Chris Birch ADV class – 2016/06/27

What a blast!

Tom and Chris Birch
Tom and Chris Birch

Always nice when someone you admire turns out to be a damn nice guy. Yes, he swears (usually “frig”), but it is for emphasis, he is aware when he isn’t politically correct (no redneck), qualifies things as being his opinion/experience … or in some cases (ADV riders standing in what he calls the meerkat position) “I challenge you to find a picture of anyone who knows what they are doing riding like that”. So he’s no conceited twit either. Heck, the class wasn’t even overpriced!

So what did we do? Well, I’m still writing up notes from the video I took, and unfortunately I did not film a good chunk of his teaching (quite possibly the most relevant bit, his teaching of posture that was done in the grass paddock).

My advrider post was:

I did the Chris Birch Adventure bike class today. That was a hoot. Very good to have it ALL laid out in one go. (I certainly had some stuff wrong.) He went through bike setup basics, standing and seating positions, how to apply that to cornering. That all got practiced in a field. After lunch was a trail ride where he covered more advanced stuff, including steep hill-climbs and some quick cornering using brake and clutch to basically drift then powerslide (or chirp).. Some of it might be racing stuff, but being comfortable with a sliding bike is a good thing. Hopefully I’ll get to learn/practice for a year and check-in with him next year. Highly recommended! -Tom

Minor tweaks there… the low speed advanced turn was braking slide, then drop the clutch so the tire “chirped” at the same time as transferring weight to the outside peg. The higher speed version didn’t use the clutch and was more of a power-slide… so brake off and power on. Apparently the trick to avoiding the obvious high-side was leaning the bike in advance and being on that outside peg. Sure looked sweet when he did it.

I should be honest and mention I took one of the obstacles in the paddock too fast and “jumped” the KLR … which didn’t end well… so I rode the rest of the day with a sprained ankle. My bad. I had been over that several times and knew that a little throttle went a long way. I wheelied over it once by accident (a little whiskey throttle?), but others were jumping it, so…. :(

The one thing that caught me by surprise and it should not have, was how quickly the class went from easy to hard, and where “hard” was. I _really_ should have taken the panniers off the bike, but I was late arriving and didn’t want to bury myself in messing with the bike if class was about to start. Never mind that I’d just put on the 2nd pannier so I could haul a days water as recommended. Anyhow, the little single track section we did was surprisingly difficult and having the panniers on did not help. I did catch a log and get thrown into the bush on the opposite side… but obviously whomever was behind me was having trouble as they didn’t catch up. I did cream a rock with the left footpeg at the end of that climb… was speeding up to climb out of a rut and BANG. Didn’t think anything off it until we’d all stopped and rested and started off again… when I realized I had no left footpeg. seems I sheared off the lead bolt holding the footpeg on, and it will rotate forward but not back… and I didn’t push it forward on the short chunk from the thunk to the rest. My bad. Also my bad for trying to replace the bolt without realizing the previous bolt had broken and was thus still in the way. Long story short, someone gave me some zip ties and we stopped it from rotating forward… seems good, if a touch higher than it was, and in the MX boots it was already hard to upshift.

More later…