Inland Lakes Snowmobile Club Supporting Northern Michigan Snowmobiling Since 1987
BEFORE YOU GET READY TO RIDE NEXT WINTER
CHECK THE FOLLOWING MAINTENANCE MUSTS
-check your carbide runners
-check your hyfax wear strips
-check the track tension and alignment
-check your drive belt condition
-service your chain case/gear box
-replace your spark plugs
-use fresh quality fuel
-check and/or replace the the engines fuel filter
-lube the suspension
-check your springs-they get the most abuse of any part of the sled
RIDING TIPS FOR SNOWMOBILERS
- Always keep your sled in top mechanical condition.
- Never ride alone and let others know where you are riding.
- Always ride on the right side of the trail.
- Avoid, when possible, crossing frozen bodies of water.
- Never operate in a single file when crossing frozen bodies of water.
- Always be alert to avoid fences and low strung wires.
- Never operate on a street or highway.
- Always look for depressions in the snow.
- Keep headlights and tails lights on at all times.
- Approaching intersections come to a complete stop, raise off the seat and look both ways for traffic.
- Always check the weather conditions before you depart.
ZIG OR ZAG
by Jeff Goss
MSA Vice President
Recently I was riding in a group of 10 or so during a charity event that was organized by one of our great MSA members. The day was absolutely beautiful and we all knew that the trails were going to have a lot of traffic. We set out on a relatively informal ride with a couple destinations in mind, but about half the group was new to the area and those of us newbies were going to enjoy being “guided” for the day by those that knew the trail system well.
After about an hour of riding, I held back from the riders in the front of the pack because the two guys behind me were clearly not comfortable with the pace of the ride in certain sections of the trail. I kept them in my mirror while at the same time was trying to pick up the pace a little. At one point along our route I suddenly approached a fork in the trail and I signaled for the two behind me to stop.
The rider that had been in front of us was nowhere to be found. I’ve been in this situation before and will never forget how upset and frightened some newer riders can get, especially when you have no idea of where you are and it’s getting late in the day.
I could not see the powder hovering in the air anymore and had no idea which way our “guides” went. I decided to go against my better judgement and proceed anyway on the more traveled trail to see if we could find them. As we went about a mile or so and came across a long rolling country road where you could see for miles, it was obvious that we Zigged when the others Zagged. We turned around and eventually met up with the rest of our group who were all waiting for us at the fork in the trail.
We all had a good laugh and no one was hurt, but imagine if that happened at night or during a blinding winter storm? This was a good chance to have a teaching moment on trail safety and etiquette. Here are a couple things to remember when riding in a group that will enhance the riding experience for riders of all ages and abilities.
Realize that you will have riders with different skill levels and some may ride faster than others. You’ll need to adjust your schedule and expectations to accommodate them.
When you come to a section of trail that can go either way, wait until the rider behind you can see which way the group is going, then proceed making sure that you are followed.
If you do get separated from the group, it’s best to just stop and wait for them to come back to you rather that proceeding the wrong way.
When you get to a stop sign or clearing that you can safely stop in, wait for all the riders to catch up and have the rider in the rear give you a thumbs up sign (that’s much better than the other finger sign) before proceeding. The person in the rear may need to adjust gloves, helmet or clothing or just plain take a breather before you take off again. They will appreciate it.
Watch your group to make sure that they don’t mistakenly get mixed in with someone else’s group. This happens often when there is high traffic or at night.
When riding in a large group, be courteous to other riders and allow them to pass you when appropriate by moving over and signaling them to go around you.
Be prepared to stop and assist someone who may have a mechanical problem with their sled. You never know when you may have to tow a sled back for repairs. There is never a good time for this to happen and the owner of the sled usually feels terrible that he or she is ruining the trip for everyone else.
Use proper hand signals notifying oncoming riders of how many are in your group and also signal to the riders behind you when you are going to stop or when they need to move over for oncoming traffic.
Riding in a group can be a great way to meet other people and ride in areas that you perhaps have never been before. Just follow these simple rules of trail etiquette and everyone will have a sense of accomplishment and have great stories to be told around the fire or hot tub.
Inland Lakes Snowmobile Club
P.O. Box 3025
Indian River, Michigan
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