Sometimes I get frustrated by the fact that I can’t wheelie a dirt bike. It usually happens when we’re about to embark on a ride and a crowd has gathered to watch us leave or when I’m the first to arrive at our destination and a group of onlookers call on me to perform this most basic stunt – a qualifier that even the most uninitiated recognizes as the sign of a skilled rider. This is not to say that I’ve never popped a wheelie. There are countless times when I’ve been forced to haul my front wheel up for extended periods on a tangly stretch of trail and as much as it pains me to admit it, I actually spent an entire afternoon practicing on the sand banks of Black Duck Beach until I finally ran the entire shoreline pointed skyward. Afterwards however I simply never bothered to try it again as I was more interested in spending my time riding than performing circus acts.
You see, I never owned a dirt bike when I was a child. I bought my first bike when I was over 30 years of age. I was told it would improve my skills on the sled and of course it seemed like a great way to maintain core strength and flexibility in the off season. I rode everyday for at least 2 hours and unlike most children – I wasn’t restricted to my back yard so there was always new country to explore and I was never forced to try and entertain myself on the back wheel of my bike.
The same can be said for the Boondockers series of videos. You won’t see many (any?) back flips, heel kickers or ‘can cans’ in our videos. Boondockers team riders are always exploring new terrain and we simply don’t have the time to practice tricks when there is so much riding to do. We visit dozens of new locations every year and even when we ride closer to home we are always seeking an alternative route to some distant peak, bouncing through a new river bed or beating our way along the steep incline of a mountain glen. Though we often make time to shovel a new hit, we started this as a means to access a drop canyon or an impassable river. Through this we discovered the exhilaration of freefalling on a sled but a combination of sink holes and the anticipation of discovery kept us moving through the countryside in search of the next thrill – not hitting the same lip over and over again.
Our rewards are measured in the view that can only be experienced from the highest mountain, the true weightlessness we’ve identified when carving through perfect powder, and the sense of accomplishment one feels after beating your way along a treacherous passage. While we certainly make every effort to share this experience through our videos, only a true rider or at least someone with the desire to improve their skill set will relate to the series. For those left waiting by the road side for our return I apologize if I can only provide you with a huge smile and a reminder that tricks are still for kids!
Sweat your brains out!
Photos by Andrew McCarthy, Geoff Dyer, and Jackie DeWolfe