Friday, October 24, 2014

Health Benefits of OHV Trail Riding

Off-road motorcycle enthusiasts are well aware of the physical workout one gets when riding on OHV trails.  This was the topic of a lunch-break discussion last weekend when riding with a 70 year-old A level competitor.

Both of us believe that riding keeps your mind sharp and is a good form of outdoor exercise.  That discourse reminded QWR of an excellent article written in 2011 by our good friend at NOHVCC, Karen Umphress.  Her discussion points were based on a Canadian health study on the physical benefits of OHV recreation.

Article on Health Benefits of OHV Recreation

QWR believes this information is useful on a number of fronts.  First, it confirms that OHV trail riding is a good form of exercise.  Second, it validates OHV trail-based recreation and its health benefits as important elements to be included in the recreation-matrix on public lands.

Next time you get back to camp after a long day of trail riding, you can feel comforted in knowing that science has confirmed  your exhaustion and sore muscles are healthy signs of a good workout.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Trail Management - Post-Fire Hazard Tree Mitigation Takes Collective Effort

QWR SxS Module on FS Post-Mill Fire Volunteer Project

Extreme wildfires have an immediate impact on OHV recreation such as public access bans in the burn area for periods of one year or longer.  They also destroy management tools such as trail delineators, signs, kiosks, and campground facilities.  Costly soil erosion and water quality trail structures can often be obliterated in the initial attack by dozers blading fire lines around the blaze.

While these immediate impacts and their associated mitigation measures are readily apparent, the long-term post-fire management efforts to address hazard trees (dead trees) falling across designated roads and trails for the next 2-15 years should not be overlooked.

As OHV users know, downed trees create a number of management issues which include completely blocked routes or riders creating impromptu reroutes to get around the obstacle.   The presence of hazard trees also requires both non-motorized and motorized recreationists to be aware of their surroundings when traveling through the forest.  Trail obstacles can impact both casual use and permitted events.

QWR believes it takes a committed partnership between the agency, volunteers, and other stakeholders to successfully manage a designated road and trail system on any National Forest.  This is especially true on units that have experienced a recent uncontrolled wildfire.

Team Effort to Clear Downed Trees

QWR suggests the best way for you to participate in volunteer trail management projects is to join a local OHV club that has an existing relationship with the Forest Service or BLM unit you like to visit.  If your local federal unit does not have a volunteer program, consider contacting them and inquiring how you can help partner with the agency. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Adventure and Dual Sport Recreation is Growing Segment of OHV-Related Economy

Don Amador at 2014 Lost Coast
 Dual Sport Adventure Ride

According to a 2012 Economic Impact Study from the Outdoor Industry Association, OHV related expenditures have an estimated $66 billion dollar fiscal benefit to the nation’s economy.

Motorized recreationists stay in hotels, use campgrounds, buy fuel, purchase vehicles and accessories, patronize grocery stores, and order parts.

According to Motorcycle USA.Com, The Dual segment (adventure/dual-sport motorcycles) continues to enjoy the most robust growth trend in the US motorcycle industry.  However, they note that the total sales for the 1st quarter of 2014 for the on/off-road capable bikes were 7644 units which is about ½ the number of  Off-Highway motorcycles sold.

QWR believes that Dual motorcycle recreation will continue to grow in popularity and import as part of the OHV recreation economic equation.   Other recreation leaders appear to share that view as well.

John Lane, Founder of Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders, states, “Most dual-sport, adventure riders stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants.  I am amazed as I travel throughout Colorado on a regular basis, by how many DS/Adventure bikes I see parked at motel/hotels and restaurants.” 

Dual Riders at Grocery Store on CO/UT Border
 (photo credit: Don Riggle)

Motorcycle icon and publisher, Don Emde, says, “Adventure bikes open up unlimited opportunities for riders to expand their horizons and experience new riding areas around the United States and the world.”

Mattole Road South of Ferndale, CA

QWR believes there are a number of factors that are contributing to the rise in popularity of Adventure motorcycling.  First, the 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule resulted in the closure of thousands of miles of forest roads historically used by non-street legal dirt-bikes.  This resulted in riders purchasing dual-sport motorcycles so they could connect between various trail networks.

Second, many non-traditional  “off-road motorcycle” interests from the tech world, conservation movement, 4x4 community, and other stakeholder groups have found that Adventure riding is a great way to escape the city and experience the great outdoors.

Third, adventure and dual-sport motorcycles can also serve as commuter vehicles during the week.

The aforementioned observations are based on QWR’s work at a number of adventure/dual-sport rides including the Oakland Motorcycle Club’s SheetIron 300 Dual Sport Ride and the North Bay Motorcycle Club’s Lost Coast Dual Sport Adventure Ride.

Dual Sport Riders Ready for Take Off at SheetIron 300

QWR looks to expand our Adventure Bike Module in 2015 to better serve the exploring community and promote the many benefits of Dual motorcycling to both the riders and economy.  This addition will enhance our ongoing efforts to champion responsible non-street legal and street legal motorized recreation on public roads, trails, and areas.