Foreward

Well, the industry has certainly matured since these pages were originally posted. Some 800,000 ATV's sold in the US alone last year. More then all the dirtbikes and other offroad machines combined. We're finally starting to see performance machines that rival dirt bikes and snowmobiles however, the manufacturers and law makers still insist on protecting us from ourselves and we have yet to see a true open class ATV. Strap in, it will come. There are still the small town hold out dealers that don't stock ATV accessories "because we never sell any" - does anyone else find this a little bit of an oxymoron? Well, maybe just morons. And laughingly, here in BC, Canada, there are still trail systems that  are humourously posted "Dirt Bike Only" and even go so far as to suggest areas where ATV's should be ridden.

Yes, there are still, and I'm sure always will be, morons in the industry, as well as morons riding ATV's. Just yesterday (during a recovery break after an impromtu highside) a fellow rode by with his very young child onboard his utility ATV. He wasn't wearing a helmet - thankfully his child was. That kinda thing doesn't upset me near as much as it used to because I have faith in Darwin. The only sad thing will be the father-less child. And I'm sure 'dad' is very competant on his ATV - however when I come ripping around the corner at 65mph on my YFZ and 'dad' is helmetless in the middle of the trail - I can only hope the judge see's it from my point of view.

Yes, we ride hard here. Yes we're a bit uncouth, unkempt, and unruely. We even swear. But shit, don't tell anyone ok? Or my chances for the mayoral election may go up in smoke. If you are a tree hugger, drive your car with hands at 10 and 2, wave to sportbikes from your moped, or think that law enforcement and the government are doing 'an ok job' - listen, you're not going to be happy at ATVIcon. I'm just tellin ya. Don't be sending me letters tellin me how it is - cuz I don't care - k? I ride and hang, with a some times changing group, of people that love to ride. Period. They'll ride when they're sore, or tired, or hung over, or generally when they don't even want to ride. Because, it's what we do. We Ride. We love everything about it. The dirt, the wet, the noise, the breakdowns, the maintenance, the power , and most especially the scenery of the 500ft cliff your roost is flying off as you slide around a corner, most likely at what others would consider an unsafe speed.

We believe in safety, not overcompensation. We ride with helmets and armor cuz if we didn't we'd all be dead now and no one would update these pages. We definitly believe in whiskey - but after the machines are put away for the night. We believe in riding with huge hangovers that would kill most mortal men and waiting for the slowest rider - while havin a smoke break.We believe in pushing and crossing over the edge. We listen to Rock and Roll, and sometimes Boxcar Willie or Ween or once Abba, but we don't let that guy ride with us anymore. We listen to Punk and to country, but only on the way to a ride or when we're to drunk to change the CD. We call our women bitches or chicks and they know it's not derrogatory it's just our way of saying 'hey, you're part of our group, you belong' - they of course call us lots of other names. And even though from time to time we might piss in their cheerios, no one else will. Ever.

We will, at the drunken suggestion of any group member, pack up and head 8 - 10 hours to the dunes at a moments notce. We will lie to our employers about where we are and we will totally forego sleep and food for a chance at a one hour ride in the sand. We will fight to the death, sometimes with each other, for whatever we deem honourous at the time. We will toast anything kewl, anytime. We will have sex, often with our own partner, anytime anywhere - this is including but not limited to train boxcar roofs, windy sand dunes, seats around the campfire or on any open class ATV.

We've been called hardcore by the hardcore. We've been frowned upon by socialities, law enforcement, and certainly anyone's grandma would admonish us over apple pie for hours. But every once in a while we run across someone that just smiles. Cuz they ride too. And they know that we're mostly harmless and just want to be left alone. A full tank of fuel, a full cooler of mix and we're happy. Those that know, know to not place their moral beliefs upon us and we will return the favor. They know not to let color or country or style not enter the conversation. In fact, pretty much anything other then riding has no business being brought up and will most likely get you singled out in our group (you dont want that).

