Adventure with an ‘A to B’

Author: Mitch Ladyman

Author: Mitch Ladyman


If you had spent $2K on a Bergara B-14 HMR or Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Long Range to shoot tin cans off fence posts at 30 yards then you have wasted your money.

If you had spent $273K on an AMG Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (with 536-hp) to enable you to mount kerbs and find a better parking spot each day on the school then you have wasted your money. If you dropped $750K on a Bertram 630 Flybridge Cruiser to go crabbing in the Peel-Harvey inlet then you have wasted your money.

In most cases, most people are sensible enough to buy the right tool for the job. But, typically, the right tool for the job may be capable of so much more in the right hands with the right person that has the right training. U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Norman Hathcock can probably split a Spanish Gnats cracker at 500 yards with a Browning X-Bolt Hell Canon. But you never will unless you try, fail and try again.

If you spent $11.5K on a Suzuki VStrom 650XT, $17.5K on a Honda Africa Twin or Triumph Tiger Explorer or north of $20K for a Ducati 1200 Multistrada or Triumph 1200 Tiger and you never take it off road then you have wasted your money. You will never ever know how capable your bike really is. But if you learn to ride it to the limits of its ability you will get so, so much more bang for your hard-earned buck.

Yes, during the process, you will fall off and you may hurt yourself a little, but at least you know you are getting what you want out of your bike and that is really very important because there is nothing more frustrating than wanting to do something you lack the courage and conviction to do. When you make to Wiluna from Willare, with a thousand kilometres of desert and dunes under your tyre tread, you will feel great and you will never look at your ADV in the same way again. This is what these bikes were made for. It is in their pedigree.
When six rather enormous looking ADVs turned up on my little farm in the Swan Valley, WA, on a Winter’s Sunday I was a little overwhelmed. Like a chameleon I had one eye on these bohemiths and the other eye on the ice rink that was to be their training ground for the day. I couldn’t possibly imagine this was going to end well and, I bet, neither could the six riders who were about to commence a full day of ADV training with Mind on Matter, under the tutorage of Western Australian Trials Champion Neil Price.
To kick off Neil asked why each rider had chosen an ADV and the answers were as consistent as the consistency of chocolate mousse. "I got sick of exploring the back roads on my cruiser and having to pull up, and U bolt back the way I had come, every time the bitumen stopped, and the gravel startedâ€
Early in the morning while brains were fresh, and fingers were still defrosting Neil downloaded a refined presentation of only the most salient facts on bike physics, set-up, body positioning and balance needed to give the guys (and one girl) a strong foundation upon which they could build throughout the day. Following was one practical lesson after another. Neil works from a very basic, but spectacularly important and fundamental principal: “If you don’t have traction you have nothingâ€
As the day progressed the figure-of-eights got tighter, the lean angles got greater, the position of the body in relation to the attitude of the bike got more variable, the hill starts got sharper and the ascents and descents got steeper. By the end of the day the riders knew where their front wheel needed to be, where their back wheel was going to go, and where their bike would end up in any number of situations.

Like a chameleon that had been poked in one eye, I no longer had one eye on the slippery green grass. I only had eyes for these freedom machines with their “ready for battle body workâ€
Know how to ride and you’ll never waste your money on an ADV, nor will you end up in the position that Neil is demonstrating. See you all out on the back-tracks guys (and one girl).

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