Learn to go off-road, really starting from scratch and prepare to face the beautiful Adventure Touring events of today, in total safety and awareness: the choice of the OFF-ROAD SCHOOL, EQUIPMENT and SAFETY.
We are in the second chapter of this series dedicated to beginners (and not only) of dirt roads. Those who have read the first one will already be going crazy in the choice of the bike or in the tires. Well! Now let’s talk about what is actually the most important topic of all: SAFETY!
We know each other well: we did research on the internet, questions to friends, posts on social networks and we are now more confused than before … Some say “come with me” I’ll explain … there are those who will tell you you’re crazy, keep on going by scooter … I will ask you a simple question: to learn English, would you pay or would you go with someone who has been 10 times in London, with no qualifications or training that is completely different? Maybe not.
The Offroad riding school
Without taking anything away from the driving skills of many instructors (official and otherwise), I chose to address those who have been training for many years in the field, with method and discipline (also for convenience and short distance).
Of the many options that have been presented to me, I must be honest, the choice of Free Racing di Oscar Polli was also weighted on the basis of a key factor: they teach children and youngsters, with all the responsibilities that this entails (who is father / mother can understand what I mean). It also organizes lots of interesting trips and tours in Italy and North Africa.
Before venturing to the first lesson (with very affordable costs for a day) I therefore decided to attend one of his “new entry” days just outside Milan. A nice path to learn the basics, qualified and friendly staff that takes care of the children and you (who are great children, be honest) and lots and lots of seriousness. I saw Oscar being as friendly as he was serious and determined in conveying the most important concepts regardless of age, but with a suitable method to be understood by everyone. And more importantly, those who were there told me “you will see, you will make great strides”. I book!
Gear and Safety
I then get an idea of the “material” I will need, in reality you can start with what you already have: boots, full-face helmet, protections, gloves. Then obviously going into detail it is easy to understand that the physical commitment is not small, which is why the chin guards of the cross helmets are so protruding, to breathe better. Well-armored boots to give the stride to the ground or to protect the falling leg (it can happen, even from a standstill), protections on the elbows, shoulders and back are obvious, don’t forget them. Gloves, I recommend them light, for greater sensitivity.
But above all, what you need to consider before every purchase and / or use is SAFETY. You must literally feel SECURE. This is a key concept for me, because even outside the asphalt there are so many pitfalls albeit different: the ground does not have the grip of the asphalt, there may be stones, mud, holes … falling, even if at a standstill or at very high speed low, it can happen, let it be known (even on asphalt for that matter).
For this reason, as well as investing on the bike of dreams, you don’t have to save on safety and protection. Use a fiber helmet (the rocks can be hard and pointed). A jacket with homologated protectors and a back protector (if it is hot bib and cross): in my case, I took the Stealth Jacket di Zandonà, specialized in protections, which I will use with cross jersey or under the jacket. Consider purchasing enduro or mixed road / enduro boots such as the Alpinestars Tech 7 o il Corozal Adventure, with shin guards and seams and the quality of the brand that made history in motorcycling. Remember that your health, as in the street, is worth more than anything else. On the other hand, in off-road vehicles there aren’t (or almost) all those dangers that usually threaten us in the city or on asphalt (traffic, cars, intersections, trucks …).
On the internet or at many retailers there are always so many offers, so savings are available to everyone, but always look carefully at what you buy and remember that Made in Italy is often synonymous with quality and safety precisely.
Don’t miss the next episode: Driving Offroad, the first steps (and falls!).