Lane's Riding Tips

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In the past couple of issues of SnoWest and SledHeads magazines, there have been dozens and dozens of riding tips.

Did anyone out there notice that no one asked me for my riding tips? And I know it's not because anyone around the SnoWest offices read my column in the October issue ("I Win The Arctic Cat Award," page 8).

I'm not sure why no one asked me. I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone. Why wouldn't they ask me? I mean after all, I'm the only one here at SnoWest who has earned the Arctic Cat award for my ridermanship. Maybe they're jealous and that's their way of getting back at me.

So after reading Steve Janes' 17 riding tips in the October and November issues of SnoWest and the list of tips Ryan Harris put together for SledHeads ("Pro Riding Tips," November, 2010, page 22) I decided there were a few riding tips those two missed. So I've come up with my own list.

  • Don't necessarily believe others who supposedly know your sled has been filled with gas. It's embarrassing to be towed in. Always check the gas level yourself.

  • If your sled breaks down and it has to be towed in, forcing you to find a different way back to the parking lot, walk or ride two up with anyone besides Steve Janes. Yea, it wasn't until a quarter mile after I got dumped off his sled that he noticed he lost someone somewhere along the way.

  • Rubber side down is way overrated, especially when you're between the rubber and the snow. Some of you out there know exactly what I'm talking about.

  • If you don't like getting stuck, don't leave the groomed trail.

  • If you own a cell phone, take it with you on the ride. If you get stranded or lost, your cell phone is not going to do you any good if it's in the pickup. (Yea, you know who you are.)

  • Remember, you're riding on snow and ice. By their very nature, snow and ice are slick, unless the snow is incredibly deep. So if there's not a lot of snow or you're going down a steep slope or the snow is hardpacked, even if you grab a fistful of brake, chances are you're not going to stop on a dime. Plan way ahead so you don't end up redecorating your sled with a tree or the rear bumper of your buddy's machine.

  • If you're geographically challenged you might want to invest in Spot, a GPS, maybe even your own satellite and/or any other tracking device so you can find your way around and so you return back to the parking lot or home. Bonus tip: the sun rises in the East and goes down in the West.

  • You can get along with just a half a sandwich but you usually can't get by with just one boot or one glove. (Yea, you know who you are, too.)

  • If you tend to get stuck a lot while snowmobiling, ride with a really big group because you're going to wear out every last one of them by the end of the day. Once in that group, test the waters early to find out who will be your best riding buddy. Bail off the trail, get stuck and see who comes to your rescue. Then stick close to them the rest of the ride. If they start to avoid you, you're in trouble. Or make new riding friends.

  • If you're bringing up the rear on a ride, it's not wise (are you listening Dave?) to go off exploring by yourself with no one knowing exactly where you are. (Remember that ravine you went down into?)

  • Don't focus on the rock. If you focus on the rock and look at the rock, you're going to hit a tree.

  • If you tend to be a slow rider, then not only do you have to worry what's in front of you, but what's behind you as well. Don't be traction for someone else.

  • Here's one I heard from someone else: "When in doubt, throttle out." Yea, sure, but practice that one a little before you go full bore on it, okay? Trees are pretty unforgiving.

  • Another one: "The brake is just a crutch." Hmmm. I've seen where not using the brake almost caused the person to need crutches, so I'm still working that one out in my mind. I'll get back to you on that one.

I have a whole backpack full of other riding tips but my space is gone so stay tuned for future issues.

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