Wecome To RVs and OHVs

This blog is all about RVs (recreational vehicles) and OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles), camping, and survival
and how they work together to provide wholesome family fun and great learning opportunities.
Many posts are intended to familiarize novice campers and RVers with RV systems and basic camping and survival
skills. But even experienced RVers and campers will enjoy the anecdotes and may even benefit from a new
perspective. Comments, questions, and suggestions are encouraged.

Friday, March 23, 2018

OHV Tips for Riding Hills

Most of the off road trails you will ride on or in your OHV will include hills you will have to negotiate.   Climbing, descending, or crossing hills (slopes)  requires specific skills that are different from what you need for traveling on level ground.

Climbing hills.  For climbing hills with any type of OHV, the first thing you need to do is determine if the hill you are facing is within the capabilities of you and your machine.  If not, find a way around or turn around and go back.  Next, most people will try to get a little run at the hill, but be sure not to go so fast that you are uncomfortable or being to lose control.  Sooner or later you are likely to encounter a hill you cannot get over the top of.  When that happens, you need to know how to safely get back down.   How you do that will depend on what kind of OHV you are operating.  For a dirt bike, shut off the engine, put the transmission in 1st gear.  Then get off the bike and gently turn the front wheel, release the clutch to let the bike roll until it is approximately cross ways from you original hill climbing direction.  Then turn the wheel downhill, carefully remount the bike, and ride back down the  hill.  You may want to release the clutch and let the engine start and you can then use engine braking to help control the speed of your descent.  If you are riding an ATV you will want to set the parking brake, dismount, and drag the front of of the ATV around until it is angled downhill.  Then remount, release the brake, and ride down the hill.  As with a dirt bike, let the engine start and use engine braking to help control your downhill speed.  Side-by-sides are incredibly difficult to turn around when climbing a hill so it is usually best to simply back down slowly, carefully watching behind you (over your shoulder or via mirrors).

Descending hills.  A common problem for all OHVs when descending hills is going to fast as gravity pulls you and your ride down the slope.  The first defense is to downshift to increase engine braking to reduce speed.  Then use your brakes judiciously.  Overuse of the front brake on dirt bikes or ATVs may cause the machine to flip over the  handlebars so use the front brake sparingly if at all.  Once you reach the bottom of the hill and begin to level out you can use both brakes to continue to slow down or stop as desired.

Crossing Hills.  Crossing hills on a dirt bike is fairly straightforward, as long as you keep the bike balanced and keep enough forward momentum.  You don't want to stop where you can't put your foot down to stabilize your bike!  If you encounter a problem crossing a hill that requires you to slow or stop, lean uphill and put that foot down for stabilization.  Crossing hills with ATVs and side-by-sides is generally not a good idea.  You might be able to do it if the slope isn't too steep, but all too often, by the time you can make that determination, it is too late and your machine is already starting to roll over.  Sometimes you can help keep an ATV stable crossing a slope by leaning uphill to help counter the pull of gravity that is trying to make it roll over.  Since you can't shift your weight in a side-by-side to assist crossing  hills, it is better not to try it at all!

Have a hill of a time  -- and stay safe!