Strategy and tactics

Today I went to an area known locally as ‘The Desert’ which is on the site of a sand/gravel quarry, and where all the off road bikers, quaders and 4X4 drivers go - a rough corner of a rough area, and you can smell the testosterone in the air (mixed with 2 stroke smoke). Burned out stolen cars as far as the eye can see, this is a well rough area.

Determined to ride the distance, but reluctant to ride the gauntlet of abuse, I adopted a tactic which seems to have worked. The most embarrasing moment is always when you fall off in front of someone who is taking the mickey, and the track through the Desert is very rough and with sandy patches, so UPDs were inevitable.

So the tactic was to take a diversion and do some difficult riding, incorporating some of the more serious descents visible to ‘the gallery’. I fell off a good few times, picked myself up, rode the descents again, walked a bit, rode a bit. By the time I went past the gallery, they were well used to the fact that there was a unicyclist in the area, they had seen that I had attempted some impressively difficult stuff, and, most of all, they had seen me fall off lots of times, and had got used to the idea that sometimes I’d have to walk, or I’d miss a mount.

So when I rode past them, there was nothing new for them to poke fun at, and apart from the odd ‘Where’s your other wheel?’ the reaction was generally good. One bloke even asked for a go, tried it briefly, expressed admiration, and asked where to buy one.

This all contrasted very sharply with the reaction of people who met me suddenly on the trail, and whose immediate reactions were often hostile or abusive.

Perhaps it’s even easier to avoid riding where you know that there will be extreme hostility, or perhaps I think about things too deeply, but if this tactic helps someone else, then great.

Re: Strategy and tactics

My experience at Red Bull Mountain Mayhem this weekend
was that all the two-wheelers were very nice to me on
the course, and full of admiration when I spoke to
them off the course (especially for our slightly
insane soloist, Joe Marshall). Many people that passed
me said something encouraging, no one complained
about me being in the way on the single track, and more
than one person worried it was their fault when I had a
UPD right in front of them (it wasn’t).

In any case, I just ignore the idiots who jeer. I know
that they know that I am doing something they can’t, and
that their best response to this demonstrates an IQ smaller
than my wheel’s diameter.

Arnold the Aardvark

Normally I’d agree whole heartedly. Don’t forget, I’m the front man for a Morris team - I’m used to being jeered at.

However, last time I went to this particular place (in a Landrover Defender) we were proceeding with appropriate speed and mechanical sympathy in 4WD when we were overtaken by a (presumably stolen) Mini Metro with about 6 kids in it, none older than 14. This car was later seen doing handbrake turns and jumps from obstacles, whilst another in the background was being set on fire. This is normal for the place in question - in two miles of straight track, Ruth and I once counted 13 burned out cars which hadn’t been there a fortnight before.

So not your common or garden intellectually challenged hecklers, but potentially really nasty ones. The ‘real’ (motor)bikers were friendly enough, but the ones on the illegal/stolen/unroadworthy ‘bitsas’ have to be watched. A typical witty remark isn’t ‘Where’s your other wheel?’ but, ‘Fing w**!’ Challenging terrain to ride on, though, if a little unglamorous.

Well done for the Red Bull - I’m all admiration. Perhaps one day…


OOoooh! You DO like a bit of danger, don’t you, Mike!

Be careful out there!