Our big trip is closing in fast. The closer it gets the dumber it feels to do it. We are trying our best to prepare everything. Figuring out visas, making packing lists, preparing toolkits, and everything else that needs to be in order for a trip like this.
But another thing we also feel is important is to practice our off-road skills and techniques.
We are both very fresh riders. Especially when it comes to riding off-road. Both of us had our first off-road experience 2 months ago when we drove on the Trans Euro Trail down in Finnskogen during our last trip.
Since then we have only had two days where we have been riding off-road. Needless to say; we need some practice.
Lucky for us there are a lot of awesome people in the motorcycle community, and some of them are also watching our YouTube channel.
One of those guys is Jon Øyvind. We have been talking to him for some time and we’re planning some rides together last winter, but it never happened. But a few weeks ago we finally met when we did a 7 hour tour together with some other riders around our region. Jon Øyvind is a very skilled rider and have been riding off road for 15 years. He invited us to his garage to give us some tips on how to pack our bike and how to prepare a tool kit. That was very useful. He also took the time to take us out to practice some techniques in challenging terrain.
At first it was a lot of fun. He took us to a small section of “road” that he thought would be similar to some of the things we may encounter on our journey so we could get some real training. The first section was pretty good. Then we got to a section with a bunch of deep puddles filled with mud. That was very challenging. But he had taught us that when in trouble, give it more gas.
We both managed to get through. Barely. Then we came to a pretty steep hill. He tried to signal for us to wait, but we didn’t understand what he meant, so we just followed him up the hill. That almost turned out to be a mistake.
I drive behind him, but I chose the wrong lane, and managed to hit a big rock. The bike jumped up and I got stuck in the ditch. But somehow I didn’t fall over. What I thought was a bad mistake turned out to be good practice for how to get unstuck. He shows me how to position myself and the bike do get enough traction to get out, and I managed to do it and continued up the hill. I got a big sense of accomplishment and I ran down to see how Pia was doing. She was riding behind me and had managed to tip over at the bottom of the hill when I got stuck. But Jon Øyvind had helped her up. She was ok but decided not to try and go up the hill.
Jon Øyvind said I should got around and try again. Now I knew where to go to not get stuck.
So I took a loop around to get back to the bottom of the hill again. Now I had to pass through that difficult muddy section again, and I decided to go on the right side of the track instead of the left as I did last time.
In the first puddle I got in trouble again, but like Jon Øyvind said, if in trouble, more gas. It worked and I got through it. Then right after them was another big mud puddle, so I did the same. Now I was going about 50km/h and before I knew it I was in another puddle. I hit the throttle, but this time it didn’t work. I must have held the clutch in too far, because instead of continuing forward my bike jumped out of the puddle on the left side and I landed sideways in a puddle on the left side of the track.
My bike was laying almost inside down in the mud and I laying beside it wheezing and trying to draw breath. Luckily the bike didn’t land on top of me. My first thought was FUCK! Now the bike is broken and I won’t be able to go on the trip. Then I felt a sharp and intense pain in my rib on the left side of my back. I thought I had broken a few ribs. I was still struggling to breathe and couldn´t really move for about a minute. Then I managed to draw breath again and the pain started to subside.
After another minute or two I managed to get back in my feet. Still not being able to fill my lungs, but I could breathe. I tried to yell for help, but Pia and Jon Øyvind was too far away, and I could really make much sound. He was trying to teach Pia how to turn around if she gets stuck.
After taking a few minutes to get my bearings I felt a bit better. So I tried to lift my bike up. But as soon as I tightened my muscles the intense pain came back. Finally, after struggling for a bit I managed to wedge my foot under the bike and lift it up. It was full of mud, same as I was. And the clutch lever was bent. But nothing else was broken surprisingly.
I got back in it and drove towards Pia and Jon Øyvind. I wanted to continue practicing, but he said that was not a good idea. So we drove back to a place with some sand where Pia cold practice her clutch control at low speed.
It was a good thing I didn’t continue because after about 15 minutes it got more and more painful. And I was struggling to stand upright or sit on my bike normally. After about 45 minutes we called it quits and drove home.
I have toppled over countless times on my bikes, but never at higher speeds. This was the first time I had crashed properly. But I was lucky it didn’t go much worse. This was a learning experience for me. After reflecting on what happened I think I know more what to expect in those type of situations. I need to practice my clutch control better in tense situations.
All in all it was a fun day. And we both learned a lot. We are very grateful to Jon Øyvind for taking the time to teach us. In the two days we’ve spent with him we have learned a lot. About tools, fixing our bikes, packing and riding, and most importantly we have had a lot of fun!
The next day I went to the doctor to have an xray taken and it turned out it was just a bruised muscle between my ribs. All in all I was very lucky.