Pine Barrens Adventure Camp!

Cranberry BogWhat a great weekend!  Got the 1200 GSA off the road onto the sand and gravel with the guidance of the team of instructors from the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp.  A nice mixture of sand gravel and off-road riding to inaugurate the beginner to the true intention of “adventure riding.”  Combine patient, competent instruction with the beauty of the Pine Barrens, diversity of habitat/species, and challenging riding with the “big bikes” and you have the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp.  Truly a 1st class, well orchestrated event, well worth any rider’s time and energy.

I always start with the best intentions of taking copious notes and photos, documenting the details and providing a blow-by-blow account of this type of training.  Once I arrive and get involved, I am way too absorbed in the activities – and keeping the bike upright -to worry much about anything else. So, my account is short and from memory while relying on pictures of Jack O’Connor (Camp’s Director) to document the happenings of the week-end.

pbac 42813 087-MI arrived early on Saturday, as I usually do to such things, and found the team setting things up. I won’t go into the details of the credentials of the instructors, you can see that on the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp’s web page. All I will say is that the instructors were great and well qualified – couldn’t have asked for better.  After removing everything on the bike that could break off, Saturday was spent with about 4-6 hours of drills to get everyone comfortable in the dirt.  Slow turns weighting the outside foot peg, controlled slides while stopping, turning a stalled bike on a steep hill and a bunch of other skills.  The day pbac 42813 097-Mwrapped up with a 20 or so mile in the woods to put the skills to test.  Sand, gravel and a little mud – enough to find me on the ground looking at the 600 lb GSA on its side a few times.  All the spills I took were slow speed and in sand – soft landings…

pbac on trailThe 2nd day involved a ride through the Pine Barrens with plenty of time to stop, chat and enjoy the beauty of the area.  Mike Bradway led a nice discussion about the biological diversity of the Pine Barrens, conservation and minimizing the impact of motorized travel through the delicate ecosystem.  Quite unexpected and brought back fond memories of the talks I used to give as a kayak instructor in the area.  Good stuff.  Just goes to show that everyone on 2 wheels is not out there to tear up the woods and leave a trail of trash in their wake…


A common sight ...

A common sight … picking up big bike….

To sum up, if you have a dual sport bike and are looking for a chance to test it out off-road,  this is the course to take.  Skill and confidence building for all skill levels – most transferable to riding on the tarmac.  What started as a primer for the Pine Barrens 300 now has progressed to a stand-alone course for fledgling off-road riders.  Frankly, I don’t care what your skill level, taking a big bike through the sand is a humbling experience. Give Jack’s team a try – you won’t regret it!  See you at the Pine Barrens 300 in November!


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