Riding Mud Like a Pro
Mud. It’s an integral part of riding an ATV or UTV. You cannot get the whole ATV experience without one good mud run that leaves you covered from head-to-toe. While most riders will avoid a great mud hole while riding alone, they are usually the first ones in when riding in a group because they know someone will probably pull them out if they get stuck.
Mud is tricky. You don’t know how deep it is just by looking at the surface, and you don’t know where the best place to cross the hole will be. If you watch pro ATV racers, you will notice that they hesitate a bit as they watch others go through the mud. When they do this, they are looking for the “hot line,” the safest path through the mud.
What’s the key to riding mud like a pro?
You need to be willing to get dirty. After that, start with building momentum before you hit the mud once you know where you will get some traction. Coast or float over the areas in the mud when tracking is lacking. Many pros outfit their ATVs with safety-wired grips, snorkels and waterproof grease in the wiring loom if they know they are going to be running in mud. They also like to change the psi in their tires if they know the depth of the pit they are going to run through. This is great if they are racing and can see the track before heading out.
That’s fine if you’re racing. But what if you’re not? A good rule of thumb is that the center of the mud pit will be the deepest and the sides more shallow. If you are with a group and multiple people have hit the mud before you, plan for some deep ruts that will make the best line through the mud the worst. If you have any doubts, hold back and watch the others to find the best place to cross or check the depth yourself with a stick to find a good place for traction.
If your ATV adventure is planned and you have enough time, take a walk along the trails you will be riding, especially if it has rained. Look for spots that are soft and deep as well as areas where you can see the dirt has been packed down. These areas can give you a good idea of what you will be riding into and allow you to feel more confident as you approach those mud pits.
No matter where you are riding, on a track or in the woods, mud can be fun. If you have a good mindset about mud and approach the mud holes with confidence, you’ll get through them fine. And if you get stuck, don’t worry. Someone will pull you out. After all, it’s only mud.