Last week I went dirtbiking for the first time, and it was A LOT of fun. Tristan Park at Johor Bahru offers non-riders a crash course in motorbikes, and I needed that because I’m planning a Vietnam trip Top Gear-style (well, only part of the journey — not bike across the country), and I don’t have a bike or car licence.

So, thankfully, I had a couple of friends who were ready to get dirty with me. Ade is an experienced biker, and Weiming is a fairy who wanted to put his testosterone levels to the test. When I made the booking for the 3 of us, I mentioned that 2 of us were non-riders. But because of some miscommunication, we were presented with 3 fully manual scramblers instead. We arrived a little late (you can start riding at 9am, but we only got there around 11am), so there was a bit of pressure to pick up riding skills quickly. Weiming and I had our first taste of operating a bike (not easy at first but damn thrilling!) at a dodgy back alley in the middle of no where, and when the guide decided that we were really too amateur to ride to the main trail in the woods, we got into his jeep and rode the bumpy way in instead.

Into the woods for practice rounds.
Into the woods for some practise.
Before we knew how adventurous the trail that lay in front of us was.
Before we knew how adventurous the trail that lay in front of us was.

Once I got the hang of controlling the bike, I was hooked. But I still wasn’t 100% confident after two hours or so on the practice grounds. I kept losing balance at the corners because I was just not used to toggling the acceleration and braking. And when the guide said that it was time to head on to the real trail, I simply hyped myself up with some false confidence.

The beginner’s trail was no problem. It was bumpy and some paths were narrow, but it was real fun and we got through it quite swiftly. But it was also at this halfway mark that we realised that we didn’t bring enough water. So for those intending to go, bring along no less than 1.5L for each rider.

A pretty view of a quarry at the start of the beginner's trail.
We got a pretty view of a quarry before entering the intermediate trail.
Our trio of  Kawasaki KLX 150cc bikes.
We rode on Kawasaki KLX 150cc bikes (foreground).
All hyped up!
Martians all hyped up about exploring this new planet!
Our patient guides.
Our patient and rather under-hyped guides.
Navigating the narrow paths.
Weiming entering the first of many narrow paths.

It was after this point that my falling combo started. The intermediate path really tested my amateur riding skills, and I lost balance many, many times because I accelerated when I wasn’t supposed to, and my control of the clutch and brakes weren’t perfected yet. But as we weren’t going at great speeds, falling was neither scary nor painful. I just pitied our other guide, who had to keep picking up my bike. Well at least he was pretty entertained by my clumsiness. Haha.

But thanks to Ade who was super at off-road riding and always ahead of me, she managed to get a couple of nice shots of me looking all tough.
Sloshing through a stream.
Sloshing through a stream. PHOTO: Ade Chong
The trickiest part was trying to navigate through the woods at snail speed. (Photo by Ade)
The trickiest part was trying to navigate the woods at snail speed. Photo: Ade Chong

We had to wrap up by 4pm, and by then, Ade was super satisfied, Weiming was ready to fall asleep anywhere, and I was a little bruised — but we were all extremely glad that we went on this mini adventure. Our outing costed SGD90, and I highly recommend it for all the Singaporeans who have not experienced off-road riding.

How else can you get a chance of being featured in a male-targeted bike calendar?

Tristan Park
I’m sure you see the potential too. PHOTO: Ade Chong


  1. A shame your instructor didn’t look like this


    • I don’t want an instructor like him. I want a bike that came with him lying there like that for me to ride.

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