Ever feel like you have a dual personality? One part of you wants to go this way and another part of you wants to go that way at the same time and you just can’t seem to make up your mind? Not that you are conflicted or anything, it’s just that you like going this way and that way, but have a hard time deciding which way to go today.
Not to worry, you are not alone. Many people share your conflict, and have figured out a way to enjoy both worlds at the same time. How’s that for a hat trick? Oh yeah. It’s called Dual Sport Motocross riding, and this past weekend more than 200 riders enjoyed their conflicted nature at a rally called the Mogollon Rendezvous.
Now about that this way and that way thing. Dual Sport riding is a sport that takes advantage of paved roads and dirt trails. A dual sport bike is a machine that can handle the roughest terrain you can throw at it, but can also keep pace with traffic at highway speeds on paved roads. It allows you to ride either — or whenever you feel the need.
Let’s not forget, though, that riding off-road on trails that are barely distinguishable from a deer or elk path requires certain gear and protection. Some of the riders at this rally looked more like modern-day knights with shoulder pads, breast and back plates, leg and knee guards, helmets, goggles and gauntlets. Water packs were also standard gear. Which, until one gets in the outback, it was difficult to understand the need. Once, as I was choking in the dust while shooting pictures, the need was well understood.
Don Hood and Frank Staley, with much help from fellow riders, undertook this popular rally and organized the trails laid out for riders to follow. They also put together all the GPS mapping, printed maps, posted information information to the Arizona Trail Riders Web site, and offered advice on gear, motels and the local ordinances about this area of forest land. Everything got started Friday evening, Oct. 23, at the Payson Elks Lodge on Airport Road.
Riders began pulling into the Elks parking lot around 4 in the afternoon, setting up tents, trailers, and parking campers in designated spots. Forest Service law enforcement was on hand to advise Staley and Hood on getting permits and land usage in the forest areas.
Before the sun decided to make its appearance Saturday morning, members of this dedicated group were already up, had breakfast and were unloading their prized machines from trailers and trucks, checking gear, uploading coordinates into GPS units, rolling roll charts (old school) into their containers, gassing up and taking pictures of each other for future memory lane fireside chats of ‘remember when.’
The sizes of motorcycles for events of this nature vary as much as the people who ride them. Some machines were lowly 350cc compared to the 1200cc machines decked out to take some of the roughest trails Arizona has to offer. The average sizes of most bikes ridden were in the 400 to 500cc size.
Degree of difficulty of trails is also a factor in a rally like the Mogollon Rendezvous; that was handled by designating trails by degree of difficulty. “A” trails are the most rugged and challenging, with less time spent on pavement and more time negotiating various hills, creeks, streams and roads that most four-wheeled vehicles could never handle. “B” trails are for those who want more experience trail riding, but also like to feel the firm confidence of pavement. “C” trails are for those getting their first taste of off-road riding. It gives them a chance to experience the fun of trail riding while maintaining the assurance that a solid road is just around the corner if you decide to take it.
This event was a two-day experience, with different trails Saturday and Sunday. Some of the A and B trails went along the same routes for a minimal time and then split apart and went their own way.
Words used to describe the trial event last year, included, “Extremely, fantastically, superbly and wildly successful.”
Some of the usual happenings included, but also were not limited to: broken chains, flat tires, dead batteries, tipped over bikes, a doctor who wrote his own prescription for his slight injury and people getting a little lost, but quickly found. There were no negative issues with law enforcement and no route variations, according to organizers.
Arizona Trail Riders organized the event. Established in 1988, the Arizona Trail Riders (ATR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to responsible off-highway recreation and the preservation of off-highway motorcycle riding in Arizona. It is a family-oriented club with headquarters in Phoenix, and a statewide membership of roughly 150+ at all levels of riding abilities. The focus is trail riding, but the group also promotes desert racing and dual-sport events in Arizona. Land use issues, as they affect the sport, are also a focus of the members.
Much of their efforts are spent working with Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Land Department, and U.S. Forest Service land management personnel to develop and maintain trails throughout the state so that everyone can enjoy the great outdoors that have helped make Arizona famous.
Club members participate in numerous trail maintenance and trail cleanup programs throughout the year.
Some of the money from this event went to the Payson Elks, the Young Community Association and the maintenance of trails for future riders. ATR also supports local and national community organizations by donating either their time or a portion of club event proceeds.
So now that you know you have an outlet for your dual personality, what are you going to do with it?