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Beautiful Fall ATV Ride

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Beautiful Fall ATV Ride

by Scott A. Sumner
    The leaves were changing colours, the temperature was warm and the scenery pretty for a group ATV ride early October in Thunder Bay. Our trip began at the Silver Mountain Station with a drivers meeting with Adrienne, organizer of the event. The enthusiastic ATV riders met on
the deck to go over the plan for the day. Our ride would be about 100 kilometers over varying terrain that would vary from roads to old snowmobile trails with some power line running with rocks and of course the obligatory mud holes with which to test your skills.
    My experience with ATV’s has been minimal with only the last year as a rider. My total miles ridden are about 500 compared to snowmobiling, which are probably over 100,000 at this point. Of course I started riding snowmobiles at age 12 and have had many years on the trails since then. Also I think you put many more miles on a snowmobile each season compared to ATVs. One dealer salesperson told me an average season for many ATV riders is about 600 miles and I think snowmobilers would be between 1000 to 3000 miles, maybe because of the speeds involved and just the nature of the riding.

   The season to ride ATV’s is much longer as well and the dealer salesperson also told me the number of ATVs sold each year is higher than snowmobiles. I think the audience for each sport is a little different as well.

    The ride began in cool weather with the sun shining. We began with some dirt road riding to get to the ATV trail where the machines really shine. It  is amazing to me how rugged a terrain the ATV can handle with their 4 wheel drive, large tires and trail clearance. These
machines are fun to drive and seem to be very reliable to operate.

  The sun continued to rise and soon the temperature was in the mid 20’s Celsius that caused the riders to start to remove layers of their clothing. I noticed many wore large rubber boots, which was a good idea. It didn’t take long for my running shoes to get wet on the trail. You always end up going through some water on an ATV it seems. It was fun to pull over for a break with about 50 riders pulling out their lunch from the many storage areas on an ATV. This is when the stories begin including the comparisons between ATVs, bikes as some call them.

     On this trip there were ATVs made by Bombardier, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and probably others I didn’t recognize. The ATVs can be traditional 4 wheel types or the new side-by-side units, as they are called, where you actually sit in the unit like a car almost. They all look pretty cool to me and it was fun to meet the ATV riders and hear about their experiences.

   After lunch it was off to the last part of the trip. One of my fellow riders on a side by side had the bad fortune of blowing a large hole in a tire, which effectively ended his day. We rode our ATV’s back the quickest route to the trucks to drive them back to the closest place on
the Adrian Lake Road to load up. The side by side was nursed out to this location and we were on way home.

    It was a great ride anyway and the ATVexperience is one I am starting to enjoy. I still like snowmobiling the best with the speed and the smoothness of the ride but there is no doubt a day ATVing is a great adventure!

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Scott Sumner