Check3GPS Readiness Quotient
Your supervisor may use the following checklist to determine whether you have adequately addressed
the risk factors for motocrossing. If you can answer “yes” to all the questions below, you should be good
1. Do you wear an industry-approved helmet and goggles with sun and shade lenses?
2. Do you wear other recommended personal protective gear, including high ankle boots, leather gloves, long-sleeve shirt, pants, chest protectors, knee and neck braces?
3. Do you ride with a partner?
4. Do you carry a small toolkit when you ride?
5. Do you ride at a level within your abilities?
6. Do you perform an inspection on your bike prior to riding?
7. Do you let someone know where you will be and how long you will be gone each time you ride?
TOP HAZARDS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM
1. Riding without proper personal protective equipment
Mitigate: Must-have equipment for off-road motorcycle riders include a DOT and/or Snell-rated full-face helmet; goggles with replaceable lenses and tear-off strips or roll-off system; durable, over-the-ankle boots; chest protector or body armor; knee braces; and dirt-bike gloves, socks, jersey and pants. Optional equipment, depending on your style of riding and safety choices, include a neck brace, kidney belt, elbow pads and hand guards. If you will be riding long distances, a hydration pack is recommended.
2. Failure to perform regular bike inspection and maintenance
Mitigate: In the long run, routine bike inspection and maintenance will save you time, money and
possibly serious injury. Top items to check include oil/oil filter, air filter, fresh gas, spark plugs, tire
pressure and wear, coolant (unless you have an air-cooled engine), chain, loose bolts, brake pads, spoke tension, and controls.
3. Riding on unfamiliar tracks
Mitigate: It’s always a good idea to walk the track before you ride to familiarize yourself with the
conditions and any tricky turns, gnarly terrain or other hazards you will encounter during a race. There may be holes or soft spots you can’t see while riding, and you may gain insight on the best lines to take. You can also ask riders who already know the track for tips on what to look out for.
4. Riding on unfamiliar trails
Mitigate: When riding in the woods or on unfamiliar trails, you will undoubtedly encounter hazardous off-road elements. These include wire and other fencing materials, cliffs or drop-offs, brush and undergrowth, fallen trees, low branches, animals, standing trees, roots, vines, rocks, water, sand, dust, rain, ruts and mud. The more you know what to expect, the more you can anticipate and avoid potential adverse outcomes.
5. Little or no experience
Mitigate: Watching videos of skilled riders tearing up off-road trails and tracks can make you want to go out immediately and try it yourself. But, as the old adage goes, it’s not as easy as it looks. Invest in a good riding school to learn the basic skills, and then master your technique at a local riding club track. Dirt-bike schools often have many bikes to try, terrain for all skill levels, and top pros available to show you in person how it’s done.
Arm Pump: Every Dirt Biker's Nightmare
Almost every dirt biker knows the pain: Your forearms suddenly feel like cement; your hands go numb; and you have trouble gripping the handlebars and pulling the brake and clutch levers. Known in biker lingo as “arm pump,” this unnerving affliction runs rampant on the motocross track, contributing to countless crashes.
The technical term, “chronic exertional compartment syndrome,” gives an idea of what’s happening in the body. Forearm muscles are bound by an inflexible casing known as fascia, creating a compartment of sorts. When blood surges into this compartment very quickly, as tends to happen during the course of two consecutive 30-minute motos, pressure builds up and compresses vessels, sometimes causing them
to collapse. This makes it harder for blood to flow out of the compartment as quickly as it enters, causing lactic-acid buildup and inhibiting muscle contraction and nerve impulse conduction. While some pro riders undergo surgery to release the fascia, the procedure is only about 50 percent successful and can actually worsen the problem due to scar tissue formation. Fortunately, there are less drastic measures that amateur riders can take to prevent or lessen the vexing problem of arm pump.
Ride More—There is no better sport-specific exercise for motocross than riding, itself. The more you ride, especially on gnarly terrain, the stronger and better conditioned you will become.
Focus on Cardio—Total body, cardiovascular exercise, such as running, swimming, tennis and basketball, will improve your circulation. Boosting your cardiovascular fitness will make your body more efficient at moving blood out of the muscles and back to the lungs for reoxygenation.
Warm Up—Get the blood flowing with a short run or rope-skipping session that you finish a half-hour
before your race to allow for recovery. Pre-race stretching and massage will also help get you ready to
race; a foam roller or hard rubber ball work well to stimulate the soft tissues.
Hydrate—Drink lots of water every day, all day. And stay away from “sports drinks” containing sugar,
caffeine and other dehydrating ingredients.
Squeeze with Your Knees—Use your legs more by applying pressure to the bike with your knees and
standing up when appropriate. This will take pressure off your arms while riding.
Relax the Death Grip— Constant clenching of the handlebars only enhances arm pump misery. So, try to
“be one with the bike” and consciously relax. Keep your emotions in check with steady breathing and
look ahead as you ride so the next change in terrain doesn’t come as quite so much of a surprise.
Customize Your Ride—Eliminate awkward angles and uncomfortable reaches by tweaking lever
positions, grip size, suspension setup, and the like. Tailoring the bike to your body will lessen the strain
on your hands and forearms, allowing you to ride as relaxed as possible.
America’s leading motorcycle organization, AMA offers advocacy, education, and sanctioning for
competitive and recreational events
World governing body for motorcycle racing, FIM establishes and enforces racing rules and calendars for
Organizer of America’s premier off-road racing series and safety and education programs for youth