Over the Bars

Published in the April 2013 Issue April 2013 Steve Janes

What makes little boys love to play in dirt? Is it something about their DNA? Some childhood urge to rebel against cleaning their rooms, washing their hands, taking a bath?

Whatever it is, it seems to be universal. Little boys like to play in the dirt.

And you can even take it a step farther. If a little boy is walking down the street and there’s a mud puddle in the road, you can bet he’s going to test its depths.

So the next question is: Do little boys ever grow out of their urge to get dirty or play in mud puddles? Not if they ride side-by-sides, ATVs or motorcycles. In fact, it’s fair to say if the Y chromosome is present, then that bike or buggy is getting dusty or wet.

Just as little boys would usually move fast to get dirty, dusty or muddy (before their moms could chase them down and put the kibosh to their activities), big boys tend to blast their way over dirt and through puddles at mach speeds (perhaps before their wives can rein them in to prevent the weekend laundry from accelerating beyond one or two loads in the washer).

But let’s face it … isn’t that why we ride side-by-sides, ATVs or motorcycles? Don’t we want to get dirty, dusty and wet? Isn’t this just part of being “one with the outdoors”?

For some, nature is something you look at, take photos of and then return to your friends in the city and explain how it’s just so exhilarating but the air stirred up your allergies. But for others, nature is something you touch, taste and test. You don’t look at a mountain from the bottom up. You want to experience the view from the top down. (Wave to all your little friends from the city … you know, the ones standing in front of their Subarus and filling their flash drives with digital images they can show their friends.)

Sometimes for those of us who do experience the outdoors from the seat of our preferred rides, our desire to climb the tallest mountains or explore those mountain deserts “where no man has gone” are interrupted by some official-looking sign (likely placed by someone from some government agency whose idea of nature comes from some liberal college’s forestry department … and who likely drives a Subaru).

On one hand, the “maverick” in us hates to have any restrictions to enjoy nature. On the other hand, we must all realize that the great outdoors isn’t a giant motocross track created solely for our amusement. The process of sharing requires that we must leave some areas alone for those less fortunate individuals who may or may not have the Y chromosome and prefer sneakers and a cardigan sweater to boots and a chest protector.

Nature is a big place. There’s lots of room for all of us. And there’s lots of dirt to play in and mud puddles for splashing. Let’s just do it before Mom calls us in for dinner.

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