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Shifted Gears

  • 7 Rules of Snowmobile Trail Etiquette for Riding in Groups

    Sure, you know how to ride your machine, how to accelerate over various types of terrain, and how to stop safely. But do you understand the rules of riding in groups and on trails where other outdoor enthusiasts share the pathways?

    There are seven rules that experienced riders may forget to teach new snowmobilers or that old riders themselves may simply forget over time. Beyond the basic personal-safety rules, there are community-oriented rules that serve to make winter sports enjoyable for the maximum number of people.

    The Golden Rule applies here, so if you act courteously and respect the rules of the trail when riding with a group, you're off to a great start. The following seven rules will now be part of your training too.

    1. Always Give Uphill Riders the Right of Way

    This is why you've been instructed to slow down before approaching the crests of hills. It takes more momentum to go up than down, so allowing the uphill riders to make their ascent means the hill will clear more quickly.

    Riders going uphill may have a difficult time continuing to move forward if they have to stop and yield the right of way to avoid a collision.

    1. Don't Hog the Hill or the Road

    Speaking of blind drop-offs on hills, don't approach drop-offs while side by side with someone else. Allow one rider to approach from the right and assess the situation below. Stay to the right in single file in case the trail narrows.

    Avoid riding side by side on wider trails. It may be fun to mess with your buddy or to ride closer without getting sprayed a bit, but you risk not having time to get out of the way of less visible wildlife or outdoor enthusiasts.

    1. Always Give Right of Way

    There isn't some magical hierarchy of trail gallantry that must be memorized when you ride a snowmobile. You give the right of way to everyone who isn’t on a snowmobile.

    When you approach people coming toward you on the trail, slow down and give the right of way to all of them, including the following:

    • Skiers
    • Hikers
    • Snowshoers
    • Dogsledders
    • Horses and Riders or Sleigh-Drivers

    If you overtake any of the above on narrow trails, allow them to move safely out of your way before proceeding. Always pass slowly when you are able to move forward.

    1. Pay Attention to Hunting Season Dates

    In some public locations that host snowmobile trails, there are days during deer-hunting and other game-hunting seasons when you're not allowed to ride snowmobiles for your own safety. Hunters will be out in droves on those days, shooting stuff that moves. Since many public trails access parts of private land, the private landowners expect those dates to be honored when it comes to their portions of the trails.

    In other places, you have only certain days or hours when you may ride your snowmobile during hunting season. While it may be tempting to get on the fresh trails before everyone else gets a shot, you may get more of a bang out of the experience than you want. Find other trails nearby where you can safely ride.

    1. Stay Away on Ice

    If you're on public land, you should maintain a safe distance between yourself and any ice-fishing shanties or skaters. Don't be rude by using ice-skating areas for snowmobiling or by running around making a lot of noise near fishing activity.

    Go as slowly and quietly as you can if you must pass on ice within 100 feet of a skater or shanty. The noise of your sled carries very well over frozen water.

    1. Don't Signal If It Means Losing Control

    When a person or group gives your group the right of way, it's common for the first rider in your group to signal how many riders are following behind. This lets the people giving your group the right of way know exactly how many snowmobiles to wait for before proceeding. If you have some members lagging behind, they're still counted and won't face a potential collision.

    On narrow trails, it's better to maintain control using both hands to steer. Use your judgment before you attempt to signal. It's also not necessary for every member of your group to signal the number of riders to their rear. At night, your lights should be enough to show those you encounter how many sleds to wait for before proceeding along the trail.

    1. Let Faster Riders Pass

    Your group will work out who is the lead dog (first rider) and the tail dog (last rider) as well as how close your machines should be to each other in a single-file line to avoid pileups and snow-spray discomfort. However, other individuals or groups may want to pass you on busy trails.

    There should be an agreed-upon signal used to alert the lead dog so he or she will pull over or slow down to let the others pass. The tail dog should periodically check behind your group to make sure no one is attempting to pass your group.

    If you ride on land owned by private clubs or individuals, they may have other rules of etiquette they expect you to follow. For example, landowners may want you to stay away from sensitive wildlife areas or livestock pens. Ask your escort or host whether they have any special rules you should follow. The owners will appreciate your concern and your compliance.

