“If happiness is the goal—and it should be, then adventures should be your top priority.” –Richard Branson
The Philippines is no stranger to All-Terrain Vehicle Rides (ATV for brevity). In fact, ATV in the Philippines has been considered a popular outdoor activity insomuch that many tourist places would offer it as an attraction. In this regard, many locals have expressed their desire to try out this ride at least once during the summer season or whenever they can.
However, while riding an ATV can look seemingly easy and straightforward, it is actually a lot more complicated than it presents. Many riders, particularly novices, make the mistake of underestimating the skill and dexterity it takes to ride an ATV. After all, how can it be any different than taking your regular 4-wheel car for a ride around the block, right?
Well, in some aspects you are right. Indeed, ATV quad cars are easier to manage over their two-wheeled counterparts. Furthermore, the chances of crashing would be mitigated given that it is easier to learn. Unfortunately, just because it is easy to learn does not automatically mean that it would be easy on a whole. More often than not, beginners make the mistake of overlooking the skills required to execute some techniques that would often result in crashes, rollovers and even injury. These would all have been avoided had they been given adequate instruction from the get-go. So, if you are planning on trying your hand on ATV riding and get into the sport, it might be helpful to know what mistakes you ought to avoid that had been committed by most first-time ATV riders. In doing so, you are better prepared for what you are getting into:
Failing to learn about the new terrain
Much of what makes an ATV ride so enjoyable is the terrain itself. In this regard, it is best if you not only knew of the terrain but learned it as well. Apart from guaranteeing you a more enjoyable ride, learning about the terrain would also prevent accidents and injuries. Taking off without testing the terrain first would lead to more rollovers.
Failure to install nerf bars
Nerf bars are what you would call the foot pegs of your ATV. They are important as they give your feet a place to rest. Be sure to get the bigger ones and not the traditional foot pegs that tend to make your feet slip off more than usual. Remember, foot pegs are installed to avoid the possibility of you dragging your feet while you are riding—a sure recipe for serious injury. Nerf bars do not only keep you safe by stabilizing your feet but would also allow you to have maximum control over the ATV.
Because an ATV is bulky and heavy, many riders would think it unlikely to roll over unless one is incredibly inept at handling it. However, it is fairly easy to roll one over and once it does, you would not want to be at the bottom of the equation. Most riders end up underneath of an ATV sandwich by looping out which is typically done with hitting the gas and having little to absolutely no experience with the power of an ATV. From there, the front would spike up and would throw you onto your back and pinned underneath the vehicle. Another way to do this is when you underestimate the terrain conditions and continuously slide in mud and other slick conditions. Remember, the tires are there to grip the ground and if it is slippery to begin with, your vehicle’s wheels will have nothing to grip onto. With both of these in mind, do not step on the gas as if you intend to floor it, ease on it and gradually pick up speed and avoid speeding on slick terrains as well to avoid rolling over.
False sense of security
Many riders have developed this false sense of security that because it is fun and enjoyable to do, they overlook wearing the proper protective equipment which is an absolute no-no. An ATV does not have any seatbelts installed so you are likely to need protective gear and some extra precautions. For a safe and enjoyable ride, wear a helmet, a pair of goggles, gloves and riding boots—and this is just for the minimum. If you wish to ride and take on more difficult terrains, your protective gear should also include chest protectors, knee brace and the like.