LEARN THE ESSENTIALS SKILLS
Patsy runs the Desert Rose Adventure Riding Academy and is as hard as they come...
1 Picking the bike up
Twist the bars so the front wheel is facing the sky and use the handlebar closest to the ground as your lever point. Walk into the bike as you lift and use your knee to steady it if you need to. The bike won’t slide away because you will have most likely dropped it in gear. When upright, swing your foot directly over the saddle and straight onto the peg. If you try to put the foot you threw over onto the ground you will end up see-sawing between feet and lose your balance. It’s the same when getting on and off a bike; instead of using the sidestand, open up the bars and swing your foot straight onto the peg.
2 Stand up to see more
The best way to ride a bike off-road is to stand up. You will have far better vision, better control, and will be able to let the bike move beneath you. Knees should be straight but not locked, with elbows out. Look straight ahead, not down at the ground, two metres further than where you are already looking.
3 Fingers over clutch and brake at all times
Always cover the clutch with one or two fingers so you can react quickly to changing situations. It takes too long to move your hand from the handlebar to the clutch, and you can’t rely on your thumb for grip if you have to yank the lever in. The same goes for the front brake. Think of the clutch as a kind of half-gear; feather it so you can take drive away instantly when riding into a corner or making a sharp manoeuvre.
This is how NOT to do it...