If you come from North America, Europe, or any developed country, you might not have much experience riding your motorcycle on dirt or gravel roads. There are a few things to consider when the surface you are riding on is unstable and shifting. Despite significant investments in infrastructures the past few years, Costa Rica’s roads remain mostly unpaved, so here are 5 tips for a safer, more enjoyable ride on the back roads of Costa Rica.
Don’t tense up when you feel the bike wiggling or squirming all over the road. Take deep, slow breaths, relax your shoulders, and relax your grip.
In deep, loose gravel, keep in mind you're not really the one in charge. The bike will go where it wants to go. Let it do its thing, and remember that trying to boss it around is what might get you in trouble.
Lean out of the corner
When going around a corner, let the bike roll underneath you. When riding on dirt, the motorcycle leans IN the corner, but the rider leans OUT of the curve, staying on top of the bike for maximum control.
Stay on your side of the road
On dirt roads, there are no painted lines, so it’s very common for other vehicles to drive in the middle. Ride on your side of the road and allow for some room in case you need to move out of the way of an oncoming car in your lane.
Drive at a speed that matches your ability and remember that if you can’t stop to avoid a car coming at you in your lane, you’re going too fast.
Don’t look at every puddle, rock, pothole, or branch on the road; it will cause you to tense. Relax, keep your eyes up and look as far ahead as you can.