We're adicts. Plain and simple. Unlike millionaire hockey players that have forgotten the love of the game - we haven't. I'd ride a 1973 Kasea 50 if that's all I could get my hands on. And I'd love it. We'd try to get a heard of Kasea 50's. We'd soup em up. We'd race em. Then we'd get drunk and laugh about the ride.

But enough about us - if you are going to be offended, that's probably already happened and you've left, or are leaveing. And that's a good thing. If you are chuckling to yourself cuz 'you got it' - then you know about 150mph, and 5 gear wheelies and sick air. You also know that WFO doesn't stand for Who Forgot Olives at your latest social and the phrase "when in doubt, gas it!" is actually true and in fact has saved your ass a few times.

It's not all about ATV's. It's about machines. Cars, trucks, bikes, you name it. It's about technology. How fast can this thing go? A wonderfull assortment of random parts that when assembled would be considered magical in days gone by. And not just that, but the best one. The fastest, the sleekest, the most Xtreme. And it's about competition. Being the best of the best. Hell, I'd race my John Deere if I could find a class.

You'll need wide shoulders, a thick hide and a sense of humor to go on this ride. And much like I told a friend of mine that was considering getting their young son his first dirt bike.... "What other one single thing can you have your child experience at this age that will positively change their life forever?"

See when I was young I was too busy racing and fixing to get hardcore into drugs, or gangs or stealing or what have you. I was too busy driving to riding spots with my Dad, and then with the boyz, to get a young girl pregnant. And (until now-lol) I never had to work out to stay in shape and be healthy - I just rode.

The most in shape athletes in the world are motocross riders. No question, no close second place. These guys run triathalons on non-race weekends for fun. Their stamina is so great and their cardio so in tune they are like superheros. They have cat-like reflexes and learn young about good judgement. They understand competition and fair play and they know when it's work time and when it's time to play.  In this sport, late twenties is over the hill. (Incidentally, I'm waaaaay over the hill).

So buy your young child his or her first ride. And pick one up for yourself and your better half. Try to ignore junior when a swear or two slips out, cuz it's just showing you how pationate he is for what he believes in. And you dont' have to be young to get into the sport. Just open minded. Take it to a comfortable place for you. Maybe once a month you shuck your 3 piece and move over the wine in the cellar to grab a forgotten bottle of whiskey and go ride. Thing is you are going to meet a lot of people, that as soon as they realize you ride, are instantly approachable and friendly. People that will tear apart their brand new Chevy truck if it will coax your 73 Kasea into going out for one more ride, and would stand beside you 10 minutes after meeting you if a non-rider was to cause you grief.

We, the chosen few, share a bond, a friendship that is thicker then blood, deeper then the Oceans. I had to be reminded of this recently by one of our newest riders. She of few words. I suppose as I get older and grayer it's understandable that I would forget. That riding would become a chore to prepare for and perhaps my laziness might win out and I'd push it off for another day. It is very little effort to find reasons to NOT ride. It is sometimes a lot of effort to find ways to go ride. So we went that day, at her urging. And it was a fabulous day. We rode in the bright sun on gravel roads, we rode in half a foot of snow on forgotten trails, we stopped for a break in a movie script snow fall. We went back to lower altitudes and rode in the spring rain. All the while surrounded by nature's best scenery of snow capped mountains and woodland streams. It was perhaps one of the top 10 rides I've ever been on. Foolishly, I could have stayed home and done chores or surfed the net.

This site is dedicated to my friends. Those that remind me to ride and those that ride with me. And I'd like to make a special dedication to 'her of few words' - Please always push me to ride. I've been in this game a long time and may from time to time take it for granted or simply forget - don't let me. Because this is how we stay young. This is how we remember to look up at the mountains instead of down at the concrete. This is how we witness God's creation. This is how we earn life experience. You are never too old, or too young for that.

Rich.



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9/11
We won't forget.

This site is dedictated to friends I used to have, rides we used to share, and a glass we'll raise in the future to those no longer riding with us.