It's easy to ride on a proper road. But dirt? Dirt is different. We found out on an old East German airfield south of Berlin in a little town called Jüterbog. There's a outdoor kart track there which looked inviting, but we we're more interested in dirt tracks and single trails that our Enduro coach Marco Straubel (GST Berlin) showed us. Marco is a four-time German Enduro Champion, but this time he was dealing with absolute beginners. Us.

A day of Enduro riding sponsors two days of sore muscles. Worth it.

A day of Enduro riding sponsors two days of sore muscles. Worth it.

Marco began with the basics: how to stand on a motorcycle. Key is to keep your legs straight. If you bounce around in your knees, you lose stability and take energy off the bike. Easier said than done. Suddenly, controlling clutch, gas and brakes seemed like an awful lot to do while concentrating on how to stand. Memories of driving school came back. Not the good ones though.    

Hool on the hill.

Hool on the hill.

To learn the basic techniques we had a KTM 350 EXC and a 250. Great bikes. Neither of us had ridden a bike like that before. Feels like you have a bicycle with a strong motor. They only weigh about 110 kg so they're reeeeally agile. They're also lighter to pick up! We had to do that a few times, but that's a part of learning. If you don't fall, you're not reaching your limits...   

Looks as if someone's about to fall. But not this time.

Looks as if someone's about to fall. But not this time.

The biggest difference from riding compared to the street is that you have get used to your bike moving beneath you – not always in the direction you'd expect it to. The feedback is not as direct. Something you really have to get used to. It was great to see that at the end of the day we could do things we never saw ourselves doing with bikes. Like climbing really steep hills. We also got to test the 1290 in the dirt. Not easy. But good that you can go offroad with such a big bike as well. Mongolia is still very far away, but we're prepared a little bit better now. Thanks, Marco! 
What you can't see in the pictures: In the end it started to rain quite heavily. The sand turned into mud. And mud is not the terrain you want to make mistakes in. Fortunately, we didn't. Does that mean we're ready? Probably not. We still have to learn a lot about riding off-road. We'll have to pick it up on the way. Or the bikes... 

 

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