“People say that travelling in a car or by road bike gives you a wonderful view. But when you’re on a dirt bike, you’re smelling it, you’re feeling it, you’ve got the wind in your face. Off-roading takes that extreme to the next level,” says Nick Capsey, founder of The Big Adventure Company. “You’re stood up on the [foot]pegs, leaning over the handlebars, with dust spraying you. The faster you go, the harder you fall.”
Welcome to Dirt Bike Adventuring 101, a unique spin on a traditional biking holiday, which combines the high-speed thrills and spills of mud-splattered off-road biking with the cross-country cultural adventure of the finest travel tours. It’s a winning recipe for adrenalin-fuelled exploration. That isn’t to say it’s pedal-to-the-metal the whole way. Going distinctly off-the-beaten-tourist-track brings its fair share of environmental obstacles – and problems can’t always be solved by tweaking the torque.
“We can travel around 1,250km on a trip, but when you have thick mud, sand and rivers to traverse, the going can get slower,” says Capsey. It makes for a thrillingly unpredictable environment.
“Sometimes it’s down to your initiative in a situation,” he says.
“On a recent trip, the late monsoon season meant various bridges had washed away, so we had to rely on five local kids to fish out a sunken canoe, repair the holes using mud, and then help us transport eight bikes across the river.”
And while you’re not exactly using pedal power, it’s still very much an endurance sport. “The danger element comes from how hard you’re pushing people in extreme weather,” says Capsey.
“Being in the jungle is a nice romantic idea, but you’re wearing an extra couple of kilos in serious tropical heat and you need to keep hydrated. It’s challenging riding that requires all your concentration. I’d compare the feeling to being at high altitude.”
“Get as much time in the saddle as you can before you leave,” says Nick Capsey. “The more you understand how the bike moves beneath you on loose ground, the more comfortable you’ll be when it happens to you every day.”
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