusted himself off both times and jumped right back on the bike. He’s my mighty little man.
We retired to a well deserved and much anticipated dinner at Arby’s. But before we could go eat, Henry had to sit on his bike for a minute in the parking lot.
I had a special treat this morning. I got to ride with Jo Wottowa, a friend and competitor from “back in the day” when supermoto was a thing. It’s been twelve years since I last rode with this guy. We met up at Ride Organic, Jo on his sharp and zippy KTM 350, me on my Be Em Husky-You.
Jo and his buddy JJ showed me the way around the Ride Organic GP track. JJ is fine throttle jockey, ripping through the woods like his hair is on fire. Jo and I agree that a more stately pace is the dignified way to go – we prefer to savor those fine moments on the trail when the temperature is a perfect 70 degrees. To keep things interesting, Jo devised a challenge for JJ – try to lap Jo and Bill more than once in 10 laps of the GP track. JJ was all over it, and ripped off into the woods in a cloud of dust and fine four stroke noise. In truth, when JJ passed me, I was pretty happy about it – my throttle arm had “pumped” to the point where I was accelerating unintendedly at unfortunate moments. JJ claimed he was experiencing the same thing, but I suspect he was just being a good boy and humoring an elder.
Before our morning was over, we made plans to ride together again. Reconnecting with an old friend and finding you still have all those things in common leaves you with a really happy feeling.
Saturday morning, the first real fall weather and light – it’s 50 degrees and windy, but Henry and I are undaunted. We returned to Ride Organic for some more father/son dirt riding.
Henry spent time on the Pee Wee track while I muddled around on the MX track.
Then Henry suggested we ride on the flat track. It was totally fun, and Henry picked up some speed.
My son Henry, age 7, noticed I had been packing up my Husky to go ride lately – “Where are you going, Dad?” he asked.
“I like to go ride at Ride Organic – it’s a place to ride dirt bikes.” I told him.
“I wish I could go to Ride Organic.” (This is the first time he has really shown an interest)
“Do you want to go after school on Wednesday?”
“Yeah!” – thus followed two straight days of questions about riding and declarations that he couldn’t wait to go.
As promised, I met him after school with the trailer and car fully loaded and ready to go. We arrived at Ride Organic, and Henry practiced his starts and stops (a ritual we created with his sister years ago). Then I set Henry loose on Ride Organic’s great little Pee Wee track.
Henry had a blast, and even made a friend. Together these two boys on their 50’s explored the pit bike track and the GP track in the woods – far more adventure than I expected for day 1.
I got to ride a little bit too, working on whoops and rutted turns on the Pro MX track. The dirt was really perfect, and I found I had to really get my inside foot way up as I railed through soft loamy ruts… a real treat.
It was hard to get Henry off the bike and back in the car, he was having so much fun. When we got home, he was so pleased with his day that he actually hugged his motorcycle on the trailer.
Buddies Walter and Doug and I took our play bikes to Saint Joe State Park. The weather forecast was dismal, but wrong. While the ground was wet, we didn’t get a single drop of rain, and we enjoyed a high of 55 degrees, making for a great day of riding.
I had a funny thing happen. In our second hour of riding, I found that my bike was acting funny – hesitating at more than half throttle at high rpms. Out of gas? Bad gas? I topped off the tank. No real improvement. Over time, it got a bit better, but not much. I had visions of piston ring replacement, or hunting down a intake leak. What could it be?
The post ride bike wash revealed a blocked spark arrestor – more than 70% was caked in mud. No wonder it didn’t run right!
Helen and I went dirt track racing again at BET. We set up our pit with our friends the Pursleys – Helen and Chloe were delighted to see each other again – but this time, Chloe had a surprise – her parents bought her a bike, and she was going racing too, for the very first time! The girls had a ball. And the parents had a great day too.
Helen finished 8th in her main event out of 10 riders, and I finished 10th in my main out of 12 riders. The track was soft, the roost was outrageous, and the racing was fast.
Helen was pleased with her trophy. I was thrilled to see her have so much fun.