August 6, 2019
BCA guide ambassador Will Mook explains why his BC Link radio is part of his dirt bike kit.
Sunday, July 21, 2019. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Tonight’s low is 51–prime weather for a dirt bike ride with the boys. The group texts started the day before, and it looks like five of us are in, the others are too tired from a ride the day before. We are planning one of our typical rides, where we average approximately 40 miles, rarely ever touching the same trail twice. This is the primary reason why my BC Link radio is part of my dirt bike kit and I won’t ride without it.
Whenever I head into the backcountry, whether on my dirt bike, snowmobile or own two feet, a trip plan is always in order. We discuss who will bring items such as a med kit, specific repair tools, fire-starter, overnight kit, etc. My typical riding buddies and I have this all figured out the night before. One of the best ways to have a successful, fun day in the mountains with your friends is to have good group communication. This starts typically days before the ride and does not end when the bikes are fired up and we grab a handful of throttle.
The mountain range we typically ride is in the southeastern part of Idaho. The trailheads we usually use are all within fifteen minutes of our houses and they tie into miles upon miles of singletrack dirt bike trails. Despite these trails being virtually in our backyard, it seems we always are exploring new ones, linking various loops together high up in the mountains.
My dirt bike group is what I would call the A-team. We all spend time in the mountains, some of us are mechanics, others are great navigators, and most of us are on our local Search and Rescue team. We play in these mountains year-round, weather it’s dirt biking in the summer, chasing elk in the fall, or snowmobiling in the winter, into the spring. But, what really makes us an A-team is our group communication. All of us believe in making a stout pre-trip plan, and sticking to it, but we all also carry BC Link radios when we ride. When I first started riding dirt bikes in the mountains, I always thought, “why would I need a radio to talk to my riding buddies? We always stop at intersections and we’re always on the same trail.” But the more I started riding, the more I found instances where I wish I had instant communication.
As many of you dirt bikers know, when you’re riding technical singletrack trails, your focus is entirely on the dirt in front of you. One turn of your head can lead to a high-speed crash. We often can’t hear the sound of our buddy’s bike over the roar of our own dirt bike. Numerous times I’ve gotten to our next planned stop and shut my bike off, only to hear silence and no one behind me. After waiting a minute or two, the thoughts instantly go through your head. “Did Doug blow out a tire? Did Derek crash and need my help? Did I blow past the intersection we were going to? Is Casey struggling on that last climb and need my help?” My BC Link radio lets me answer those questions immediately, so I’m not left sitting there, listening for the sound of a dirt bike coming.
The BC Link radio is lightweight, small, and integrates easily into my backpack, just like in my MtnPro vest I snowmobile in all winter. With the volume all the way up and the mic positioned close to my helmet, I can hear it over the sound of my 450 screaming down the trail. When we play in the mountains, accidents happen, and the consequences are often high. Bottom line: good group communication with BC Link radios always helps reduce those odds–and always helps when a dirt bike ride goes south.
BCA ambassador Will Mook is a co-owner and snowmobile instructor at The Mountain Riding Lab in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Step up your mountain riding this season and get the knowledge and training necessary to be a safer, smarter, and better backcountry snowmobiler. Sign up for a motorized level 1, avalanche rescue or avalanche course and riding packages with The Mountain Riding Lab team here.