One of my favorite activities for 8 months of the year is riding a dirt bike through the woods in northern New England. Being from southern Maine, I enjoy riding in my own surrounding towns, but I also enjoy loading up the bikes with buddies and heading out to places like Clough Park in New Hampshire.
What’s great about Clough Park is that first of all, there is a plenty of parking. When you are hauling a big trailer loaded with bikes, you need plenty of room to pull in, position the trailer in a way that makes room for others while leaving space to get the bikes in and out with relative ease. Another reason I like it there is because all of the trails have a direction (i.e. one way), which means I don’t have to worry about someone coming toward me in the opposite direction. There are arrows that indicate to the rider the direction we should all be going. Other than passing people, I really don’t have to concern myself as much with what is up ahead. BTW: oftentimes, I am the one being passed. I sort of like that because oftentimes I can gain techniques from a better rider.
Clough Park has clearly marked trails at different technical levels. If you want to ride on a course that is relatively entry-level or if you want to ride with the guys that want to climb rocks walls and ledges, this place offers terrain for just about every rider. Just make sure that you ride at your comfort level. It is one thing to push yourself to obtain more technical skills and quite another to be going too fast. There is a big difference, so be smart.
Another thing I like about Clough Park and other dirt bike locations in New Hampshire is that the trails are fairly well maintained. I don’t have to worry about bridges being dangerous to cross. At least, I didn’t run into any when I was there. I also don’t have to concern myself with potentially riding over someone’s land who doesn’t want me there. It upsets me when I make a mistake like this and it upsets the landowner even more. It’s always nice to ride someplace where they want you.
Finally, a word about safety. I ride with guys who play it safe. We, of course, wear helmets, but we don’t stop there. We have all the right gear: shoulder and chest protection, knee, hip, elbow and shin pads are all in place. I wear a neck brace, proper goggles, gloves, boots, etc. etc. Don’t skimp on this stuff. If you’ve done any significant amount of riding, even with all of this protection on, you have probably gotten injured. It comes with riding a dirt bike. Is your brain worth a $400 helmet? Mine definitely is.
When friends get injured on the trail, it really sucks. I’m so glad that I always ride with a group of guys, which allows us to help each other get back to the truck. Oftentimes I think to myself, “thank goodness he was wearing protective gear.” When someone isn’t wearing adequate protection and they get hurt, my friends and I sort of get annoyed. Of course, we help them, but it reminds me that I don’t want to compromise on gear. So, be smart and I hope to see you on the dirt bike trails in southern Maine and New Hampshire.