Todays Lesson: So you have you’re daily route set off in front of you on your GPS or mobile phone app… You get committed on the trail and it slowly gets more and more technical to the point where you’re thinking “Do I turn around and go back to that junction and try another route?” Sometimes though, you’ve committed a few hours of your time and it doesn’t make sense to turn around and reroute. You then come to a river crossing… What do you do? Do you cross it, or make the decision to double back however much time to the past junction. These are the steps for a successful “solo in the middle of nowhere” river crossing.
- Assess the river:
- How fast is it flowing?
- Are comfortable with riding it?
- Is there another way around?
- Take a good walk and stand in the river and get your boots wet. Being wet now could save you dumping the bike and even worse, taking on water into the intake and having to empty your cylinders and probably changing your oil. (Worst case scenario)
- Make the decision to continue and cross or retreat back.
- If you continue to cross, clear out the river from debris and rocks to make this as easy as possible. The game at this point is to get to the other side with as little drama as possible. You get zero style points for brappin’ across with your front wheel in the air. You’re alone and you’re own rescue team, treat it with caution.
- Remove all your luggage to make your bike as light as possible and walk it across to a dry area. Make sure to empty pockets at this point of technology and leave in dry area as well. If something goes wrong when crossing with your bike, you may want a dry iPhone to navigate out on foot 😉
- Time to ride across and I see two options:
- Sit on the bike and paddle with feet on the ground for stability.
- Stand on the down flow side of the water so if the current is strong, the bike can lean on you while you clutch across.
- This is up to you…
- Get your bike across slowly and if it takes awhile, don’t worry, as long as your air intake isn’t taking on water, you have time.
- Now that you’re across, load you luggage back on and keep riding. Hopefully the trail opens up and you don’t have many more crossings to do.
- Find a place to stay or camp with cold beer and celebrate !
Note: It is a lot of work to remove luggage and not just simply ride across loaded, but, once you’re in the river, you will have thanked yourself for doing the work to walk gear across.