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Trail Topics

   Simon's Wish List

    Monday, October 17, 2011

Author: Simon Mykolajenko

Someone asked my why I enjoy trail riding.

Trail riding offers many things.

I really enjoy getting away trail riding and camping for a weekend with family and friends. This brings our family together in a great environment for communication between parents and kids. No computer games, no TV, no phones, just fresh air and plenty of physical activity. A side benefit of riding is it keeps us fit and healthy. Our kids have learned how to light a fire, cook, camp, and many other life skills on these weekends, all in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner. They were a little put out when we had to clean up someone else’s rubbish near our campsite, but they now realise that it’s important to take any rubbish home with you, even if it’s not yours.

Riding with friends is always great fun, and entertaining, especially if we have access to some challenging terrain. We are all competitive, but we all help each other work on improving our riding skills. There is hardly a weekend riding where I don’t learn something new.

Off road touring is a fantastic way to see out of the way places in the bush. One of our best rides was from Pinjarra to Nannup and back, with as little bitumen as possible. We’ve seen parts of the Southwest that most people don’t even know exist. My daughter couldn’t believe “Fish Ladder Falls” when she saw it. That alone made the weekend worthwhile. Much better than a classroom.

I guess I can summarise what I really enjoy down to two things. I like the physical and mental challenge of riding over difficult terrain, and I love getting away with my family and friends spending a weekend in the bush.

I rode at Gnangarra once in about 1979 I think. I was there for about half an hour and realised that this is more dangerous that drink driving, taking drugs, smoking, eating razor blades, and playing Russian roulette all at the same time. I will never ride there again while this area is totally uncontrolled and downright dangerous. Also, even if the area was controlled and safe, the terrain offers no challenges for experienced riders, but is not suitable for beginners. Lancelin at least offers something different with the dunes, but after about an hour I’ve had enough of that. It’s much more enjoyable to ride the tracks up to Cervantes or Jurien Bay and back.

What is my wish list? Where do I start?
• Firstly riding around in circles does not interest me at all.
• Tracks need to be marked, and directional.
• New areas need to be allocated to reduce the number of riders in one place at one time, therefore reducing the risk of accidents, and reducing the impact to the area.
• Trails to and from destinations need to be established, similar to the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi trails. I’d love to be able to take a week off work and ride from Pinjarra to Albany and back. Or ride a different section each weekend. Obviously this would be suitable for registered bikes only. Introducing an “Off Road Rego” scheme such as the one in operation in Victoria would solve that problem.
• At a very minimum, there needs to be more areas for off road motorcycle use.
• Erosion can be a problem if an area is misused or over used. Again the more areas there are to ride, the less impact riders will have on these areas. If you herd every rider into a 10-acre paddock, it will be a dust bowl in a day. The construction of marked trails would keep riders away from delicate areas.
• Rangers have stopped me on a couple of occasions, but after a vehicle and registration check there was no problem. I have no problem with rangers doing their job and ensuring everyone obeys the rules. These are the same guys who stop idiots lighting fires during fire bans and making my weekend in the bush safer and more enjoyable.
• I don’t want a separate area for kids, I want to be able to ride with them and help them improve their riding skills. Maybe a parents-and-kids trail?
• Provide funding to the same level as football, netball, basketball etc to be used to provide a range of off road trails throughout the state.
• Introduce a “Recreational Rego” scheme. The income from this, combined with other rates, taxes, and GST generated by riders and the motorcycle industry in WA would more than cover the set up and maintenance of a fantastic trail system.
• The last two things combined would remove most of the current problems in residential areas.

The final thing on my “wish list” would be a “junior motorcycle license” so kids could ride legally while in the company of their parents. The long term flow on benefit would be when they turn 17 they will already have vehicle skills in difficult conditions making them safer drivers.”

I don’t see any losers in the above do you?