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by Lowell Anderson

When you ride off-road you rarely get the opportunity to simply ride to your riding location. Some of the places can be a chore just to get to simply because they are remote and off the beaten path. You have to consider a few things before heading out as planning properly can keep you from completely wasting an entire day.

One of the most common transport methods is simply loading your bike into a pick-up truck. Now this sounds simple, but it’s really not. You need to have a few things to get the bike in the back of the truck. I have loaded hundreds of bikes over the years, and I have also developed a system to do this safely without damaging my truck, the bike, or myself. Now on the comical side of things, I have seen numerous “accidents” while people were attempting to load or unload their bikes. I’ve watched guys miss the ramp, have the ramps slip, and tailgates flip up. I have seen a guy fall off the back of his truck, fall out the bed of a truck, and drop the bike off the back of the truck. All of these sightings usually resulted in a good belly laugh for me and my buddies. While it’s not nice to laugh at other people’s bad luck, I usually just can’t help myself. 

Here are a few recommendations for those who use a pick-up to transport your bikes. First thing is to buy a ramp that has a strap. Strapping the ramp to the truck will keep it from folding or flipping when you are pushing the bike onto the truck or slipping off when you are unloading the bike.

Next, I always use a step stool of some sort. Something with a wide base is best so I can easily make the transition from the ground to the bed of the truck. Some of the trucks out today are really tall, so doing this makes things much easier.

Lastly, I never ride my bike up the ramp. I have done this in the past, and it is possible, but the risk is much higher than the reward. Once you start up the ramp, you are committed. You cannot stop and put your feet down to stabilize you if something goes wrong. If you screw this up it usually means damaging your truck and your bike. It’s best to push the bike up the ramp.

Another method to consider is a trailer of some sort. I preferred the enclosed style because it gives me a place to change, it’s really easy to load, and I can lock up my stuff if I leave. The downside is maneuvering the trailer around, but once you get good at it, it’s really no problem. I have seen some riders really deck out their trailers. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a small 12-foot trailer. A friend of mine had everything you would need for a riding trip set up in his, including a cot for sleeping and a gravity shower for washing up after the ride.

No matter what you choose, taking the time to plan getting to the ride can make your seat time on the bike much more enjoyable. Off-road guys usually can’t ride to our riding areas like the street guys can, but we definitely can go places they can’t.