Being the New Wheeler or
What's OK But Most of Us Won't Admit To
of us has been the "New Guy" at some point in time... in school,
at the "Y", or, perhaps, a new church your parents took you to
as a kid. We have all felt the anticipation and sometimes dread
at going out and trying something different. The same feelings
and concerns are felt by new 4 wheelers. These feelings may be
amplified at large events and gatherings.
back (some of you may have to think WAAAAAAYYYYY back) to when
you were new to the sport. You probably felt some of the following
(depending on age, personality, etc.); concern, gung-ho, worry,
a need/desire to fit in, expectations - what do they expect, what
do I expect of myself, or even fright (although most of us would
never admit it).
think that we as statesman of the sport that we love so much should
go out of our way to make everyone feel welcome on the trail;
or even when they show up for a meeting. I think that most people
in the sport attempt to do this, but I also know that there are
some people that have the attitude of "If it ain't extreme, I
don't care" This is evident when we meet some of our fellow "enthusiasts"
on the trail, but the majority will always take the time to help
out the new guys.
think a good rule of thumb is to make sure that our new friends
(especially those in our own clubs) understand the events that
we have outlined or planned. One idea is to create a listing of
the expected trails and the relative toughness of those trails
in an easy to understand form. This could be a formal thing or
simply a personal thing - perhaps take a new person aside (one
that has expressed interest in a run you are going to) and help
also need to make sure that each individual (new or old to the
sport) has the ability to say "No, I am not doing that." This
is not a point at which we should give someone criticism. Instead,
this is a point where we should praise that person for using their
head to point out when and where THEY need to draw the line. We
have some responsibility to these new people and their families.
We also want them to go back to work and to their everyday lives
and feel like they like the sport and us.
do I say they need to like what they are doing? Simply because
most of the other people around them just won't understand - and
now they probably don't either. If they leave an event feeling
down or upset because they got on a wrong trail or everyone refused
to help them, then it becomes very easy for them to agree with
the time honored statement of "Why would you want to do that with
wheeling is a great family sport. Both the classic family (Mom,
Dad, kids, pets, etc) and the 'wheeling family (our clubs, friends,
trail buddies, late night mechanics that stay open for us, guys
who own welders etc.). It is our duty to help maintain and expand
our families so that this sport can grow and prosper to bring
new generations the thrill of tackling that hill for the first
of "New Guy" Truths
(They work for all 'wheelers but some people won't admit it):
1. Never be afraid to say "NO".
2. Remember it's your vehicle and your well being.
3. Just because someone else can, you might not. If someone else
can't, you might.
4. The vehicle is only half the battle - the driver is the other
5. Making it look easy takes experience and experience takes time.
6. Skill can never be made up for with equipment.
7. Know your vehicle and it's limitations - AND YOURS.
8. Don't drink and drive (on the street or on the trail).
9. Stock vehicles can have fun too.
10. It ain't what you bought; it's how you build it. (Of course
the part of the saying that they never finish is: How you build
it depends on what you want to do with it - which might simply
be to get down to your favorite fishing hole!).
the end, I would extend a challenge to every member of the four
wheeling family to aid in the endeavor to bring new people into
the family. And, I would encourage all the new four wheelers to
not be afraid to ask questions. What trails should I run? What's
the best line to try? What's the best part to buy? What shop should
I use? Which locker is better? Why did you do that? Just never
ask the dreaded "What's the best vehicle?" - unless, of course,
you want to spend the night having a knock down, drag out, bloody,
that everyone in four wheeling has an opinion. Everyone will be
happy to give their opinion to you. Your best bet is to find people
you know and trust, listen to them, and then make your own decision
based on what you want to do or accomplish. I would like to think
that most of the 'wheelers I run with are those type of people.