    When you need accessories, parts, tools, or gear for your snowmobile, trust Bob's Cycle & Snowmobile Supply to have the brands and selection you seek. Contact us today for all of your winter adventure needs.

  • How to Deal with Inclement Weather on a Motorcycle Ride

    You may plan the majority of your motorcycle trips for sunny days, but when you ride frequently you are likely to end up in a situation where you need to account for rain, snow, low visibility or other characteristics of inclement weather.

    For that reason, you should know how to deal with inclement weather while on your bike. Continue reading

  • Is a Leather or Textile Motorcycle Jacket Right for You?

    When you purchase motorcycle gear, you're shopping for more than just your signature statement look. Your gear also protects you against weather extremes, road rash and other potential hazards.

    One of the most important pieces of equipment you need when you ride is your jacket. In this blog, we compare the two most common motorcycle jacket materials: leather and textile.

    Continue reading

  • Breaking Into Motocross: Tips for Women

    In 1971, Kerri Kleid became the first woman to hold a professional motocross rider license. However, she was barred from racing when officials discovered she was a woman, and her license was revoked. Determined to compete, she won her license back in court. Her courageous move paved the way for other female motocross racers.

    As an aspiring woman motocross racer today, you don't face quite as many barriers as Kerri Kleid did. But getting into motocross as a woman can seem more difficult than it would be for a man. You may struggle to find appropriate motocross equipment, and you might not know where to turn for help to progress in the motocross field.

    Continue reading

  • Motorcycling This Summer? How to Keep Cool on Warm-Weather Rides

    Summer is one of the most popular seasons for motorcycle riding—enthusiasts participate in hundreds of rides in the United States during warm weather every year. However, summer can also be one of the most hazardous periods for motorcycle riders, especially those who take to the roads unprepared.

    In this blog, we provide tips for keeping cool and getting the most out of your summer rides, whether you plan to ride competitively or to travel the scenic route to your favorite camping spots. Continue reading

  • How to Clean Your Motocross Equipment

    After a high-paced motocross race, you feel like you're on top of the world. But your clothing and boots look a little worse for wear—actually, they're caked with mud and dirt.

    Fortunately, cleaning your motocross equipment isn't a difficult process. Follow these steps to remove the mud and restore your boots, clothing, and goggles to their former state. Continue reading

  • 6 Essential Tips for Your First Motorcycle Ride This Spring

    Along with baby birds and flowers in bloom, motorcycle riders taking to the road is one of the first signs of spring. If you're a new rider or are just out of practice, spring may be the perfect season to get out your bike and on the road.

    However, spring motorcycle travel also comes with a set of challenges unique to the season. In this blog, we list six crucial guidelines to help you stay safe and comfortable on your first ride this spring and on many rides to come before summer arrives. Continue reading

  • New ATV Rider? Here's What You Need to Know

    You've always wanted your own ATV. Maybe you imagine bringing it on family camping trips or off-roading adventures. Maybe you want to use it for work around your home or farm. Or maybe you hope to learn new jumps and tricks or prepare for a competition.

    Whatever your reason for buying an ATV, you're excited about the prospect of owning a new vehicle. But before you actually take the plunge and buy an ATV, there are a few important things you should be aware of. Continue reading

  • Headed to a Bike Rally? Outfit Yourself With New Motorcycle Boots

    There's always a small, local motorcycle rally somewhere, but the biggest rallies in the nation are the destinations of riders' dreams. Packing for your first big rally fills you with excitement, but it may also fill you with a bit of apprehension. Which boots should you bring along for the ride?

    Below are descriptions of four of the most famous bike rallies, along with descriptions of modern motorcycle boots that are great choices for people riding to each event.

    Continue reading

  • Returning to Racing After an Injury

    You thought recovering from your motocross injury would take a long time. As it turns out, it's even harder to recover your mental game. You still carry emotional scars from your accident, and you worry about getting hurt again.

    Here's how to recover from your accident and jump back into racing.

    Continue reading

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