Today I moved something from my Things I'd Like To Try column into the Things I'll Never Be Doing Again column. That thing was attempting to ride off road on the bike. Hell it wasn't even off-road. It was a hard-packed dirt fire road. Full of off-camber turns, ruts, potholes and slopes, and covered in loose gravel. The two guys I went with, both on bikes the same size as mine, but evidently with much more experienced riders, took off going at least 60 and vanished in a cloud of dust. I could barely get above 15mph. The bike felt like it was going to fall apart. I couldn't steer. I couldn't brake. I couldn't do anything right. It was like I was 14 and on my first bike all over again. I felt like a total retard. By the time I got to where they'd stopped, they'd been parked for nearly 10 minutes waiting for me. I'd evidently chewed off part of my lip at some point because I had blood stuck to my teeth and running down my chin.
I don't know how people do it. It's totally insane. You have no semblance of control over the bike at all - you're basically a passenger. The thing spends its entire time trying to go sideways, and in my book, that's the precursor to a highside crash. Which is BAD. So I fought it all the way. Which is apparently the worst thing to do. I couldn't get out of the ruts and away from the potholes because it wouldn't steer. I couldn't use any brakes because every time I went near them the bike started sliding. The expression "White With Fear" comes close to describing me. I mean I've ridden hairy rollercoaster. I've ridden pillion on sportsbikes. I've ridden between 18-wheelers in -10°C freezing rain at 70mph and skated across diesel and autumn-leaf-strewn manhole covers. But I have never been so gripped with panic and fear as I was today. I don't care what size bike it is, I'm never going near a dirt road again. I like my life. I don't need to spend it pissing around trying to control an uncontrollable motorbike on a loose surface. That's not fun, in my book.