Different times of the year create different trail conditions. While summer typically provides trails laden with dust, and winter leaves a mess of muck and snow, spring is the ideal time to experience unique riding conditions in weather, and trail conditions, that can vary widely.
We all know that different parts of the country experience different weather, Spring is the ideal time of year to take advantage of changing conditions and test your trail riding expertise. However, riding in unsure conditions also requires a certain level of preparation on the part of both the rider and the rig.
Here in Northern California, this time of year can bring hot, dry spells followed by unexpected days of rain. Just two hours north in the towering shadows of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, however, hours can literally see weather swap between light clouds and warming sun and freak snow storms that break way to more sun. For guys out on their ATV’s, dirtbikes, or UTV’s, unpredictable weather requires man and machine to be ready for the elements.
Before heading out in Spring conditions, riders should be prepared with a reliable forecast. And what Bob said he saw on the news last night isn’t considered “reliable.” Check weather via the National Weather Service on the morning you head out, and pack accordingly. Typically, this means dressing in layers, or at least taking them along, and being ready for the elements. Pack some gloves, hats, and a change of clothes in case mud or un-melted snow drifts leave you soaking wet when you make it back to the truck.
In addition to arming yourself with the right fashion and knowledge, it’s also a good idea to pack enough food and water to last a little longer than you predict you’ll be out. Unsure trail conditions can lead to unexpected breakdowns, in addition to the chance that you may have to hole up temporarily and wait for one of those odd Spring storms to pass.
While some ATV riders take full advantage of winter conditions, others swap their ride for a snowmobile in the colder months. This means that Spring rides are the first time many quads and dirtbikes see the life outside the garage since being stored months ago. Before heading out, take time to go through your ride to ensure that it’s trail worthy. Check your sparkplugs, get fresh fuel in the tank, and charge up any batteries that seem weak. Going through your ride in the garage, and delaying a ride, is always better than wondering why your junk won’t run 8 miles away from the truck. That is, of course, unless you like to walk. A lot.
Riding in the Spring is a great time to get out there and check out the countryside as winter pulls back its cloak. Why not check out the fresh flowers, play in some mud and enjoy the cool weather before those dog days of summer set in. Just be sure that you, and your ride, are ready for ever-changing conditions out there!