Going Fast

with Eli

Eleven-year-old, Eli Wadie, has a passion for dirt bike riding. This is because his granddad introduced Eli to it when he was just 6 years old — now he's gotten pretty good at it! Eli's granddad rode dirt bikes growing up and even raced some. Eli first learned in his backyard on a Honda 50cc bike. "I love riding dirt bikes because I love the feel of going fast and the wind in my face," he says.

As Eli transitioned from the automatic bike that he first learned on to the bike he rides now (one with a clutch), there was a bit of a learning curve. Eli shares, "My hands are small, so when I pull in the clutch, I have to let go of the handlebars. At first, that was complicated and took a bit of practice and getting used to. Now, it is easy for me." This is just a hobby, and Eli doesn't train professionally, but he did have the opportunity to attend a dirt bike camp last summer at Iron Horse Country Ranch. That must have been super fun! While there, he learned how to jump, control the dirt bike better, and build up stamina while riding. All of this was led by the team at Iron Horse Country Motocross.

To get better with dirt bike riding, Eli suggests, "you'll need to log in many hours on your bike. My granddad takes me all over Central Texas to ride on different courses and terrains, so I think all riders should try that, too. From friends' land to the Spoaks MotoPark in Lockhart to Hidden Falls in Marble Falls and, at my favorite place, the Waco, called Eagles Motorcycle Club, in Riesel, each place gives me the chance to practice and learn new things."

Eli reflected on a sad moment. "I sunk my dirt bike in the mud at Hidden Falls. It had rained a lot the day before, so there was a LOT of mud. I didn't have experience riding in the mud at the time either. I hit a rock and dove into the mud! We had to get someone to come help get the bike out and then had to replace the engine and the filter. But my greatest moment was learning how to jump! It is so fun!"

If someone wants to begin dirt bike riding, one of the first things Eli would recommend doing is to start by finding a bike that's the right size for the rider. Too much power can cause accidents, and too little keeps the rider from having the max amount of fun. The gear for dirt bike riding is important, too. Keeping your body covered, wearing good boots, and, of course, having a helmet are essential. It's best to learn on an area of flat land without many curves or dips. He also suggests you find someone with experience to teach you. It may not come easily automatically, but with practice and patience, it is really fun to do. If you don't know someone to talk to about it, YouTube is a good place to indulge in videos from people who indulge all the time.

"I think dirt bike riding will be a fun hobby to continue to do as I get older and a special way to spend time with my granddad. I think it's awesome that he's still riding bikes in his 70s and teaching my little brother and me. I think it'll be a fun activity to do with my two brothers as they get older, and I hope to be able to pass it on to my kids when I'm a grown-up, too."