Quads: Great stress relievers
IT may be hard to ride unnoticed with the noise from a Quad bike's two-stroke motor, but fans of the hobby consider it a great stress reliever, according to Leon Smith, a long-time Quad bike enthusiast and member of the Senior Riders crew.
"I've been riding for a few years now. I know many younger riders that come home from school and just take off into the hills to relax," Smith said.
The chill-out factor comes from several places, the level of concentration necessary to operate the Quad, the inherent adrenaline rush and the amazing places it can take you.
The bikes come in three basic groups, the sport Quad, utility models with four-wheel drive, and those in-between offering a mix of the comfort and speed of the other two.
Anthony Marr, another member of the Senior Riders, explained that the major element in using a Quad is respect.
"They have had a bad reputation in the past, but if you respect the safety aspects and the surroundings you'll be more than fine," he said.
This means wearing the proper safety gear, familiarising yourself with the controls, and having courtesy for other road users.
The other component is speed, not erratic or excessive. Even with a wheel at each corner, Quads are still bikes at heart and at low speeds don't work too well. Cornering still requires momentum and the rider to shift his/her weight in anticipation of the turn.
When riding over terrain that looks like the surface of the moon, a smooth, steady hand is best. Rather than the natural inclination of slowly picking your way over rocks and ridges, the Quad's large tyres and long suspension travel work best at speed.
Mastering a Quad bike is fun in itself, but its off-road nature means the opening up of a whole new side of Jamaica as a quick jaunt from Waterworks to Hardware Gap in the Blue Mountains proved.