Nobody likes to ride alone, at least most people.
However, finding a riding partner in our niche way of life sometimes isn't easy. It's not like every other neighbor owns a dirt bike and enjoys ripping trails or heading out for a day at the track. Truth be told, for some riders finding that invaluable friend who throws a leg over a dirt bike is like finding someone to attend an Andrew Rieu concert.
In addition to ratcheting up the fun factor a riding partner offers a safety component in the event of a crash that renders you unable to fend for yourself. A riding buddy can also help with honest feedback for improvement and provide some friendly competition that doesn't result in you on the other side of a berm.
Perhaps you recently moved, discovered dirt bikes on your own or just tired of your current go-along who parks you in a corner at every chance. Whatever the case, you want someone to ride with and you want that rider now! To help, we've compiled a list of the best and worst ways to find a riding buddy.
Just a little effort takes you from this...
1. Introduce Yourself
Meeting someone face to face probably sounds foreign to some but before the internet, chat rooms and social media people generally interacted in-person. This meant introducing yourself to others with a handshake and/or "hello" in order to stir up conversation and inquire about one's hobbies. Scary thought, we know, but talking to other dirt bike riders at the track or on the trail just might get you invited for Christmas dinner and the next ride day.
Yes, we admit some folk in our sport/hobby bro it out a bit too much and think they can beat Eli Tomac anytime, anywhere, any day. Guess what, you don't want that guy as a riding buddy anyway. Most of the time if you walk up to another rider, explain you're new to the area and ask for advice you'll not only get an earful but probably information on their next ride day along with a friendly "come on out."
Enter a local race. Even if you only feel comfortable putting around a track, sign up for the "D" class and get to know others with similar ability. It might take a race or three before you recognize a face and get recognized yourself but show up, try hard and strike up conversations in the pits.
Once the in-person verbal diarrhea starts, inquire about other places to ride and any upcoming racing series. It also doesn't hurt to ask how another rider likes their bars, clutch or levers. Oh! Don't be surprised if you find other lonely riders asking the same questions. Connect with them and expect a blossoming friendship rooted in dirt.
3. Talk to Track Owners
The owners and operators of local tracks know everybody. They also know what's good for business - repeat business. Therefore, seek out the owner or manager, tell them you're new and ask about practice days, groups open to new riders or nearby Motocross clubs. Also, a compliment or two on the track conditions goes a long way.
4. Forget Something
Forgetting something necessary to ride is actually quite common. It's almost expected and usually others riders have no problem lending out tools. So, how about intentionally forgetting a tool or some other maintenance item forcing you to ask someone for help? Admittedly, this is a bit off-handed but who is going to know? Don't leave a major component at home; instead, "forget" an air pump or pressure gauge. Maybe some chain lube. This starts an in-person conversation about dirt bikes and when the door opens mention you're new to the area and similar to #1 above you just might get a contact name and number or at least an invite to the next riding day.
5. Message boards
If the face-to-face proves too intimidating then go right ahead and get on dirt bike and motocross message boards. You can send a message into Cyber Sea and ask for any locals willing to hook up for a riding day. It's so easy a caveman can do it.
We've covered the best methods to finding a riding buddy so that means bad methods exist, too. Certainly, walking around the mall wearing an energy drink t-shirt and a flat billed Fox Racing hat with your ears tucked in is akin to shining the bat signal to other riders. NO! Follow that route and the below "suggestions" to remain forever a single dirt bike rider.
One is the loneliest number
1. Starting Line Conversation
The starting line is not the time to ask about other places to ride or inform the competition on your left and right about your recent arrival to the area. Motocross is intense and riders generally spend time psyching themselves up for the gate drop. So should you. A friendly nod is about all that's acceptable but remembering their racing number for a post-race recap is not a bad idea.
2. Messaging People on Social Media
It's pretty easy nowadays to find people online so whether you take note of a local racer's name while wrenching in the pits or look through tagged photos on the track's Facebook page don't send them messages. It's creepy and besides what's to say? This crosses the stalking line if you're a guy sending messages to a ripping Motocross gal.
3. Taking Photos
It's perfectly fine to take photos of riders. People love action shots of dirt bikes whether at the track, trails and even the dunes. However, it's not perfectly fine to take said photos for the sole purpose of getting the rider's contact information so you can send them their photo then use that as a gateway to develop a riding friendship. Of course, if the rider sees you snapping shots and asks you for a copy then all bets are off. Well, sort of. Let them lead.
Riding is more fun with others
4. Used Bike Contact Info
Buying a used dirt bike or even inquiring about a used bike results in obtaining the seller's contact information. Perhaps their in-person cheery demeanor during a test ride or their overt friendliness via text (remember they become a de facto salesperson when selling their ride) lit a bulb over your head. Turn it off. Don't think a routine exchange of information regarding a used dirt bike means you found your next riding buddy. Cut the texts off once you've exchanged cash for the bike or decided the bike wasn't for you.
5. Leave a Note
It's pretty easy to identify other riders based on what stickers adorn the back window of their car. You might even find a truck with a secured dirt bike in the bed. Don't leave a note. You won't get a phone call or text back and if you do it's unlikely to set a riding day.
The country is full of riders and the majority welcomes those new to the hobby or new to the area. Think grade school if you ever find yourself without a riding buddy. Did you just watch everyone else have fun on the playground? Or did you introduce yourself and get in the game? Same goes for Motocross and dirt bikes.