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News >  Idaho

Wild about dirt biking


Avid dirt bike riders, from left, Tia Flynn, Esther Rollis and Marcia Sands are helping to organize the Ladies Ride, a half-day outing for women riders on Canfield Mountain. Afterward, they'll retire to a private home for a potluck. All are members of a local riding club for families, but they wanted to organize something just for women. 
 (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Avid dirt bike riders, from left, Tia Flynn, Esther Rollis and Marcia Sands are helping to organize the Ladies Ride, a half-day outing for women riders on Canfield Mountain. Afterward, they'll retire to a private home for a potluck. All are members of a local riding club for families, but they wanted to organize something just for women. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Born to be wild? Maybe not wild, but these ladies are definitely into adventure. These are the lady dirt bikers, who are wild about a sport usually associated with men. Unlike motocross, where the dirt bikers go around and around on a track, the ladies and gentlemen of PANTRA (Panhandle Trail Riders Association) are cross-country riders.

In two weeks, Aug. 20, the first organized “Ladies Ride at Canfield” will take place. The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Nettleton Gulch parking lot. Tia Flynn, who is organizing the event with Lori Jordan, said it will be a 25-mile ride and should take a couple of hours. There is no need to register in advance, and there is no fee. Just show up if you’re a beginner or better.

Flynn defined a beginner as someone who has ridden single track trail before. They must be able to shift and brake. This is not a ride to teach beginners, rather a ride for beginners to participate in. Canfield Mountain has a system of trails made for single-track dirt bikes. They share the trail with mountain bikers and hikers. The trail system is designed for motorized trail bikes and bicycles, but only one trail is open to ATV’s.

The Canfield Mountain Trail System took shape when the Forest Service began working with local user groups and conducted on-the-ground field reviews in 1990. Work on the trail began in 1992. Idaho’s Off Road Motor Vehicle Fund kicked off funding for the trail system in 1993 with a grant. Money from the Nettleton timber sale and tax dollars rounded out the funding.

PANTRA was established in Post Falls in 1994 and is a nonprofit, family-oriented motorcycle trail rider club dedicated to promoting, maintaining, preserving and expanding trail riding opportunities in the Inland Northwest while having fun and enjoying the outdoors.

“It’s a really cool club,” Flynn said. “A lot of what they do is try to protect riding areas for us, so we have places to ride.”

The bikes can go up to 60 mph. Flynn couldn’t stress enough that “they are serious about safety.” This is obvious by examining the gear the riders must wear. Steel-toed boots that cost $100 to $300 are required, as are padded pants, knee, shoulder and elbow pads, full-face helmets and gloves. The bikes cost around $7,000, so obviously this is not an inexpensive hobby. Flynn, her husband, Eric, and their three boys, Trek, 17, Kert, 14, and Vincent, 8, all ride dirt bikes.

Flynn got involved in the sport because her father was a dirt biker, and she always wanted to ride with her dad.

“Girls did not ride when I grew up,” she said. “It’s exciting. It is my thrill. It’s a total stress reliever.”

Flynn said that upper body strength is very important, as a rider has to be able to lift the bike, which weighs about 250 pounds with a full tank of gas. Dirt bikes need an off-road vehicle license but can be made street legal if they have a headlight, mirror and brake light.

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