Keep the Dirty Side Down.

My uncle is actually the original rider in the family, then there's me. I 100% use riding as an excuse to talk to him and to sort of show off 'cause I think he's pretty rad.

(Check out this vintage analog picture of my uncle with his chopper! RAD .. am I right?)

When we part he sometimes says "Keep the dirty side down." A parting expression between bikers meaning "ride safe". I always think it's cute and I always do my best to drive safely.

I have yet to experience an accident on the street. (aside from slipping on a pacific ocean sized puddle of gasoline at the gas station going zero miles an hour). I don't know if it is luck, good riding, or my hyper-awareness of everything around me (on and off the bike - it's a problem) that has kept me safe. Unfortunately, this luck has not followed me to dirt- where the dirty side can sometimes be found parallel to the ground, stuck in a ditch, or crushing one of my appendages. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I haven't tried any intense dirt biking yet but it seems as though most beginner riders are very familiar with bailing off of the bike. When wearing the proper gear a normal dirt biking day may leave with you a bruise or a couple of scratches. Which leads me to the afternoon of April 7th 2019 ...

Currently lacking a suitable machine for dirt biking I decided to join everyone just to film and hang out. I drove my cb223s out there which (for me) is a strictly no-dirt-bike! I didn't bring any gear or wear boots because I drove out there on my no-dirt-bike! and I was sure that I wouldn't be riding. Later in the afternoon I carefully coasted over to where some friends are practicing laps to prepare for an upcoming race/event. I heard someone behind me say "Just give it a try once, Lexi.". For about a nanosecond I was slightly concerned about my bike and body but before I knew it I was giving it a try. Two tries, four tries, six tries ... feeling great, flying high! On the last lap, mid-jump, my GoPro's SD card ran out of memory and beeped which confused the hell out of me causing my upper body to turn before landing. I went flying, my bike went flying and the dirty side landed on feet and legs. My first thought was "ouch", my second thought was "Oh boy I can not complain about feeling hurt because I wasn't wearing any protective gear." and my third thought was "Oh no! My no-dirt-bike!". I wasn't seriously injured but it did hurt and was embarrassing. I ended up with a sprained foot, a bloody knee, and a bruised ego.

My no-dirt-bike was also down for the count for about an hour. I was lucky enough to be riding with some skilled mechanics who kindly spent an hour returning my bike to working condition. As seen below I apologized profusely to my no-dirt-bike, who did not ask for this abuse.

Many lessons were to be learned that day. 1. Always wear the proper gear while riding, 2. Always ride a bike that is meant for the type of riding that you're doing, 3. Always check in with yourself about your ability (emotionally and skill-wise) before completing the tasks ahead, 4. Always keep the dirty side down.


© 2018 by Alexi Mara Fisk; Further, Farther